Montclair High School softball seeks more as spring hits the home stretch
The Montclair High School softball team has had a good season so far, but head coach Michael Goldstein knows there is more to them.
“I’m relatively happy with how we have played, but I think we have our best softball ahead of us," Goldstein said.
As of the end of last week, the Mounties were 12-4.
Goldstein pointed out that they are in good shape to secure all of their goals this season. The Mounties have won at least one Essex County Tournament game (16-7 over ninth-seeded Glen Ridge, May 4). The other goals are to win the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division and win a state playoff game.
Montclair was to face top-seeded and tournament prohibitive favorite Mount St. Dominic in the ECT quarterfinals last weekend, but rain ended that. The eighth-seeded Mounties were taking on Mount St. Dominic on Tuesday, May 7.
As of last week, the team was a couple games ahead of Caldwell in the Liberty Division race and appeared primed to get a state home game.
In addition, Goldstein was looking to beat an SEC American Division team but dropped both of its contests against teams in the conference’s top division, 11-6 to West Essex on April 29 and 10-0 to Livingston on May 5.
“I don’t think we played well in an A [American Division] game, but I think we are capable of doing it,” the coach said.
In the defeat to Livingston, the Mounties just could not touch pitcher Caitlin Mullen, one of the top pitchers in the SEC, as their batters struck out a dozen times and could only scrape up a Maya Gerdes base hit.
Montclair has been using two pitchers with mixed results. Both, junior Alana Flynn and sophomore Gerdes, also play other positions and are two of the Mounties’ best hitters.
“They have good outings and bad outings,” said Goldstein, who added that Flynn plays the outfield and Gerdes plays second base when they are not pitching. “They are just good softball players who never leave the field.”
The strengths so far this season for Montclair is hitting and defense.
For the Mounties to play well the rest of the way Goldstein is looking to clean up some of the defense and get key hits and consistent pitching.
The team has a very busy couple of weeks, with the start of the state playoffs next week. And the rest of this week, the Mounties have a game every day.
“I think this week will be a big week,” the coach said. “If we do well, I think the last week and a half we can have a lot of fun.”
Goldstein likes how his team came back twice in beating Glen Ridge after falling to the Ridgers, 14-11, on April 6. Along with the win over Glen Ridge in the ECT, the Mounties also defeated the Ridgers, 10-1, on April 25.
A state tourney win has been elusive for Montclair the last decade. The last state victory came in 2014, when the Mounties defeated Kearny.
Montclair softball schedule
(Games at 4 p.m. unless noted. Home games at Fortunato Field, 10 Essex Ave.)
May 12 at West Milford, 4:15 p.m.
May 13 Morris Hills
May 14 Paramus Catholic, 10 a.m.
May 16 West Orange
May 18 at Bloomfield
May 19 Teaneck, 9:30 a.m.
May 23 at Mount St. Mary Academy