As everyone is about to be seeded, UCT softball may be up for grabs

UNION COUNTY, NJ — With one week to go before the beginning of the softball Union County Tournament, it appears that this year’s trophy might really be up for grabs.

Of the six schools situated in the Union County Conference’s upper Watchung Division, all but three-time defending UCT champion Cranford High School sported a winning record as of Monday, April 29.

The 48th annual UCT will be seeded in the next few days, with first round play set to commence Thursday, May 9.

The overall records of the teams in the Watchung Division as of Monday, April 29 were Governor Livingston High School (12-4), Jonathan Dayton High School (10-4), Westfield High School (8-6), Arthur L. Johnson High School (8-7), Elizabeth High School–Frank J. Cicarell Academy (6-5) and Cranford High School (6-8).

Governor Livingston and Jonathan Dayton stood tied for the division lead as of Monday, April 29, with 5-2 records. Governor Livingston defeated Jonathan Dayton at home, 6-4, on Thursday, April 18. The teams are scheduled to play in Springfield on Monday, May 6.
Cranford was in third place in the division at (4-2) and then Arthur L. Johnson (3-4), Westfield (2-5) and Elizabeth (1-5).

Some games for the committee to consider when seeding include Cranford beating Governor Livingston at home, 8-3, on Thursday, April 18; Arthur L. Johnson defeating Governor Livingston, 13-4, on Tuesday, April 23; and Governor Livingston winning at Arthur L. Johnson, 10-3, on Friday, April 5.

The UCT is set to continue with second round play on Saturday, May 11. The quarterfinals are to be contested on Monday, May 13.

The semifinals are set for Wednesday, May 15, at a site still to be determined and the final is on Friday, May 17, at Kean University’s Cougar Field in Union.

In Governor Livingston’s Watchung Division home win against Elizabeth on Thursday, April 25, junior slugger Chelsea Kiesewetter blasted her fourth home run of the season in a 6-3 victory. It was a grand slam that came in the bottom of the sixth and it extended Governor Livingston’s slim, one-run lead to a huge 6-1 advantage.

After giving up two runs in the top of the seventh, the host Highlanders held on for an eventual three-run triumph.

Kiesewetter hit her first three home runs as a freshman two years ago and belted two more as a sophomore last year.

When Arthur L. Johnson won at Governor Livingston two days before, freshman Cassie Conforti connected for two home runs, giving her three for her first season of varsity play.

Teams leading the other three UCC divisions as of Monday, April 29, were David Brearley High School in the Mountain Division at 5-0; New Providence High School the Valley Division at 4-0; and Abraham Clark High School in Roselle in the Sky Division at 5-0.

David Brearley was 8-7 overall, while second-place Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School was 9-3 and 3-1 in the division.

In the Valley Division, standing in second place was Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child at 3-0 and also owners of a 7-4 overall record.

Governor Livingston last won the UCT crown in 2017. The Highlanders have won the fourth most titles with seven. Union High School, which last won in 2009, still leads with 11, while Westfield is second with nine and Cranford is third with eight.

Cranford will be attempting to win a fourth straight UCT crown for the first time. The Cougars won three straight for the first time in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and again the past three seasons: 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Cranford defeated Governor Livingston 2-1 in last year’s championship game to beat the Highlanders in the final for the second time in three years. The first two of the four times Cranford beat Governor Livingston in the final were 2006 and 2010.

The only team to win the UCT more than three years in a row has been Union, when the Farmers captured the crown every season for six in a row, from 1991 to 1996.

UCT schedule
Seeding: This week.
First round: Thursday, May 9
Second round: Saturday, May 11
Quarterfinals: Monday, May 13
Semifinals: Wednesday, May 15, site TBD
Final: Friday, May 17, at Kean University