High School Softball (Group 4 Finals):
Saturday, June 6, 1998
By Crystal Parker
This game featured the Clifton Mustangs who had not been defeated over the past two seasons. Most people predicted a Clifton versus Toms River North championship game. But the Chiefs had something to say about that. Cherokee got past Toms River and a very good Hunterdon Central team to get to the finals. But they just could not get that last victory to claim the title. The Mustangs would bat around plus one in the fourth inning to pull ahead 6-0 and shutout the Chiefs 8-0 at Toms River North High School. With the victory, the Mustangs would add one more win to their 63 consecutive win streak.
Through the first 3 innings, it would seem as if this would be an extra inning game. Both starting pitchers would not walk a single batter and were in control of their game. The Chiefs would get a threat going in the first inning when Samantha Sweeney reached first base on an error, then stole second base. She would not touch home plate in that inning and be stranded on base. Clifton would put together three straight singles to plate the first run of the game. Starting pitcher Laura Tynio would get the first RBI of the game on that third single.
The Mustangs would take advantage of Cherokee's mistakes and score six runs in the fourth inning. Two more runs will be scored in the fifth inning when Amanda Bongiorno and Jen Carlo led off the inning each with a single and score the final runs of the game.
Cherokee would be without their regular shortstop Kelly Rose who was out with an injured leg. She still could be heard loudly from the bench giving her teammates support from her wheelchair. The Chiefs would do very well just getting to this game when no one thought they would make it far in the playoffs.
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