The Middletown Little League Softball 10/11 All-Stars defeated the Hopatcong All-Stars 14-3 on Wednesday night to win the New Jersey State Tournament in Hammonton, NJ.
Kristi Miceli was the winning pitcher as she pitched a complete game, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, with six strikeouts and no walks. She also had the big offensive night as she doubled twice and drove in four runs. “Kristi came prepared to win the State Tournament tonight.” said Manager Frank Miceli. “She had such confidence in herself and her team in the field. She knew that if she threw strikes, they would make the plays. The defense played outstanding the entire series.”
Middletown jumped out to a three run lead in the top of the first inning. Phoenix Starick started it off with a lead off walk. Nikki Alfano followed with a bunt single. After Liz Gulino got to first on an error, Miceli doubled in a run to put Middletown on top. After a wild pitch and walks to Kendall Keelen and Kelly Rasmussen, Middletown was on top 3-0. After setting Hopatcong down without a run in the bottom of the first, Middletown went right back to work scoring six runs in the second inning. RBI’s by Julia Beck, Keelen, Rasmussen, Starick and Alfano gave Middletown a 9-0 lead.
Hopatcong scored two runs in the bottom of the second to make it a 9-2 game. Middletown continued its scoring attack adding a run in the third on an RBI from Sam Politano. Middletown added two more runs in the fourth inning when Danielle Colucci and Liz Gulino scored on RBIs by Miceli and Keelen. With one out in the fifth inning, Starick drew a walk and went to second on a single by Alfano. Liz Gulino advanced the runners to second and third. With two outs, Miceli cleared the bases with her second double of the game, this one drilled to the left field fence. After she was taken out for pinch runner, Nicolette Scheinhartz, her team mobbed her in the dugout as the excitement for a victory was building.
The game and the tournament ended on an exciting play when Hopatcong’s Hannah Bibeault lined a single into right field with a runner on second. Rightfielder Kendall Keelen fired to second baseman Kelly Rasmussen who threw a strike to catcher Liz Gulino to nail the runner at the plate and end the game.
Middletown swept all of their tournament games from Districts to States. The pitching duo of Kristi Miceli and Kendall Keelen went undefeated as Miceli chalked up five wins and Keelen picked up three.
“I am so proud of these girls. They worked hard at each practice and it showed on the field.” Miceli added. “What an accomplishment.”
The Middletown Little League 10/11 Softball All-Stars are: Nikki Alfano, Julia Beck, Danielle Colucci, Nicolette Curran, Elizabeth Gulino, Kendall Keelen, Kristi Miceli, Samantha Politano, Kelly Rasmussen, Nicolette Scheinhartz, Phoenix Starick, Noelle Vizzone, Coach Nick Alfano, and Manager Frank Miceli.