Cranford softball starts 2022 season off 3-2 with victory against Elizabeth

CRANFORD, NJ — The Cranford High School softball team, coming off an outstanding 24-6 season that included the program’s first Union County Tournament championship since 2010, will find out a lot about what kind of team it has this week.

The Cougars, who challenged state power Immaculate Heart Academy in the LaRezza Invitational at Immaculate Heart in Washington on Sunday, April 10, had their second Watchung Division game on Monday, April 11, and were then to play at Essex County school Columbia on Tuesday, April 12, after press time.

Cranford is scheduled to play at defending Watchung Division champion Westfield on Thursday, April 14 at 4 p.m. and then conclude this week’s slate with a game at Valley Division foe Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School on Saturday, April 16, at 11 a.m.

Cranford begins next week with an 11 a.m. game on Monday, April 18, vs. Watchung Division newcomer Union High School.

On Monday, April 11, Cranford improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the Watchung Division after winning at previously undefeated Elizabeth High School by the score of 9-3.

Emma Ingraham and Sophia DeMarco each banged out three hits; Cranford finished with 14 overall.

Former Cranford standout catcher Melissa Moreno, a 2012 graduate, succeeded Christine Pemoulie as head coach. Her assistant coach is Brie Capece.

Cranford began the week with a 2-2 record, including home wins over Mountain Division foe Summit High School, 10-2, and Watchung Division rival Governor Livingston High School, 13-3. Its first loss of the year came at home to Old Bridge High School, 5-3, on Friday, April 8.

Players on the team’s 2022 roster are senior Quajanai Couto, junior Madison Jones, freshman Hannah Semple, junior left fielder Katie Bendert, senior left fielder Samantha Brunton, sophomore right fielder Maddy DeLong, sophomore pitcher/first baseman DeMarco, senior catcher Ingraham, junior Niah Murphy, junior third baseman Giulia Olear, junior second baseman Emma Grace Pachkowski, junior Sabrina Prata, junior pitcher Avery Toddings and senior outfielder Erin Zarzecki.

Cranford fell at 4-0 IHA by the score of 6-4 in the invite on Sunday, April 10. Cranford scored its first three runs in the top of the sixth and its final one in the seventh.

DeMarco went 2-for-4, with two singles and two RBIs, while Olear and Semple banged out two singles apiece.

DeMarco singled in last year’s 5-1 win against Governor Livingston in the UCT final played at Linden’s Memorial Field.

Going into Tuesday, April 12, Cranford was 3-0 against Union County competition.