|VIDEO: Morris Knolls foiled by North Hunterdon in state semifinals|
Morris Knolls wanted to add a state softball title to the Morris County and sectional crowns it had already claimed this season. But pitcher Mason Spichiger and her North Hunterdon teammates got in the way.
Spichiger pitched a seven-hit shutout as North Hunterdon upset the Golden Eagles, 5-0, in the Group IV state semifinals. Carly Severini hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Lions a big boost in the game played in Nutley.
Spichiger struck out six and kept Morris Knolls off-balance, inducing a number of pop-ups and short fly balls. Her performance is even more impressive when you add in the four shutout innings Spichiger pitched on Tuesday, before the scoreless game was halted by rain. By rule, the game had to be replayed from the start.
And North Hunterdon was able to get to pitcher Ashley Lesch this time around. Severini drove in three runs on the day, including an RBI grounder in a two-run fifth inning. Isabella Many had two hits including an RBI double. Kayla Parker delivered an RBI single and Taylor Knoble scored two runs.
Maddie Housel had two hits for Morris Knolls, including the Golden Eagles' only extra-base hit, a double. Marina Castalluzo also had a pair of hits. Morris Knolls, ranked in the state's top ten coming into the game, finishes at 28-4.
North Hunterdon is now 22-7 and will meet Hillsborough for the Group IV state title on Saturday in Toms River.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school state tournament girls' softball game, click play in the box at left.