Eastern's bid to repeat as the South Jersey Group 4 softball champion ended Tuesday, when No. 4 seed Absegami scratched out a pair of runs and relied on the right arm of junior Kelly Lupton to upset the top-seeded Vikings, 2-0.
The Braves went to work immediately in the semifinal, when junior catcher Melissa McCann singled, stole second, and raced home on sophomore first baseman Becca Maguire's base hit in the first inning.
Absegami tacked on an insurance run in the fifth, with McCann drawing a walk, moving up a base on Lupton's single, and scoring on another hit by Maguire.
Lupton limited the Vikings to two hits and two walks while striking out 11.
South Jersey Group 1. Having won the group championship every other season since 2001, it would appear Gloucester is primed to keep its streak alive after the fifth-seeded Lions banged out 14 hits in slamming No. 9 seed Schalick, 13-1.
Brittany Dolson led the onslaught with three hits, two runs, and three RBIs, and Meghan Ryan went 2 for 3, knocked in a run, and scored three times as Gloucester ran out to a 13-0 lead in the second inning. The offensive support made it easy for Sam Bryszewski to raise her record to 11-2.
Megan Zeigler ripped a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning, and Jordan Baker (3 for 3, two RBIs) supplied a game-ending catch in the outfield with two runners on base, allowing No. 10 seed Penns Grove to outlast third-seeded Pennsville, 6-5.
Gloucester will host Penns Grove in Friday's championship game at 4 p.m.
South Jersey Group 3. Jayme Zeilman's two-hit shutout and Chelsi Biener's RBI squeeze bunt helped ensure two-time defending group champion Delsea's return trip to the title game, as the fifth-seeded Crusaders slipped past No. 9 seed GCIT, 3-0.
Shilah Snead had two hits, scored one run, and drove in one for Delsea, which managed just four hits and one earned run off losing pitcher Erynn Sobieski.
Kara Grogan's sacrifice fly brought home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth, and reliever Kelsey Dominik came on to shut the door, cementing second-seeded Kingsway's 5-3 victory over No. 11 seed Cumberland.
The Dragons will host Delsea in Friday's championship at 4 p.m.
South Jersey Group 2. Kylie McGoldrick hit her sixth home run of the season - a two-run shot in the second inning - and Kate Biasi also had two RBIs, sending top-seeded Sterling to a 5-0 victory over defending group champion Overbrook.
Sarah Almasy yielded six hits but was able to keep the fifth-seeded Rams off the scoreboard. It was the third meeting of the season between the Colonial Conference rivals, and the Silver Knights came out on top each time.
Sophomore shortstop Janessa Rios tripled down the third base line with two runners aboard to ignite a three-run fifth inning, and second-seeded Buena survived a late rally to defeat No. 3 seed Haddon Heights, 3-1.
Brittany Scott lost her shutout bid in the seventh, but kept the Garnets off balance while striking out seven.
Buena will visit Sterling for the championship on Friday at 2 p.m.
Central Jersey Group 1. New Egypt's quest for a third consecutive sectional title remained on track, as the second-seeded Warriors dominated No. 11 seed Keyport, 10-1.
Kayla Soles (3 for 3, two runs, five RBIs) hit a pair of two-run doubles along with a run-scoring triple, and Morgan Knigge batted 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Winning pitcher Emily Bausher struck out 15, limited the Red Raiders to two hits and no walks, and didn't allow a run after the first inning.
Sophomore third baseman Dina Bruno picked up two of her three RBIs in the first inning, and Sydney Woreck made the early lead stand up in pitching top-seeded Florence past No. 4 seed Bound Brook, 4-2.
Florence will host New Egypt for Thursday's title clash at 4 p.m.
Central Jersey Group 4. Gabby Pfeiffer came on to pitch three shutout innings to pick up the win, and Laura Malinoski came through with a double and a home run to fuel a late charge that lifted No. 3 seed Rancocas Valley to a 5-2 win at second-seeded Hillsborough.
South Jersey Non-Public A. Justine Reed tripled in a run in the third inning, went 2 for 4, and scored three times, and Tori Juliano belted a two-run homer in the sixth to supply more than enough offense for fourth-seeded Camden Catholic in a 5-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 5 seed Bishop Eustace.
Laura Messina fanned a dozen batters and shut down the Crusaders on three singles.
The Irish will head to top-seeded St. John Vianney for Thursday's semifinal at 3:45 p.m.
South Jersey Non-Public B. Liz Puentes tossed a three-hit shutout and teamed with fellow senior Ashley Romeo in sparking a two-run, fifth-inning rally that started No. 7 seed St. Joseph on its way to a 7-0 quarterfinal victory at second-seeded Mater Dei.
The Wildcats broke the game open with five runs in the seventh, highlighted by freshman Emily DeMarco's bases-loaded double.
Puentes and Romeo combined for four hits and two RBIs, while Gina Smith, Shaunna Como and Lexi Otto each drove in a run.
Contact Pete Schnatz at email@example.com.