SOFTBALL: Secaucus vs Whippany Park on May 31, 2013

(Picture by Alyssa Ki/The Jersey Journal)


JOURNAL STAFF WRITERWHIPPANY — The moment pitcher Danielle Roesing blew a high fastball by the game’s final batter, the celebration was on.Roesing’s fifth and final strikeout of the game sealed Secaucus’ thrilling 1-0 victory over second-seeded Whippany Park in Friday’s NJSIAA North 2, Group 1 final and clinched the school’s first sectional softball title.

The Patriots’ dugout erupted in joy, as players grabbed the team’s water cooler and dumped it on coach Cherryl Bott, soaking her from head to toe.

“I’m speechless,” Bott said, struggling to put her team’s victory into words. “We knew if we came up big in the field and scratched a run across that we could steal one, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Fifth-seeded Secaucus (24-6) advances to the Group 1 semifinal on Tuesday, when it will face Saddle Brook, which shut out New Milford 5-0 in Friday’s North 1, Group 1 sectional final.

“We all came in here wanting to play, wanting to win, wanting to take it (a sectional title),” Roesing said. “We played like a true team today, just like we have been doing all season.”

The Patriots’ offense did not get off to the start Bott was hoping for, as pitcher Jenn Sanislo breezed through the first four innings for Whippany Park (22-7), retiring the first 11 Secaucus batters of the game. She finished with 12 strikeouts and scattered just three hits.

However, the Patriots broke through in the fifth when Sanislo walked the first two batters of the inning and gave up a bunt single to Secaucus second baseman Kimberly Alfonso to load the bases. After two quick outs, leadoff hitter Lauren Guillen gave the Patriots the kind of tough at-bat Bott was looking for, drawing a walk and giving Secaucus its one-run lead.

“It was nerve-wracking, but I knew their pitcher was flustered,” said Guillen. “I knew I had to keep my head in the game, focus, and lay off any bad pitches.”

Secaucus’ run in the fifth was all Roesing would need, as the senior tossed seven shutout innings and walked just one batter.

Roesing continues to rise to the occasion in big games for Secaucus, which rides a 14-game winning streak. After striking out 13 in a 4-2 victory over North Bergen in the Hudson County Tournament final, Roesing pitched back-to-back one-hitters against Dayton and Belvidere in the first and second rounds of the state tournament, before giving up just two hits and striking out 14 in the Patriots’ sectional semifinal win over Brearly.

But yesterday’s performance was her most impressive to date — one that had her coach smiling from ear to ear.

“Danielle was phenomenal,” Bott said of the Patriots’ senior leader. “She keeps it together, she keeps our team together, and as tough of a game as this was, she never got flustered.”

While Secaucus can celebrate its sectional title, coach Bott made sure to remind her players that there would be practice tomorrow afternoon, as the Patriots look to continue the most successful run the school’s softball program has ever seen.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” said Bott. “We need to stay relaxed, take care of business, and its all fun from here on out.”

Secaucus (24-6)             0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 1 3 1  Whippany Park (22-7)  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 5 1  RBI: (S) Lauren Guillen. Runs: (S) Ariana Simon. WP: Danielle Roesing. LP: Jenn Sanislo.