TOMS RIVER, N.J – A heart-warming thing happened as photographers were about to take pictures of the Gloucester Catholic girls' softball team and the state Non-Public B trophy they'd just won Saturday at Toms River North.
The Gloucester Catholic boys' baseball team joined them with their own Non-Public B trophy.
The girls last won the crown in 2003; the boys won it in 2007.
"That's tremendous for Gloucester Catholic to have the boys and the girls win at the same time, and be on the field together taking a picture," girls' coach Joe Matranga said. "How many times has that happened?"
The Gloucester Catholic girls beat Immaculate Conception of Lodi, 11-1, in the state Non-Public B softball championship game the way they've won all year. Batters one-through-nine hit the ball and senior pitcher Nicole Hagerty did her part to keep the opposition off the base paths.
Immaculate Conception of Lodi (25-5) registered its lone run in the bottom of the sixth when Melanie Quintinilla singled to center scoring Jorrdin Miller.
Hagerty gave up six hits, struck out seven and walked one en route to a lopsided victory that started to take shape in the fifth inning, when the Rams (23-6) exploded for four runs to take a 7-0 lead.
Blue Wolves pitcher Kelly Hage entered the game with a 19-3 record, but as the game progressed, the Rams made it look as though those numbers were reversed. Hage gave up 10 hits, walked seven and struck out three.
"It's definitely great to bring two [championships] back to Gloucester Catholic," Hagerty said. "This is awesome; it really hasn't hit me yet."
Senior third baseman Christina Matranga put Gloucester Catholic on the board in the second inning with an RBI single that scored junior first baseman Olivia Lawrence and gave the Rams a 1-0 lead.
"It was very important (to score first) so that we could get it going," Matranga said.
In the fourth, Hagerty hit a home run to help her cause, a blast that cleared the centerfield fence and upped the count to 3-0.
When the Rams erupted in the fifth, Hagerty, freshman centerfielder Carly Todd, senior catcher Colleen O'Donnell, andMatranga each scored.
Gloucester Catholic leadoff batter Shayla Giosia went 3 for 4, drilling two triples and a single and scoring a run in the third inning to give the Rams a 2-0 lead.
"This is great because we've come close to it each year since I was a freshman," Giosia, a junior, said about winning the title. "We couldn't pull it out but this year we did."
Matranga's father, coach Joe Matranga, said his team jelled at the right time.
"The last four games we told them in the beginning of the playoffs that it was the start of the season," Matranga said. "And they did it, four and 0."
Gloucester Catholic 011 143 1 - 11 10 1
Immaculate-Lodi 000 001 0 - 1 6 2
WP: Nicole Hagerty. LP: Kelly Hage.
3B: GC - Shayla Giosa (2). HR - GC Hagerty
Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi at 856-779-3826 or email@example.com