Cranford softball in line for UCT top seed

Junior Sophia DeMarco, Cranford’s leading hitter, is in action at the plate during a recent game.

CRANFORD, NJ — When the softball Union County Tournament gets seeded in the upcoming days, expect to see two-time defending champion Cranford High School where it has been in recent years.
On top.

Cranford, the two-time defending champion, began the week at 12-2 and was still the only Union County school that had not lost to a Union County opponent.

Cranford bounced back last week with Union County Conference-Watchung Division victories at home against David Brearley High School 10-0 and at Westfield High School 6-0 after dropping consecutive games to St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Cedar Grove High School following a 10-0 start.

Going into Watchung Division games at Elizabeth High School on Tuesday, May 2, at Governor Livingston High School on Thursday, May 4, and at Arthur L. Johnson High School on Friday, May 5, the Cougars led the division at 7-0.

Cranford, which continued to be sparked by the hitting of junior Sophia DeMarco and the pitching of senior Avery Toddings, will close out play later this week on Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m., at Hunterdon Central Regional High School.

Cranford has won its last eight UCT contests, going 4-0 to win it in 2021 and 2022. Cranford’s last loss in a UCT was to Westfield 8-5 in the 2019 semifinals.

Cranford outscored its four UCT foes in 2021 by a 37-10 margin and last year by a 27-1 count, including a 1-0 triumph against Union High School in the semifinals at Kean University.

Arthur L. Johnson and Governor Livingston both began the week at 10-3 overall and were among the top teams in the Watchung Division. Arthur L. Johnson had a division mark of 5-2 and Governor Livingston 4-3 when the week commenced.

Leading the Mountain Division as of Monday, May 1, was Jonathan Dayton High School at 10-5 overall and 6-0 in the division, while Union was second at 8-5 overall and 3-2 in the division.

The top teams in the Valley Division are Union Catholic High School, Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child and New Providence High School. Union Catholic led 12-2 overall and 4-1 and the division, with Oak Knoll at 10-3 and 4-2 and New Providence at 9-4 and 4-2.

Kent Place School was the only team better than .500 in the Sky Division at 7-5 overall, including first place in the division at 6-0.

Preliminary round UCT games are scheduled for Thursday, May 11, at the higher seeds. Then the first round games will be played on Saturday, May 13.

The quarterfinals are set for Thursday, May 18, at the higher seeds, with the semifinals to follow on Saturday, May 20, at a site yet to be determined.

The 47th annual softball Union County Tournament championship game is scheduled to be played the night of Monday, May 22, at Kean University’s Cougar Field in Union.

Best records as of Monday, May 1: Cranford (12-2), Union Catholic (12-2), Arthur L. Johnson (10-3), Governor Livingston (10-3), Oak Knoll (10-3), Jonathan Dayton (10-5), New Providence (9-4), Union (8-5), and Kent Place (7-5).

2023 Softball Union County Tournament

Seeds to be announced in the coming days.

Preliminary round games: Thursday, May 11

First-round games: Saturday, May 13

Quarterfinals: Thursday, May 18

Semifinals: Saturday, May 20

Finals: Monday, May 22

Photo Courtesy of Gene Nann