HAMMONTON -- The St. Joseph High School softball team beat Wildwood Catholic 20-2 in four innings on May 13, so it probably didn't figure that their rematch Tuesday in the South Jersey Non-Public B quarterfinals would be an extra-inning thriller.

But it was.

St. Joseph had to rally to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the host Wildcats added a run in the eighth to win 5-4.

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Mikaela Power scored the winning run from second base on a throwing error to first base with two outs in the eighth.

Top-seeded St. Joe, which has no seniors on the team, will host the winner of today's game between fifth-seeded Gill St. Bernard's and No. 4 Wardlaw-Hartridge at 4 p.m. Friday in a semifinal.

Coach Candi Dean of St. Joseph said the Wildcats didn't take Wildwood Catholic lightly. The lopsided win on May 13 didn't come against Wildwood Catholic ace Jackie DeLong.

"We thought it would be a battle," Dean said of the rematch. "We thought they'd do what they did - bunt, slap, anything they could do to get on base. We thought they'd hope for miscues, and they got a couple. Then their girls got the bat on the ball and they got a couple nice hits."

St. Joseph, the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference champion, improved to 18-4. Wildwood Catholic, the ninth seed, is 13-10.

St. Joseph, the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference champion, improved to 18-4. Wildwood Catholic, the ninth seed, is 13-10.

Power, the Wildcats’ third baseman, walked in the eighth, went to second on Emily DeMarco’s sacrifice bunt, and scored the winning run with two outs when Taylor Sirolli’s grounder was thrown low to first.

“Everyone said they knew Wildwood Catholic would be tough,” said Sirolli, a 15-year-old freshman from Winslow Township. “It’s a big relief to win.”

St. Joseph sophomore pitcher Dominique D’Andrea gave five hits in eight innings, striking out 12 and walking three. D’Andrea also tripled in two runs in the first inning. D’Andrea scored to make it 3-0 on DeMarco’s squeeze bunt, and it looked as if the Wildcats would again win in a breeze.

D’Andrea has had back problems but said felt no pain during the game, which was played in light rain.

“I didn’t know if I could pitch because I was in constant pain after our last game,” said D’Andrea, 16, of the Waterford Works section of Winslow Township. “I went to the doctor today and the chiropractor made some adjustments. I felt awesome.”

The Wildcats might have scored again in the third inning, but Wildwood Catholic center fielder Becky Andress ran back and caught Power’s fly ball at the fence. Andress held on as she fell backwards through the portable fence, which collapsed. Center field had a small bleacher section right behind the downed fence, and the fans applauded her effort.

“I was totally shocked,” said Andress, a 16-year-old sophomore from Dennis Township. “I couldn’t believe what happened.”

DeLong gave up no more runs until the seventh. She allowed six hits, with eight strikeouts and two walks.

The Crusaders got back into the game. In the third inning, Gia Tammaro scored from third base as Andress stole second and drew the throw. Wildwood Catholic cut the lead to 3-2 when Meg Sharkey singled in Andress.

The Crusaders were ecstatic as they took the lead in the top of the seventh on a rally that began with two outs. Victoria Kanya reached on an infield single, and Tammaro tripled her in to tie it. Andress then hit a bloop single behind third and Wildwood Catholic led 4-3.

St. Joseph sent it into extras innings with a run in the seventh. Cara Owsley singled, and Kat Bromiley, the pinch runner, stole second. DeLong recorded her second strikeout of the inning, but Carly Testa (two hits) hit an RBI single to short right field and it was 4-4.

Wildwood Catholic coach Loretta Kelly disputed a first-inning call on a play at the plate that made it 2-0 St. Joseph. Kelly said the St. Joe runner missed home plate and then was tagged out by catcher Jenna Long.

“We should have won,” Kelly said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my team. It’s the best we’ve played this year.”

Contact Guy Gargan:


Wildwood Catholic 001 001 20-4 5 0

St. Joseph 300 000 11-5 5 3

2B-Testa SJ. 3B-Tammaro WC. D'Andrea SJ.

WP-D'Andrea 12k. LP-DeLong 8k.

Records-W.C. 13-10; S.J. 18-4.


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