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Dominant Pitching Highlights Northeast National High School Softball Invitational

IHA freshman Katie Kudlacik threw a complete-game shutout, striking out 14 and walking one.

Immaculate Heart Academy freshman Katie Kudlacik throws a pitch. (Photo by Sunil Sunder Raj - DoubleGSports)

Immaculate Heart Academy freshman Katie Kudlacik throws a pitch. (Photo by Sunil Sunder Raj – DoubleGSports)


Immaculate Heart Academy (3) vs. St. Joseph (Hammonton) (0) – Freshman pitcher Katie Kudlacik threw a complete-game shutout, allowing three hits, striking out 14 and walking one to lead the Immaculate Heart Academy Blue Eagles to a 3-0 victory over the St. Joseph (Hamm.) Wildcats. The Blue Eagles broken open the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd on a solo home run from Junior shortstop Taylor Kennerson.

The Blue Eagles put the game away in the 4th inning with clutch two-out hitting. Junior right fielder Victoria Casey single to right center field scored Sophomore Sonia Sharma followed by junior catcher Sarah Browning roping a double into the right center field gap allowing Casey to score all the way from 1st base.

“It was a good test for our kids as we’re still a very young and need more game experience” said Immaculate Heart Academy Head Coach Anthony LaRezza. “The bottom of the lineup came up big in the fourth inning with two-out hits” added LaRezza. “Katie had a good performance as it was the first time she pitched seven innings all spring because of the weather”

Kudlacik ran into a jam in the first two innings as the Wildcats had runners on 1st and 2nd both times but she struck out the last two batters in the 1st inning and in 2nd got catcher Carly Testa to fly out to right field.

“Overall we played well and had good base running” said Katie Kudlacik. “Taylor got us moving with her home run” added Kudlacik. “In the first inning it was big to work out of the jam because the would have scored”


Saddle Brook (5) vs. Raritan (3) – A four-run first inning outburst lifted the Saddle Brook Falcons past the Raritan Rockets 5-3. Junior centerfielder Vanessa Archibald went 2-for-4 with two singles; two runs scored and swiped two bases. The Falcons caught an early break on a bloop drive by Senior right fielder Ashley Russo that was dropped by the second baseman allowing Archibald to score from third base for the first run of the game. With runners on second and third, Rockets starting pitcher Nicole Coppolino uncorked a wild pitch allowing Russo to score from third making the score 2-0. Junior Ana Sand capped off the big inning crushing a two-run home run to straight away center field.

“Ana Sand has been hitting the heck out of the ball this week” said Saddle Brook Head Coach Darren White. “Vanessa has been outstanding for us because we graduated most of our outfield last year and she plays a great centerfield covering lots of area” added White. “She has really developed as an offensive threat at the top of the order”

Raritan responded in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI single Senior Daniella Marino. However, Saddle Brook regained their four-run cushion in the top of the fifth on a line drive RBI single from Sophomore Morgan Santora that brought home Archibald. The Rockets answered back in their bottom half of the inning with two runs to cut the deficit to 5-3. Falcons starting pitcher junior Taylor DiGiacomo worked out of the jam by striking out Ashely Marino. DiGiacomo threw a complete game allowing three runs, six hits while striking out four.

“Taryn really worked hard in the off-season and is a competitor,” said White. “Faced with adversity she kicked it up a notch by throwing a great curve ball to get the strikeout and end the inning” “A hallmark of ours at Saddle Brook is pitching and defense”


Old Tappan (3) vs. Butler (1)- Old Tappan Sophomore Julie Rodriguez threw a complete-game yielding one run on two hits while striking out two. Rodriguez contributed at the plate going 2-for-2 with an RBI and walking twice. Emma Nelson chipped in also going for 2-for-2 and two walks.

“We were real happy to come away with a win today against a top level opponent in Butler” said Old Tappan Head Coach Melissa Landeck. “Julie was real steady and was buzzing through” added Landeck. “The offense did a good job of manufacturing runs while the defense came up with some nice plays”

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Rodriguez RBI single up the middle scoring Nelson from third base for the first run of the game. With runners on 2nd and 3rd base, Butler starting pitcher Larissa Spellman uncorked a wild pitch allowing Rodriguez to score from third making the score 2-0. Old Tappan added another run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI ground out from Senior Rebecca Blekht.

Butler did not get its first off Rodriguez until the top of the 6th on a double into left center field gap by Kayla Carr. Carr would eventually score on an error. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Rodriguez kept her cool retiring the next three batters to end the inning.

“It was a team win and not just about me,” said Julie Rodriguez. “I really kept the ball in the infield today and my team backed me up” added Rodriguez. Speaking about the top of the 6th, “We had a couple of innings like that this year but I kept my composure and trusted my team a lot more”.


Northern Highlands (1) vs. Warren Hills (0)- For six innings Northern Highlands starting pitcher Katie Ducan and Warren Hills starting pitcher Madey Smith were locked in a thrilling pitchers’ duel and striking out batters left and right. However, the Highlanders were able to break through with a run in the bottom of the 6th to come away with the win.

“Katie had a great day and got it done at the plate also,” said Northern Highlands Head Coach Chris Broking. “Nicole is a great contact hitter and today I moved her up in the batting order” added Broking.

Duncan was instrumental in the victory tossing a three-hitters while striking out 8. Smith matched Duncan’s intensity fanning 12 Highlanders while allowing three hits and one walk.

After Fiona Walley led off the 6th with a bloop single, Duncan ripped a double off the left field fence putting runners on 2nd and 3rd. Nicole Gattoni deposited a sac fly to right field brought Walley in for the game winning run.

“We all preach to help out the team any way and picking each other up” said Katie Duncan. “This is the first time we have been invited to this invitational and getting the respect from other team is absolutely unbelievable” added Duncan.

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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