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Non-Public A&B Softball Finals Both End in Walk-Off Fashion



Non-Public A Softball Final

Ally Dudek’s walk-off single with two outs in the seventh inning propelled the Immaculate Heart Blue Eagles past the Notre Dame Irish 1-0 at Kean University on Saturday and their first state title since 2012. Regan Jones led off the seventh with an infield bunt single down the right side and moved over to second base on a sac bunt by Sonia Sharma. Dudek then roped a single into center field as Jones dove in safely at home plate for the winning run.

“I was confident and knew I was hitting all game because Giampolo wasn’t over powering me and I found the pitch to hit,” said Ally Dudek. “I was proud of myself because I had worked so hard and just happy to help my team win.”

Blue Eagles starting pitcher Olivia Sprofera gave up her first hit in 9 2/3 innings dating back to the perfect game thrown against Pope John on Wednesday at Montclair State University.

The Irish wasted scoring chances in the second and seventh innings. In the second, Notre Dame had runners on first and second base with one out, but Sprofera struck out Chrissy Mayer and got Alyssa Giampolo to ground out to third base. In the seventh, Giampolo led off with a double into the right-center field gap. However, Sprofera got Hailee Jantorno to ground to second base, ending the inning.

Another big-game, off the charts performance from Sprofera as she fired a complete game four-hitter while whiffing nine and walking two.

“It all starts in the circle and Olivia pitched a great game against a very good offensive team in Notre Dame, plus getting us here with the perfect game against Pope John,” said Immaculate Heart Academy Head Coach Anthony LaRezza. “I had confidence in Dudek because she had hit the ball hard twice in prior at bats and found the hole.”

Immaculate Heart had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the fourth but catcher Sara Browning flied out to right field to end the inning. Irish starting pitcher Angela Giampolo pitched a solid game, going 6 2/3 innings, surrendering one run on four hits.

“I was able to hit my spots and my defense made the plays,” said Sprofera. “We’re number one and won the state championship. We weren’t supposed to be according to everyone and glad we showed what we could do.”


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Non-Public B Softball Final

Andee Lupica’s two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Immaculate Blue Wolves to a 2-1 comeback victory against the St. Joseph (Hamm.) Wildcats at Kean University on Friday and their third consecutive Non-Public B title. Tied at 1-1 entering the seventh inning, Gabby Fredette led off the inning with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt down the third base line. Fredette moved over to second base on a wild pitch and Lupica ripped the game-winning hit into center field.

“I had a 3-1 count on me and there was no way another strike was being called on me,” said Andee Lupica. “I know I had to send one into the outfield because with Gabby on second anything hit to the outfield she would score.”

Trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning, Ali Moran and Samantha Krakower started the decisive rally with back-to-back singles. A sac bunt from Ashely Callahan moves both runners into scoring position. Kayla Roberts came in as a pinch runner for Moran which paid off as Ashely Cantone lofted a sac fly to center field with Roberts sliding in safely ahead of the tag at home plate to tie the game up at 1-1.

The Wildcats jumped on the board in the first inning with Mikaela Power scoring on a passed ball on a 0-2 count. In the top of the third, St. Joseph (Hamm.) catcher Carly Testa belted a line drive towards the left center field gap but Lodi Immaculate center fielder Gabby Slade made a spectacular catch while crashing into the fence to rob Testa of an extra-base hit.

“Sara pitched awesome and maturity this year she had to bear down making plays and getting key strikeouts,” said Lodi Immaculate Head Coach Jeff Horohonich. “We had to get runners in key situations and were able to exhale after tying the game up. I said to Gabby before she came up how would you like to be the person to score the game-winning run and thank god she did. Andee has been clutch for us all year long.”

There were scoring opportunities in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings for the Blue Wolves to push across the tying run as they had multiple runners on base but Wildcats starting pitcher Taylor Siroli was bailed out by a snow cone catch from center fielder Gianna Morganti and unassisted double play by third baseman Mikaela Power.

St. Joseph (Hamm.) also had numerous chances to increase their lead but Blue Wolves starting pitcher Sarah Piening continued her impressive dominance on the mound striking out batters in the fifth and sixth innings. Piening struck out a total of 20 batters in the last two games.

“I couldn’t be anymore prouder of my team especially the seniors Gabby and Lea,” said Sarah Piening. “I had no doubts we were not going to comeback and not take a loss. Once we tied the game up in the sixth I knew the game was ours not theirs.”

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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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