Kylie Gletow pitched a six-hitter and went 4-for-5 at the plate to lead Hunterdon Central, No. 8 in the NJ.com Top 20, to a 10-3 regular season victory over Ridge on Tuesday at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
The game was played at Diamond Nation’s turf facility because Ridge’s home field was too wet.
Hunterdon Central (20-1) had long ago clinched the Skyland Conference’s Delaware Division title but the victory dropped Ridge (16-7) into a share – with Montgomery – of the Raritan Division championship.
The Red Devils will be host to Montgomery on Thursday in an NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 semifinal. Ridge travels to North Hunterdon on Wednesday for a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 semifinal contest.
Gletow permitted three runs while striking out nine and walking three and was very much involved in the Red Devils’ 17-hit attack. Shortstop Gianna Colalillo’s sparkling diving play in the fourth inning highlighted Hunterdon Central’s strong defensive effort.
Hunterdon Central scored four runs in the second inning when it sent 10 batters to the plate and added three runs in the fourth to stake itself to an 8-0 lead.
It was Gletow who set the tone early, though, retiring the first six Ridge batters in order and delivering the first Hunterdon Central run with a one-out single to left field in the top of the first inning.
“I’m not over thinking it when I’m at the plate,” Gletow said, “I’m just looking to hit singles and not try to do too much.” Gletow singled home another run in the second inning and singled and scored in both the fourth and seventh innings.
While Gletow’s teammates provided another 13 hits to the cause, keeping the Ridge defense under constant attack, the senior righty bound for Monmouth University was getting it done on the mound.
“I love playing behind Kylie,” said Colalillo. “Not too many balls come off the bat hard and there are a lot of easy plays.” Colalillo handled three balls on the ground and one pop up but her play in the fourth inning will be hard to forget.
Gletow had allowed back-to-back singles to Sophia Berger and Allegra Decandia to start the bottom of the fourth, but induced a pop up before Allie Martine came to the plate. Martine hit a bouncer over second base that appeared bound for center field, but Colalillo made a diving stop behind the bag and tossed the ball from a prone position to second baseman Samantha DelHoyo for the force out.
“Kylie does a good job mixing it up, but I know what she is throwing so it’s easy to read the ball off the bat,” says Colalillo. “She hits her spots all the time.” Colalillo did get a good read on Martine’s would-be hit and she hit her spot perfectly.
“Gianna always has my back,” said Gletow.
Lauren Lusardi did extend the inning with a two-run double to right-center field to put Ridge on the board and shave the deficit to 8-2. Gletow, however, struck out the next batter on three pitches to stifle the rally.
Skylar Daniel, the No. 7 hitter, hit the ball hard every time up for Central, triggering the rally in the second with a leadoff single and doubling home a run in the fourth. The senior third baseman was coming off her biggest game of the season, a 3-for-4, two HR performance against Middletown South.
Hunterdon Central also received three hits and an RBI from the leadoff spot in its order.
Olivia Burd led off the game with an infield single and her replacement, Sarah DeStefano, delivered a fielder’s choice RBI in the second and singled in the third and fifth innings. DeStefano replaced Burd after the Red Devils’ center fielder injured her shoulder stealing second base in the first inning. Burd iced her left shoulder much of the game and appeared okay after sitting out the final six innings.
Gletow, whose control has been precise all season, issued a stunning seven walks in Hunterdon Central’s 11-7 victory over Middletown South on Monday in the sectional quarterfinals. Both teams complained of a tight strike zone in that game.
“That was not my game,” said Gletow. “I hadn’t pitched in a week and the zone was a little frustrating. But I had to figure it out and be in a better mental focus. I can’t worry about the umps. Pitching again today helped a lot.”
DelHoyo, the No. 2 hitter, had three singles and scored a run. Hunterdon Central’s catcher Kaitlin Redling went 2-for-5, scored a run and drove in two runs. First baseman Lea Kosinski was 2-for-4 with a walk and drove in a run.
Ridge’s shortstop Annabelle Hamilton went 2-for-3 with a walk and singled home a run in the seventh inning. Ridge turned a nifty double play in the fourth to get out of further trouble during a three-run outburst by Central. McKayla Yard bounced into a 6-3 ground out with runners on first and third. When Kosinski tried to score from third on the play, infrequent first baseman Mia Robb wheeled and fired home to get her by a step.
Robb, Ridge’s ace, was given the day off having pitched a grinding 9-8, 8-inning victory over Phillipsburg in the sectional tournament on Monday and with the sectional semifinal against North Hunterdon on deck Wednesday.