Howell Rebels cap 2022 softball campaign with tournament title


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The Howell High School softball team ended its 2022 campaign by winning the Monmouth County Tournament Blue Division championship game on May 24 in Howell.

Led by senior Alexa Colon at bat and in the pitching circle, the Rebels (8-14) defeated Freehold High School, 8-1, to cap the season on a winning note. The Colonials came into the championship game having won 13 games this spring.

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“It feels great,” Colon said after the game. “I’m so happy we ended the season on a great note.”

The Monmouth County Tournament has two brackets and crowns two champions. The top eight teams based on record and past performance compete for the Red Division title, while the remaining eight teams compete for the Blue Division title.

Middletown South and Freehold Township are scheduled to play for the Red Division championship on May 31.

Howell Coach Katelyn Kuzma was pleased to see the Rebels play well and win the Blue Division championship game.

“It feels really good. It was awesome to see the girls come out with a positive attitude and believing we could win. It was great to send our seniors out with a nice championship,” she said.

In her final start, Colon pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts, allowing one run, three hits, four walks and a hit batter to claim her fifth win of the season.

“My screwball was working and I kept mixing up a lot of my off-speed pitches,” Colon said.

The Blue Division championship game was scoreless in the fourth inning when freshman Keira Murphy became the first Howell player to reach base when the Colonials committed an error. Colon hit a single to drive in Murphy for a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Fran Cinelli drove in a run with a two-out single to make it 2-0.

In the fifth inning, the Rebels added three runs on two errors to push the lead to 5-0.

In the sixth inning, three errors by the Colonials helped the Rebels score three runs and push the lead to 8-0.

“The biggest thing (for us) was putting the ball in play and hitting the ball hard and making (Freehold) make the mistakes. We hit the ball very well and were able to score a lot of runs,” Kuzma said.

Senior Haley Abatemarco and junior Marcella Riello each contributed an RBI in the victory, while Murphy reached base three times and scored two runs.

Colon finished with two RBIs, the second coming when she walked with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

It was a “bittersweet” feeling for Colon following the game. Her time with the Rebels was over, but Colon was pleased she was able to help her team win a championship and celebrate on Howell’s home field.

“It’s definitely something to be proud of. It’s a good way to end,” she said.

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