With an impressive 24-5 record it is no surprise to see the Middletown North Lady Lions back at the NJSIAA Group III Sectional Championships. last year they dominated the game and took home the win this year history was set to repeat itself.
The Steinert Spartans walked on to the field with a respectful 26-3 season run. Both teams were featuring strong pitchers with a lot of experience to make the batter work for the hit.
The first inning was fast-paced with both teams feeling out one another to set the tempo for the rest of the game. The Spartans were first to bat but the strikeout senior Malori Bell pitched three consecutive no-hitters to bring the Lady Lions up to bat. Speaking of Malori Bell she was first to bat for the Lady Lions where she landed a great shot towards the infield to successfully make it to first base. The inning ended with the score 0-0.
Going into the second the Spartans were still adjusting to Malori’s fast styled pitching. Another three players were struck out. Middletown North, however, began to pick up speed as the players adjusted to Steinert’s Kaylee Whittaker movements. Ava Turner #23 of Middletown North was able to make contact with the ball that put her on first base. As her teammates followed behind making good connections with the ball Ava was able to run back to home play putting the first point on the board.
Now the game was heating up going into the third where Malori Bell shinned and took the first big step in bridging the gap in the score. With another inning of no-hitters, Malori was set up to bat at the top of the order. The roar of cheering could be heard from Tindall Rd as Malori Bell had smashed the ball over the fence for an exciting home run. Her teammates celebrated on home plate as the senior ran through the bases as if she walking on air. Also making a trip around the bases was #8 Cara McNulty who helped bring the score to 3-0 ending the third inning.
The game was calm for the next few innings with not too much happening on the field. That all changed as the two teams became desperate to finish the game strong. Middletown North was able to gain two more runs from Mia Botti and Ava Turner who brought the score to 5-0. The Lady Lions thought it was going to be a shut out game up until the seventh inning as Steinert came through with three explosive runs by Alex Haley, Julia Hannawaker, and Kaylee Whittaker.
However, thanks to a strong play by Malri Bell to the first baseman, Ashley Kofsky the Lady Lions got the third out and took the victory. The players rushed the mound with jumping and excitement as they were back-to-back champions. The players were presented with the trophy and smiles from the huge crowd that came out to support.
Now the Lady Lions set their sights to tomorrow’s matchup against Donovan Catholic for the Shore Conference Title.