With their Union County Championship finals matchup against Governor Livingston on deck, Wednesday’s matchup against Union Catholic loomed as a trap game for New Providence.
There would be no let down in this one though as Cassandra Squeri (3-4, 2B, RBI) led the Pioneers to a 10-0 victory over the Vikings.
“This game was great for us to get our confidence up,” Squeri said. “It was great for our hitting especially since we have had to work inside a lot.”
The Pioneers bats were hot from the outset, as the home team put across four runs in the first stanza. Jenna Madden led off the game with a double, one of three in the inning. Kelsey Quinn (2-4, 2B, RBI) Amelia Ekert (2-3, RBI) and Kaylin Ricciardi (2-3, 2B, RBI) all picked up RBIs in the frame.
New Providence got three more across in the third inning on an RBI double from Nicole Sattia and a pair of RBI singles from Ricciardi and Suzie Gargiulo to extend the lead to 7-0. The Vikings cut the rally short on a nice 5-3-2 double play that was finished off with a great tag from catcher Nicole Velona.
Squeri cruised through much of the game, allowing only two hits as she entered the sixth inning. Although the Pioneers had a 9-0 cushion, the Vikings threatened as they worked the bases loaded with no outs. Squeri responded with three straight strikeouts to work herself out of the jam and end the inning. She finished the game with 10 strikeouts over her six innings of work.
The pitcher also blasted an RBI double deep to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the Pioneers ahead 8-0.
For the Vikings, starter Colleen Dow (2-3) pitched the entire game and scattered 13 hits across her six innings. Vikings third baseman Kelly Shulhafer made the “web gem” of the game when she snagged a Ricciardi line drive for the first out of the fifth inning.
With the Vikings out of the way, the Pioneers can now turn their undivided attention to Saturday’s Union County Tournament finals showdown at Kean University. New Providence, the No. 6 seed, will enter the game as underdogs against rival Governor Livingston, the tournament’s highest seeded team.
Squeri will once again be on the mound for the Pioneers and the senior is confident in both herself and her teammates.
“Governor Livingston and us are rivals in everything. We’ve been working hard for this,” said Squeri. “Our confidence is high, we are coming together at the best time. We’re going to give it our best.”
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