#Northern #Burlington #softball #captures #Rancocas #Valley #Tournament #title #-
EASTAMPTON TWP. — Following a three-year absence that included a season lost to Covid, Northern Burlington is reemerging as a major player on the area high school softball scene.
This point was on display as NBC prevailed in three games to win the eight-team Rancocas Valley Elite Tournament, including a 13-8 triumph over Paul VI on Sunday in the championship game.
“Winning the tournament is nice, but it’s not as important as playing against good teams,” said Northern Burlington coach Brian Wolverton after his team improved to 7-1. “And we did play good teams here.”
The championship game was much different than NBCs first two games in the tourney that had resulted in a 2-1 victory over Kingsway in a 1-0 triumph over Cherokee behind the outstanding pitching of sophomore Mikayla Fontana.
The final was also the continuation of a game that started on Saturday and was stopped by lightning with NBC holding a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
While Fontana was clearly not as sharp as she had been in the first two games, it didn’t matter because NBC’s bats really came to life with six runs in the third inning and then four more in the sixth.
“You could see Mikayla was a little tired out there,” said Wolverton. “It was not just pitching in the three games. It was all the warming up (four times) as well.”
Northern Burlington ended up collecting 13 hits against three different Paul VI pitchers with home runs by Alyssa Marchetti and Fontana leading the way.
Marchetti’s blast was a grand slam in a fourth inning that came after singles by Abby Todd, Fontana and Abbey Valente as well as a double by Madelyn Szafran.
A hard-hitting freshman, Szafran had earlier had two of the biggest hits in the tournament with a pair of RBI singles against Kingsway.
Fontana’s home-run was a two-run shot in the sixth. Also in this inning, Kaci O’Dell got a run home with a pretty bunt single that actually drove in a runner from second and Todd lofted a sac fly.
The fact Northern Burlington was able to win two pitchers’ duels before capturing a slugfest is a positive because it showed it can win games in different ways.
What NBC also did is get contributions from players throughout its lineup. This included catcher Valente gunning down Paul VI’s speedy lead-off hitter Lisa St. Jean (three-run homer in the sixth) attempting to steal a base in the third.
“This just feels right,” said Wolverton. “The girls are starting to see all the hard work they have done is paying off.”
No. Burlington (7-1) 002 614 0 – 13 12 2
Paul VI (6-2) 000 223 1 – 8 12 2
WP-Fontana. LP-Nevius. 2B-Szafran (NC), Cunningham (P).
HR-Marchetti (NB), Fontana, St. Jean (P).
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