It was one of the most drama-filled games in South Jersey history, a back-and-forth nail-biter in a championship setting that was finally settled in walk-off fashion.
Egg Harbor Township defeated Eastern, 7-6, in 13 innings during an early-June classic to determine the South Jersey Group 4 softball champion.
Ella Glenn’s RBI single gave the Eagles the championship.
This game will be talked about for quite some time, especially since Egg Harbor Township and Eastern figure to be among the top teams this year in South Jersey.
Of course, there will be no easy path to a sectional title as most of the races look competitive. In fact, Eastern opened this season with a 4-3 loss to Camden Catholic in the Camden County Tournament.
Still, remember last year, Eastern got off to a 2-2 start before reeling off 23 wins in a row, so the Vikings shouldn’t be discounted.
Before getting into this season, one quick recap of a championship game last year that people are still talking about and will be for quite some time.
That’s because there were so many twists and turns.
Eastern took a 1-0 lead, but EHT went ahead with two runs in the bottom of the third. The Vikings then tied the score in the top of the fourth and then nobody scored for six-and-half innings.
Eastern scored one in the top of the 11th only to be matched by EHT in the bottom of the inning. The same thing happened in the 12th inning with each team scoring once.
Then Eastern seemed to take control with two runs in the top of the 13th for a 6-4 lead, but EHT came back with three in the bottom of the inning, capped by the big hit by Glenn, who is now a senior and one of the key members of the team.
Will the teams meet again?
It’s possible but South Jersey Group 4 is extremely deep.
In looking at the NJ.com preseason Top 20 in the state, EHT was the highest ranked South Jersey team at No. 10, followed by No. 13 Washington Township and No. 14 Eastern. All will compete in Group 4.
(One other South Jersey team, Group 3 Cumberland, was No. 18 in the preseason poll).
What is interesting is that both pictures who figured in the decision for that Group 4 final are back to lead their respective teams. That would be Tori Szrom of EHT and Rachel Waro of Eastern.
And even more than baseball, pitching in softball is the key to virtually any team’s success. One other big wrinkle is that this year there will be a Tournament of Champions in softball consisting of all six state champions competing for one crown.
After advancing to the state Group 4 final last year, EHT will look to take the next step but the Eagles will find plenty of challengers looking to dethrone them as South Jersey Group 4 champions.
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