Manalapan, high school softball, NJ Softball

Manalapan Braves Defeat Marlboro Mustangs

The Manalapan Braves varsity softball team defeated the Marlboro Mustangs 9-4 on a windy Wednesday afternoon in Marlboro.

The Braves took to small ball, executing bunts and infield grounders to take a win from Marlboro after losing to them at home on Tuesday 8-2.

“We were a little bit more patient at the plate today. It looked like they were trying to nibble at corners, and we worked some hitters counts and put some really good swings on some really good pitches,” Manalapan head coach Bill Smith told Jersey Sporting News in a post-game interview.

Marlboro got the scoring started early after a pair of RBI singles by Skyla Campisi and Adison Ditillo in the bottom of the first. Manalapan cut the lead in half in the top of the second when Adrianna Powell scored.

The Mustangs tacked on another run in the home second after a wild pitch plated Madeline DiStefano, making it a 3-1 game.

The Braves put together a strong third inning, batting through the entire lineup and scoring three runs to take the lead. After back-to-back singles by Mary Kovaleski and Sophie Sklar, Gabriela Herbert recorded an RBI. With the bases loaded and no outs, Adrianna Powell ripped an RBI single to center field to tie the game at three runs apiece. Jackie Gugliara added another run after hitting an RBI single to put Manalapan up for good.

Braves pitcher Mikayla Rapaport gave the team an insurance run after hitting an RBI single to right field in the fourth.

In the fifth, Gugliara hit a ground-rule double and Jenna O’Keefe hit a bunt single to advance Gugliara to third.

“We practice bunting. We practice all small ball—bunt defense and stuff like that—pretty much every day. But today we were in a situation where we could. In some games in the past, we’ve been down pretty big, and we don’t really have the opportunity to do those things. You’re not going to bunt when you’re down seven runs. We had the opportunity today and the girls executed to perfection,” Smith said.

Marlboro head coach Nick Scalzo took starting pitcher Ashley Fhima out of the game for Stephanie Ciravolo who struck out Brianna O’Keefe then walked Kovaleski to load the bases. Ciravolo walked the next batter, Sklar, which brought home Gugliara.

The Mustangs stayed in the game though. Ally Hochstadter hit a double to right field and scored on a fly out by Campisi, making it a 6-4 game after five innings.

Manalapan broke the game open in the sixth, scoring three more runs off an RBI single by Gugliara, a fly out RBI by O’Keefe, and a bases loaded walk by Herbert.

“Today the girls showed the potential they have,” Smith said. “This is what I’ve been preaching to them, and I think they’re starting to believe. They have this capability in them and I’m glad they showed it today.”

Up Next For Manalapan Baseball

Manalapan look to keep the bats hot at home against Middletown North on Thursday while Marlboro take on Howell.