BY ED MILLS
TOMS RIVER – Gabby Slade delivered a tie-breaking two-out bases loaded single in the top of the fourth inning to help Immaculate Conception of Lodi defeat Sacred Heart, 6-4, in the Non-Public B state championship softball game Sunday at Toms River East High School. It was the first softball state title in history for the Blue Wolves.
Immaculate Conception (30-2) opened the scoring in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Andee Lupica. The Blue Wolves added three runs in the second on run-scoring singles by Erin Stacevicz, Shannon Truppi and Lea Georgatos to make it 4-0.
But Sacred Heart (31-4), which defeated Immaculate Conception, 3-1, in the Non-Public B state final last year, answered back with two runs in the bottom of the second and two in the bottom of the third to tie it 4-4.
That’s when Slade answered the call to make it 5-4 in the fourth before Stacevicz had a two-out RBI single to add on an insurance run in the top of the fifth. Freshman right-hander Sarah Piening (17-2) scattered eight hits, striking out four and walking one in a masterful complete game performance.