MATAWAN – There has been no slowing down the Matawan Regional High School softball team to begin the 2021 season.
Under first-year coach Jess O’Brien, Matawan scored 68 runs in its first six games en route to a 6-0 start.
“They came out hard from the first day of practice and are excited to play,” O’Brien said about her players. “They are such a talented group and they are so fun to coach.”
After losing the 2020 season to the coronavirus pandemic, O’Brien said her players came ready to work when practices for the 2021 season began on April 1.
“They work hard and they want to have hard practices. Our bonding experience was me pushing them to be the best they can be,” the coach said.
Junior first baseman Chloe Montalvo leads the Huskies with 11 hits (five doubles) through six games.
Losing her sophomore season did not stop Montalvo from training hard to make an impact in 2021.
In addition to playing with a travel team, Montalvo dedicated her time to completing virtual workouts Matawan had in the off-season and hitting off a tee to be ready to go this spring.
“It definitely feels good to be back after losing out on last year,” Montalvo said. “We have a good group this year and we all gel really well together. It’s been great.”
Montalvo is second on the team with seven RBI through six games.
Junior Kaysey Antos and senior Michaela DeGeorge have each driven in eight runs.
Antos drove in six runs during Matawan’s 31-0 victory over Red Bank Regional on April 30 in Little Silver.
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) April 30, 2021
“Our bats are always alive,” Antos said after the victory against Red Bank Regional. “Our pitching is very good and we have a great defense, too.”
DeGeorge, who had a banner 2019 season with 23 hits, nine RBI and 18 runs scored, is happy the Huskies have come back with a “strong squad” after missing out on the 2020 campaign.
The senior second baseman said it has been fun being back on the diamond with her teammates and said she is enjoying playing her last year of softball.
“I’m glad we came back with a strong squad and that we are scoring a lot of runs,” DeGeorge said. “Everyone gets along. We all just want to win as a team.”
Senior Alissa Eimont was Matawan’s top hitter in 2019 with 34 hits. She scored a team-high 18 runs scored and stole 16 bases.
Batting third this season, Eimont had seven hits and four RBIs through six games. Four of her hits have gone for extra bases, including Matawan’s first home run in the win over Red Bank Regional.
The biggest impact Eimont has made this season has been in the pitching circle. She is 5-0 with 67 strikeouts through 32 innings pitched and she has only allowed two runs.
With a 6-2 victory over Middletown South on May 1, Matawan has outscored its opponents 68-7 to start the season.
The hot start has fueled the drive the Huskies have had since practices began to be one of the top teams in the Shore Conference and to make a run at a state championship.
That first step will come while competing for the Shore Conference B North Division crown against teams like Saint John Vianney, Middletown North and Colts Neck, which is 5-0 and has defeated St. John Vianney.
O’Brien knows her players are excited to play the top teams and believes those challenges with help the Huskies in their pursuit of winning a state title.
“Those games are going to be challenges for us and I think our girls are going to be up for it and focused on trying to beat those teams,” the coach said.
Matawan is scheduled to host Red Bank Regional on May 4 and to play St. John Vianney on May 6.