Alexis Criscuolo slides into home after Lindsay Beer off a triple hit by Camryn Layne

Park Ridge’s Alexis Criscuolo slides safely into home during the Owls’ four-run first inning in Thursday’s 4-3 win over No. 10 New Milford. Park Ridge improved to 7-0. (Danielle Parhizkaran/Fort Lee Surburbanite)

It was a relatively quiet day around North Jersey softball, but one team sure made a statement… again. No. 6 Park Ridge won its seventh straight game to start the year, and second in as many days against an undefeated team, defeating No. 10 New Milford, 4-3. Trailing by one in the bottom of the first, the Owls struck for four runs — mostly via small ball and taking advantage of a few New Milford defensive lapses. The four runs held up to be enough, thanks to another quality performance in the circle from pitcher Emily Kline and strong defense behind her all game. Kline struck out just three on Thursday, so the Owls’ defense had to perform. “Our defense did a lot of work today,” coach Cindy Turner said. “And they really came up big.”

After the Knights closed the deficit to one with one run in both the second and third innings, the Owls kept New Milford off the board in the final four frames. Turner pointed out a great defensive play in the seventh from second basemen Martina McGee as one of the highlights. McGee’s diving stop up the middle nearly started a 4-6-3 game-ending double play. The Owls didn’t turn two, but McGee got the force out at second and saved the situation from being 1st and 2nd with 1 out, to instead just a runner on 1st with 2 outs. Big difference while clinging to a one-run lead.

“I definitely think [Wednesday’s] win [4-2 against Midland Park] helped,” Turner said. “We have a fairly young team in terms of real experience. … We have a great group of kids, we’re very cohesive and everyone is about the team. That makes a big difference.” There’s one more big test left for the Owls to cap their impressive week, and that’ll come Saturday vs. No. 15 Fair Lawn (6-0) at the EDSAF Tournament in Emerson. After that, Park Ridge doesn’t play another team currently ranked in the Top 25 again until May 6, when it travels to Midland Park. By the way, both teams are Group 1 schools — and when you throw in Saddle Brook, Midland Park, Cedar Grove and even Pompton Lakes (still undefeated), whatever team gets through that section this year will certainly be battle-tested.

And one more thing, New Milford’s Carly Lesko homered again on Thursday, which I think is her third of the season.

Quick Pitches

– No. 9 DePaul improved to 4-2 on Thursday with a 12-2 win over Passaic Tech. Jacque Gentile and Ronnie Vergara both homered and drove in three for the Spartans (3-2), while Victoria D’Addario added a triple. Freshman Akilah Mouzon got the win and struck out 13, as ace Ashley LaGuardia is still sidelined with an arm injury. Christina Martinez went 4-for-5.

– One day after knocking off No. 7 Paramus, No. 20 Ridgewood got back to .500 (3-3) with its 7-3 win over Glen Rock. Nicole Parks doubled, homered and drove in two, Kelly Skettini doubled and also added 2 RBI, and Lindsay Gray and Kelley Ekert each provided 1 RBI. Zoe Singer picked up her third win of the year in the circle. Ridgewood broke open a one-run game in the top of the seventh with three insurance runs.

– And if our database is correct, I think Waldwick is on a four-game winning streak with its 4-0 win over Cresskill on Thursday after starting the year 0-2 (with losses to Midland Park and a one-run loss to Park Ridge). Pitcher Olivia Kowal tossed a complete game, one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts, while Callie Fucarino, Jess Colluci and Kowal all provided 1 RBI.