NUTLEY – The Nutley High School varsity softball team lost a heartbreaking 4-1 decision in 10 innings at Mount Saint Dominic Academy on Thursday, May 12, in Caldwell in a game that decided a share of the Super Essex Conference-American Division title.
Mount Saint Dominic won it on a walk-off homer by Julianna Kocenski.
The teams played to a scoreless tie through seven innings, forcing extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, senior Stefanie Ziemer’s RBI put the Raiders up 1-0, scoring Melanie Conca.
In the bottom of the 10th, Dani Dobroski hit an RBI single to tie it 1-1 before Kocenski’s game-winning homer.
The stakes were high in this game. The winner clinched a share of the SEC-American Division title with West Essex.
NHS senior pitcher Emily Holden went the distance, striking out 18 and giving up four hits, two walks and four runs. Holden also recorded her 100th career hit in the game.
Ziemer finished 3-for-5.
The Raiders moved to a 17-4 overall record and finished 9-3 in the division. The other two divisional losses were to West Essex, 2-1, on April 13, at West Essex, and 7-1, May 2, at Yanticaw Park.
Mount Saint Dominic moved to a 20-2 overall record and 10-2 in the division.
NHS beat Mount Saint Dominic in the first divisional meeting, 1-0, April 15, at Yanticaw Park.
The third-seeded Raiders will host sixth-seeded Cedar Grove in the Essex County Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. If the Raiders win, they will play the winner of second-seeded West Essex and seventh-seeded Bloomfield in the semifinals doubleheader at Mike Sheppard Sr. Field at Ivy Hill Park in Newark on May 20 at 5 p.m.
The other quarterfinals pit No. 9 Montclair at No. 1 Mount Saint Dominic and No. 5 Newark Academy at No. 4 Livingston.
The ECT final is May 21 at 7 p.m. at Sheppard Sr. Field.
In earlier action, Holden fired a two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts and went 2-for-2 with a double and two walks at the plate in the 7-0 home win over Bayonne on May 10.
Breanna DeMaio went 2-for-3; Danielle Pomponio went 2-for-3 with a walk; and Lauren Hogan had a double and two RBI. Ziemer went 1-for-4 with an RBI and Sydney Kunz went 1-for-3 with a run.