Public School Softball State Tournament Preview

by Marc Narducci | May 13, 2024
Public School Softball State Tournament Preview
The state tournament for the NJSIAA softball tournament is right around the corner. First-round public school games begin on May 22. 

With the cutoff date on May 18, the seeds aren’t official yet, but here is a look at the four public school sections in South Jersey.

 

South Jersey Group 1
}Defending champion: Clayton.
Outlook: Clayton is the three-time defending sectional champion, but was hit hard by graduation and isn’t expected to contend. Audubon, which lost to Clayton, 3-2 in last year’s sectional final, began the week as the top seed according to the NJSIAA power points, via NJ.com.  Senior Emily Bobo began the week with a 1.03 ERA, (NJ.com stats) while sophomore Alaina Copsetta had a 1.57 ERA. This is the kind of pitching tandem that can lead a team deep into the postseason. Buena is currently No. 2 and will be dangerous, but a team to watch is No. 3 Pennsville, which owns convincing wins over current No. 4 seed Woodstown and No. 6 seed Pitman.

 

South Jersey Group 2

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Defending champion: Haddon Heights
Outlook:  Haddon Heights is the two-time defending state champion, in addition to winning the final Tournament of Champions title in 2022 before the NJSIAA eliminated the event. The Garnets began the week No. 4 in the SJ Group 2 power points. They have South Jersey’s top pitcher, junior Sophia Bordi, but she has only pitched 10 1/3 innings this year due to an elbow injury. Coach Michelle Hastings told NJ.com, she is hopeful that Bordi, an Oklahoma commit, could return for the state tournament. Heights senior lefthander Gracie Granate, with a 1.78 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 79 innings, has enjoyed a great year for the Garnets. Either pitcher is good enough to lead Heights deep into the postseason, but the offense has been inconsistent. Bordi (.541, 4 HR, 24 RBI) to begin the week, Granate (.400), senior first baseman Cameron Kahout (.333) and junior outfielder Hannah Butler (.302) are the offensive leaders. Cinnaminson, which lost to Haddon Heights, 1-0 in last year’s sectional final, began the week as the top seed and will be a major threat, as will No. 2 seeded Gloucester (which beat Haddon Heights, 1-0 on April 9) and No. 3 Middle Township.

 

South Jersey Group 3
Defending champion: Shawnee
Outlook: Ocean City is the current top seed and should seriously contend, but a team to watch is No. 2 Moorestown, which lost to Shawnee, 5-0 in last year’s sectional final. Moorestown competes in the Olympic Conference and the tough schedule that conference provides, should help the Quakers in the postseason. Watch out for No. 4 seeded Delsea, which has split two games with current No. 2 seed Triton, winning the most recent meeting, 14-4.

 

South Jersey Group 4
Defending champion: Kingsway
Outlook: It would not be surprising if current top seed Kingsway and No. 2 Vineland meet in the championship.  Kingsway entered the week 19-2 and the losses were to Non-Public A contenders Notre Dame and Donovan Catholic. Vineland won 17 of its first 18 games, with the one loss a 4-3 defeat to defending Non-Public B champion St. Joseph Hammonton. It must be noted that Vineland recently won the rematch with last week’s 4-2 victory over the Wildcats. A dark horse could be No. 9 Cherokee, which has been up and down, but has recent wins over fifth seeded Eastern and No. 8 seeded Lenape and entered the week with a four-game winning streak.

Phoyo: Haddon Heights Jr. Sophia Bordi / Marc Narducci


Author: Marc Narducci

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