by Andrew Garda

The Montclair Kimberely Academy Cougars found ways to get runners in scoring position Thursday afternoon against Newark East Side but couldn't drive them in often enough. The result was a 5-2 loss in the Essex County Tournament for the 17-seed Cougars to the 20-seed Red Raiders.

Despite getting almost as many hits as East Side did (seven compared to the Red Raiders' eight), the Cougars always seemed one hit short of getting a rally together. Even when they did get a run, and seemed ready to break through, the offense would stall.

Save for the third inning, East Side had similar problems. They'd get a runner on and often make a mistake on the basepaths, getting tagged or forced out to stymie a rally.

Unfortunately for MKA, the Red Raiders did have that one inning where they were able to break through. A dropped outfield fly, a stolen base and a timely hit put them in the lead. While they only scored one more time in the sixth inning, it was enough to get the win.

For the Cougars, who are the middle of five-games-in-five-days portion of their schedule, they have to pick right back up and get ready to play again. They can build on the continued great fielding and hitting of freshman Amanda Mack, the timely triple from senior Jenn Donnatiello and the steady coaching of Jessica Sarfati.

That can turn things back around on Friday against Millburn (weather permitting) and get them ready for the New Jersey Prep Tournament next week.

For complete in-depth coverage of Thursday's game as well as the upcoming schedule, check out next week's Montclair Local.