In the 1st round of the playoffs, the #1 seed 12u Lady Knights Maroon (LKM), who finished the regular season 12-2, took on the #4 seed Brentwood Panthers on Thursday 8/10 at Memorial Park. The LKM beat the Panthers in all 4 meetings during the season and this game went according to script. The LKM jumped out with 4 runs in the 1st, 3 in the 2nd and 1 in each of the 3rd & 4th to take a 9-0 lead. LKM ace Gabby Amicizia was lights out on the mound, going the distance (7 innings) for the shutout, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks and striking out 5. Gabby moved to 6-0 on the season, taking home Player of the Game honors.
The win against the Panthers set up a best of 3 championship series against the #3 seed Longwood Thunder, who earlier in the week, upset the #2 seed Huntington Stealers 11-9. LKM beat the Longwood Thunder 2 out of 3 games during the regular season.
On Saturday 8/12, the LKM hosted Longwood at Memorial for the 1st 2 games of the series. In game 1, Gabby was back on the hill, retiring the Thunder in order in the 1st with a strikeout. Sofia Stampfli, as she’s done so many times this year, lead off the game with a walk and stole 2nd on the 1st pitch. Jessie Forneiro smoked the next pitch up the middle driving home Sofia, scoring the game’s 1st run and setting the tone for the day. Jess Sticco then drove Jessie home with a single and the LKM lead 2-0. Longwood scratched across an unearned run in the 2nd. LKM answered back with 3 more runs on RBI singles by Daniella Popko, Maddie Anderson and Sarah Gunn. Gabby retired the Thunder in the 3rd with 2 more K’s setting up the knockout blow by the LKM offense. LKM put up 7 runs in the 3rd. Gabby drove in 2 with a rocket single to left. Chloe Montanino singled in a run followed by another RBI single by Maddie and an RBI double by Sarah. Gabby made quick work of the Thunder in the 4th, striking out 2 for the complete game, 3 hits, no walks and 6 strikeouts, upping her record to 7-0. LKM 12, Longwood 1
Game 2 would not go quite as smoothly but the LKM came out swinging. LKM scored 6 in the 1st as Gianna Pizzulli doubled in 2 with an opposite field line drive to left. Gabby would later hit a laser beam, bases loaded, double to left, clearing the bases. After Longwood scored 2 without a hit, LKM scored 4 more on a Marissa Passantino RBI single followed by another bases clearing double by Gabby! Longwood would answer back with 2 more, again without a hit. After scoring 1 more in the 4th on a leadoff single by Jessie Forneiro followed later by an RBI walk by Gabby, the LKM would score 3 more in the 5th without a hit. Marissa Passantino pitched the last 5 1/3 innings, giving up 4 runs on 2 hits to stabilize the game, earning her Player of the Game honors. Gabby Amicizia also earned Player of the Game honors for her dominant pitching performance in game 1 as well as driving in 7 runs on 3 doubles in game 2. LKM 14, Longwood 9
After a 12-2 Spring Championship, the Lady Knights outscored their opponents 218-87, finishing their summer 15-2, back to back NJBL titles.
Sofia Stampfli lead the team in plate appearances (61), runs scored (32) and walks (21) out of the leadoff spot, batting a cool .425/.623 (batting avg. / on base %). Sofia also drove in 15 runs while playing excellent defense at both CF & 2B and pitching out of the bullpen.
Jessie Forneiro finished tied for 2nd in plate appearances (57), 2nd in runs scored (28), 1st in walks (21), 1st in triples (3), 3rd in RBI’s (17), 3rd in hits (18) while batting .500/.684 out of the 2 spot in the order. Jessie played excellent defense at 2B/SS as well as in the outfield, making a running catch in LF with the bases loaded to snuff out a rally in the championship series.
Jessica Sticco finished 3rd in runs scored (21) while batting .370/.575 out of the 3 hole and burning up the base paths with her aggressive style. She easily lead the team in stealing home, doing it multiple times while the catcher threw back to the pitcher, earning her the nickname “Havoc”. Jess played solid defense at SS and 1B/OF.
Marissa Passantino lead the team in at bats (50), hits (20), RBI (27) and singles (17) while batting .400/.491 out of the clean up spot. Marissa also scored 19 runs, played flawless defense at 1B while going 3-0 on the mound, pitching 18 innings, giving up only 12 hits, grabbing the victory in the championship clinching game.
Gianna Pizzulli finished 2nd in hits (19), 3rd in runs (21), 2nd in RBI (20), 1st in triples (3), while batting .528/.630. As Gianna rolls, so does the team’s offense. Her energy and enthusiasm set the tone for the LKM. Gianna also played solid at 3B and OF while improving behind the plate.
Grace Heim finished 2nd in plate appearances (57), 3rd in hits (18), 2nd in doubles (5), while driving in 13 runs and scoring 19, hitting .410/.544. Grace played outstanding 3B all season long and was solid in the OF. Grace made multiple plays on hot shots at 3b down the stretch and was a stabilizing force in the infield.
Gabby Amicizia lead the team in batting avg. (.622) and was 2nd in OBP (.714), first in doubles (6) and home runs (1) while driving in 15 and scoring 10. Gabby went on a blistering tear at the plate, going 8 for 9 with 12 RBI, 3 doubles, 1 HR and 4 walks to finish the season. On the mound, Gabby was the best pitcher in the NJBL. Gabby finished undefeated at 7-0, pitching 39 innings, giving up 36 hits, walking only 12 while striking out 44. All 7 of her starts were complete games, two shut outs and one no-hitter.
Daniella Popko batted .355/.553 with 17 runs scored. She was 1-1 on the mound with her last start being a complete game 2 hits, 1 run. Daniella is the clear team leader and played solid defense at 1B/3B and OF.
Sarah Gunn had a .500 OBP and finished the season piping hot at the plate, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs and an RBI in the championship series. Sarah had 13 runs, 17 walks and threw out multiple would be base stealers. She was steady as a rock behind the plate, starting all 17 games at catcher this summer.
Madison Anderson had a .593 OBP finishing the season on fire, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs and 2 RBI in the championship series. Maddie played solid defense at SS and CF while going 1-1 on the mound including a 4 inning, 1 hit, 8 strikeout gem in her 1st start.
Natalia D’onofrio batted .583/.722 on the season with a home run (grand slam on opening day). Natalia used her blazing speed to leg out 3 bunt singles and run down balls in the outfield earning her the nickname “Flash”.
Chloe Montanino went 3-0 on the mound, hurling 14 innings, giving up only 6 hits and striking out an eye popping 24 batters. Chloe had a .385 OBP with 10 runs, 11 RBI and 3 doubles.
Michelle Defina had a .500 OBP with 12 walks and 9 runs scored while playing stellar defense at 2B and in the OF. Michelle made a fantastic over the shoulder catch at 2b to end a rally in the championship series.
Brenna Cumming had a .333 OBP while improving throughout the year on defense in RF.
The coaching staff of John Forneiro, Carol and Mike Passantino, Chris Stampfli and John Heim could not be more proud of this group of girls. They played and practiced hard, executed in big spots and really pulled together as a unit throughout the year. Congrats to a special group of girls!!!!