Old Bridge girls hold off Tigers for a GMCT title

By doug mckenzie
Staff Writer

By doug mckenzie
Staff Writer

SOUTH PLAINFIELD — The Old Bridge girls’ softball team is just full of surprises.

The Knights completed an unlikely run to a conference crown on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over another upstart team, South Plainfield, in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final.

It marked the end to a great tournament run for the Knights, one which came just four days following a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Hunterdon Central in the Central Jersey Group IV tournament.

Following their elimination from the state tournament, the Knights turned all of their focus on the GMCT.

After receiving a first-round bye, the Knights faced Colonia in the second round, and came away with a 2-1 win. After Amanda Meatto reached on a double in the second inning, Nicole Riggio moved her to third with a single. That put freshman first baseman Jen Vitorino on the spot, and the youngster came through with a clutch two-run single. Meatto took over from there, pitching brilliantly to hold Colonia to just one run.

In the Knights’ next game against South Brunswick in the quarterfinal round, Meatto was even better, shutting the potent offense out, while also scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on a bobbled comebacker to the pitcher.

Next up was Edison in the semifinals, as Meatto got the Knights’ offense on track with a two-out RBI-single in the fifth, paving the way for Vitorino to add a two-RBI single later that inning. The Knights later added a pair of runs, while Meatto held off a good Edison offense en route to a 5-3 win, and a trip to the finals.

Tuesday’s game was another nail-biter, with the usual suspects coming through for the Knights. While Meatto was as stingy as ever on the hill, it was fellow senior Jamie Capra who got things going offensively in the fourth inning. Her bloop single to right led to an RBI single from Vitorino, and a 1-0 lead.

Then it was time for Dana Hadzimichalis to be the hero, and the junior stepped up, delivering the game-winning, RBI single.

Vitorino also came up big in the field, making a brilliant catch on a pop-up in foul territory, then turning and firing a strike to home plate to complete a double-play.

The Tigers did manage to get a run in the sixth, following a pair of Old Bridge errors, but their rally failed, allowing Old Bridge to celebrate a conference title.

Meatto was named the tournament’s MVP for her exploits, but in truth, the entire Old Bridge team deserved credit for its play throughout. The Knights saved their best softball of the year for the postseason, and have some hardware to show for it.

Joining Meatto on the All-Tournament Team were second baseman Nicole Riggio and third baseman Jackie Battaglino.