BY ANDREW GARDA
While most of the attention on fall sports turns to high school, especially soccer, football, field hockey and track, autumn will always be the domain of baseball and softball as well.
This fall, October softball was in full swing for the Montclair Baseball-Softball Club Under-10 and Under-12 softball teams, both of which captured Essex County championships this November.
Both teams finished the year strong, with the U10 team going undefeated as it captured its second U10 title in a row, having won last year during the COVID-19 schools shutdown.
This year the season didn’t have the shutdown looming over it, and without that distraction, the U10 team cruised to a perfect 11-0 season, capping it off with a 3-0 win over Pequannock.
The U10 squad won the game partly on the arm of Charley Arsenuk, who pitched a no-hitter with Katie Gallop behind the plate catching.
At the plate, Montclair was led by the bats of Delilah Levy (2 for 2 with 1 RBI), Jordan Puryear (2 for 2 with 2 RBI), Gallop (2 for 2) and Olivia Adubato (1 for 2).
Several of the girls, including Arsenuk, were with the team last fall when it beat Packanack 7-2 in the championship game.
While some members of the 2020 team stayed with the U10 squad, others aged out and landed with the U12 team.
As she did on the mound last year for the U10 team, Eliza Chiu once again stepped up for Montclair, which finished with a 4-3 win over Livingston. The team had Jennifer Bell at the helm, and she followed her 2020 championship with the U10 group with another at the U12 level.
While the 2021 season was not as restricted as the 2020 season, the Montclair Baseball-Softball Club continued to make sure that all COVID-19-related protocols were followed, and the organization ended the year not just victorious but with everyone healthy as well.
That the Montclair Baseball-Softball Club was able to build on last year’s success is a good sign for softball in town, and should make fans at the high school excited.
A good youth program is key to a good high school program, and if these girls continue to play the way they did this season, the Montclair High School Mounties will see some outstanding young players arriving on campus in a couple of years.