Middletown softball pulls off thrilling victory in state tourney

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Middletown South High School's Brooke Coneeny (3) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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Middletown South High School's Jen Kennedy (18) swings to make contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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Middletown South High School's Jen Kennedy (18) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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Middletown South High School's Renee Lioudakis (29) swings to make contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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Middletown South High School's Emily Salvadore (15) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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Middletown South High School's Sophie Wilson (19) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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Middletown South High School's Brooke Coneeny (3) swings to make contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
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  1 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Brooke Coneeny (3) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
  2 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Jen Kennedy (18) swings to make contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
  3 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Jen Kennedy (18) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
  4 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Renee Lioudakis (29) swings to make contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
  5 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Emily Salvadore (15) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
  6 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Sophie Wilson (19) swings and makes contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL
  7 / 7 
Middletown South High School's Brooke Coneeny (3) swings to make contact during an away game against Freehold Township High School on May 23. Middletown South went on to win the game 9-8.BRETT CARROL

Brett Carroll
Staff Writer

No matter how far the  softball team at Middletown High School South advances in the state tournament, the Eagles will long remember one game.

That game occurred in the quarterfinal round of the Central Jersey, Group 4 state sectional tournament on May 23 in Freehold Township.

Middletown South rallied in the seventh inning and then struck big in the 10th inning and eventually pulled out a 9-8 victory over Freehold Township High School.

First, Middletown South rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the top of the seventh to open a 6-4 lead. But Freehold Township roared back and tied the game at 6-6 to bringon an eighth inning.

After two scoreless extra innings, the game went to the international tie breaker in the 10th inning. That rule allows each team to start the inning with a runner on second.

Middletown South cashed in and struck for three runs to grab 9-6 lead. Freehold Township scored twice but fell short  in its 10th inning at-bats.

Junior center fielder Aleeah Randazzo  was one of the stars for the Eagles in this exciting affair when she robbed a potential homer buy Freehold Township in the eighth inning.

Randazzo,  junior catcher Brooke Coneeny and junior pitcher Sophie Wilson expressed their excitement following the marathon game

“We were under a lot of pressure,” Randazzo said. “I think that we were overly excited for this game. I think we all just communicated as a team. We all put our heart in it, and pulled it out.

“Just came down to who wanted it more in the end,” Coneeny said. “Today, it was us.”

“We definitely had games like this in the season,” Wilson said. “Playing [Middletown High School] North and stuff like that, we’ve been in this atmosphere before. So, we knew that we could come together as a family and get through this and that’s what we did.”

Middletown South coach Lisa Smith was proud of her team’s fight.

“We rely heavily on our offense,” Smith said. “When our offense hits, it’s contagious and out kids do really well. Our pitchers threw, I think, a fantastic game against a tough Freehold team. They have kids that can put it out, and really put a threat against us. But, our kids handled it well. They have some big bats, and hit it out of the park three times. I mean, they’re a good team. I just loved the way our girls fought. We came from behind.”

The Eagles do know that there are areas that they must improve on.

“When you have success in the international tie breaker, you just want to build on that and keep building the team’s confidence,” Smith said. “I hope we can do that going forward.”

“Just stringing those hits together when we have bases loaded,” Randazzo said. “We got to get those runners in early.”

“Tightening up defense,” Wilson said. “Working together in the field to make plays. Keeping runners off bases.”