Danielle Roesing struck out 14 batters in Secaucus’ 10-2 win over Brearley.
(Alyssa Ki/The Jersey Journal)
By MICHAEL WRIGHT – Jersey Journal
SECAUCUS — Throughout the season, Secaucus softball coach Cherryl Bott knew this particular team was a special one. After the final out of the Patriots’ 10-2 victory over Brearley in the NJSIAA North 2, Group 1 sectional semifinals, those thoughts were affirmed.
Behind the productive combination of sophomore shortstop Julia McClure and senior pitcher Danielle Roesing, fifth-seeded Secaucus (23-6) set a school record with their 23rd win of the season. The Patriots will play in their first sectional final since 2007 on Friday when they visit second-seeded Whippany Park, which topped New Providence 7-3 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
“We wanted to just stay after them, stay relentless and not be satisfied,” Bott said after her team bashed 13 hits. “We want to stay relentless and keep scoring runs.”
McClure got the Secaucus offense going in the top of the first with a two-run homer to left-center field. Sophomore third baseman Kendall Caruso collected Secaucus’ first hit of the game when she laced a ground ball down the first base line with one out in the first, before McClure belted a shot to the gap in left center, as the Patriots got out to a 2-0 lead.
“Starting the game off that way was energizing,” said McClure, who went 4-for-4 with three RBI and four runs scored. “They were playing me on edge of the grass, so I was hoping to hit one over their heads. Fortunately for us, I was able to do so.”
Secaucus’ quick start gave them a lead that was never in doubt, much in thanks due to the continued dominance of their ace pitcher. After tossing back-to-back one-hit gems against Dayton and Belvidere in first and second round victories, Roesing was superb once again, striking out fifteen batters. She gave up just two hits and two runs over seven innings of work.
“We’re so close and we want to grab it (a section title),” Roesing said. “I just try to hit my spots and take it one batter at a time.”
After another stellar performance from a pitcher who has started every one of Secaucus’ games this season, Roesing’s recent postseason tear continues to marvel her teammates.
“Danielle is always great, but today she was exceptional,” said McClure. “We know we need to play our best for her, especially when she pitches like she did today.”
As if her work on the mound wasn’t enough, Roesing helped herself out with some key at bats as well, going 3-for-3 with two RBI.
When McClure singled in another run in bottom of the second, Roesing brought her home with a two-out RBI triple, giving Secaucus a commanding 5-0 lead.
After Brearly (13-10) first baseman Christine Grispart hit a scorching RBI triple down the third baseline to put her team on the board in the top of the fourth, the Patriots quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning. Again it was Roesing with a run-scoring single to make it 6-2, followed by another RBI single from catcher Jessie Koerner, and a sacrifice fly from first baseman Ariana Simon to put the game out of reach at 8-2.
Koerner added an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-2, before Kim Alfonso was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded two batters later.
After one of their biggest wins of the season, Secaucus now looks forward to capturing a sectional title.
“This is a special group and I can’t say enough about them,” said Bott. “They know what they want and they’ll do whatever they can to get it.”