Hustlers are second at Roselle Park tourney

The Old Bridge Hustlers U12 girls softball team completed its inaugural U12 season with a strong second-place finish in the sixth annual Roselle Park tournament. The tournament, which featured 12 teams from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, was held Aug. 3-5 and featured very stiff competition. In game one, led by Taylor Kaplan’s complete game, the Hustlers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to earn a 13-3 victory against an older Suffern, N.Y., squad. Brianne Kennedy and Dom Andre powered the offense, as usual, with timely extra base hits. Game two pitted Old Bridge against the host Roselle Park team that won earlier that day. Paige Pentland pitched three strong innings before Paige Weo exterminated any hopes of a Roselle Park comeback to earn a tough 6-5 victory. Gianna Conti’s outstanding play in left field secured the victory. Emma Riviera’s two-run single propelled the offense in its second victory of the night doubleheader.

Game three, which matched the undefeated Hustlers against the undefeated West Patterson team with the top seed at stake, proved to be no match for the Hustlers as they blanked the Blue Rockets, 7-0, behind Paige Weo’s pitching. Heather Forziati and Kaitlyn Passeratti stood firm defensively with some outstanding plays and Brianne Kennedy and Jess Bucci homered for the Hustlers. With the victory the Hustlers advanced to the single-elimination playoff held Sunday morning against the Hillsborough Hustle. With both teams facing elimination, the Hustlers exploded for 13 runs on a four-hit performance by Sydney Scheiner, as well as two timely hits by Natalie Norcutt. Jaime Williams pitched three strong innings before Paige Weo again closed the door on the Hillsborough squad. The victory placed the Hustlers against the powerful Taunton, Mass., team in the finals.

Old Bridge hurried to a 5-0 lead, anchored by Scheiner and Weo’s extra base hits. Taunton responded with a big second inning to knot the game at 5-5, but the Hustler bats responded again in the third to take a 9-5 lead. Taunton again fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh with some sound base-running. With the score tied at 9-9 after regulation, both teams were forced into the international tie-breaker situation. The Hustlers failed to score in the top of the eighth, when Gianna Conti appeared to have stolen home for the lead but was denied the plate.

Taunton took advantage in their part of the eighth, earning the 10-9 victory and the first-place trophy.

With the second-place finish, the Hustlers secured their fifth top-three

finish of the season and improved to 35-12-1.

The Hustlers return to action Sept. 9 in the Mid-Jersey Fall League.