Jonathan Dayton High School softball team makes the states

Jonathan Dayton High School’s softball team, who just won the Union County Tournament for the first time, is now seeking to capture the North 2, Group 2 crown.

SPRINGFIELD, NJ — The goal for the Jonathan Dayton High School softball team this week is simple: Three more home wins in three days and another trophy will be hoisted.

Fresh off its first-ever Union County Tournament championship, won on Monday, May 20, the Bulldogs began North 2, Group 2 state tournament play two days later with a convincing 14-0 home win against 16th-seeded Hudson County’s Harrison High School.

Next up for top-seeded Jonathan Dayton was ninth-seeded Bergen County school Rutherford High on Tuesday, May 28. The Bulldogs took a nine-game winning streak into that contest and a record of 22-6. Rutherford was 16-6-1.

Jonathan Dayton also won its final regular season game, beating Immaculata High School, 15-2, in Somerville on Tuesday, May 21.
If Jonathan Dayton got past Rutherford on Tuesday, May 28, then the Bulldogs will be hosting either James Caldwell High School or Hanover Park High School in the semifinals on Thursday, May 30.

The championship game, at the higher seed, is scheduled for Saturday, June 1.

“Respect everyone and fear no one has been our mantra all year,” Jonathan Dayton head coach Dave Rennie said.

Three Jonathan Dayton seniors have reached 100 career varsity hits. Kate Buckley was the latest to reach 100 in the UCT final win against Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School. The other two to do so were Alyssa Santangelo and Natalie Mignone.

“Our current senior group has meant so much to this program,” Rennie said. “They are the heart and soul of our team.

Those players include Buckley, Santangelo, Mignone and Jenna Campos.

“The other players have blended in nicely,” Rennie said.

They include junior Angela Gatto, freshman Juilianna Santangelo, sophomore Lila Carroll, junior Sofia Badalamenti, freshman Charley Badalamenti, freshman Madison Tarrant, freshman Alyssa Freitas, junior Allie Haughney, sophomore Bella Pintado, freshman Jessica Miller, freshman Abigail Trenk, junior Ashley Weber, freshman Peyton Riolo, freshman Samantha Sainato and junior Olivia Douglas.
Carroll, in her second season as Jonathan Dayton’s No. 1 pitcher, has proven to be one of the top sophomore pitchers in the state. Her record after beating Scotch Plains–Fanwood, 6-5, in the Union County Tournament championship game at Kean University stood at 14-5.

“She’s such a tough competitor,” Rennie said. “Lila has been the backbone of our team for two years. She doesn’t shy away from the big moment.”

A Jonathan Dayton Bulldogs UCT championship lineup to remember: Monday, May 20, 2024

Pitcher: sophomore Lila Carroll
Catcher: senior Kate Buckley
First base: senior Jenna Campos
Second base: sophomore Bella Pintado (flex)
Third base: freshman Charley Badalamenti
Shortstop: junior Angela Gatto
Left field: junior Ashley Weber
Center field: senior Alyssa Santangelo
Right field: junior Olivia Douglas
Designated player: senior Natalie Mignone

Jonathan Dayton under fourth-year mentor Dave Rennie in his second stint as head coach of the Bulldogs:

2021: (6-12) – 4-5 in UCC-Mountain Division
2022: (10-11) – 6-3 in UCC-Mountain Division
2023: (18-10) – won UCC-Mountain Division at 8-0
2024: (22-6 going into May 28 state tournament game)
– finished second in UCC-Watching Division at 7-3
– First-time Union County Tournament champions

2024 North 2, Group 2 Softball

Seeds: 1-Jonathan Dayton. 2-Passaic Valley Regional. 3-Ridgefield Park Jr.-Sr. 4-James Caldwell. 5-Hanover Park. 6-Bernards. 7-Madison. 8-McNair Academic. 9-Rutherford. 10-New Providence. 11-Hackettstown. 12-Henry P. Becton Regional. 13-Science Park. 14-Lodi. 15-Voorhees. 16-Harrison.

First Round

Wednesday, May 22

Jonathan Dayton 14, Harrison 0
Rutherford 17, McNair Academic 0
Hanover Park 9, Henry P. Becton Regional 0
James Caldwell 19, Science Park 0
Madison 4, New Providence 0
Passaic Valley Regional 5, Voorhees 0
Ridgefield Park Jr.-Sr. 15, Lodi 0
Bernards 13, Hackettstown 3


Tuesday, May 28

Top side of bracket

9-Rutherford vs. 1-Jonathan Dayton
5-Hanover Park at 4-James Caldwell

Bottom side of bracket

7-Madison at 2-Passaic Valley Regional
6-Bernards at 3-Ridgefield Park Jr.-Sr.


Thursday, May 30

Quarterfinals winners
At higher seeds


Saturday, June 1

Semifinals winners
At highest seed

Photo Courtesy of Softball Coach Dave Rennie