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The Ocean County Softball Tournament begins Saturday with the first two rounds of the tournament played at the new Jackson Adventure Sports Complex.

The higher seed will host the semifinals, which are set to be played by April 29, and the championship game will return to the Jackson Complex on May 3 at 7 p.m.

Previously, early-round games were played at the higher-placed team’s home fields until the finals, which were moved to Toms River’s three high school sites.

There will be a $5 spectator fee for Saturday’s opening rounds with children 12 and under admitted free.

Jackson is seeded No. 1, while defending champion Toms River South is second. Last year, Toms River South defeated Southern 1-0 to win its first title since 1990.

Below is the schedule for the first day of the tournament.

Round 1 games– (9am start time)

No. 8 TRE v. No. 9 Lacey – Field A1; No. 5 Manchester vs No. 12 Jackson Liberty-Field A2; No. 7 Brick Memorial vs. No. 10 Toms River North – Field B1; No. 6 Pt. Pleasant Boro vs. No. 11 Barnegat- Field B2

Round 2 games– (start time 11 a.m.)

No. 1 Jackson v 8/9 Winner – Field A1; No. 4 South v 5/12 Winner- Field A2; No. 3 Central v 6/11 Winner- Field B2; #2 Toms River South vs. 7/10 Winner – Field B1.

Monmouth County to Semi-Finals: By the end of the weekend, the Monmouth County tournament bracket semifinals will be determined.

In the Red Division bracket, second-seeded Freehold Township advanced with a 5-0 win over Red Bank Catholic, while third-seeded Middletown North advanced after eight innings over Allentown, 1-0, to set up one semifinal. In the upper bracket, top-seeded St. John Vianney was scheduled to face Colts Neck on Friday, while fourth-seeded Wall and fifth-seeded Middletown South will square off on Saturday. The winners will meet in the semi-finals.

In the Blue Division bracket, ninth-seeded Marlboro advanced 10-3 over Ocean Township and 12th-seeded Howell beat Matawan 6-5 to secure one semifinal. In the other half of the bracket, 10th-seeded Manasquan – a 7-1 winner over Holmdel – will meet 11th-seeded Raritan, which beat Keansburg 15-1.

The semi-finals will be played on dates to be determined next week.

First for Michalak

Houston commit Rylee Michalak has accomplished a lot in her three years at Notre Dame, but she had a first this week – seven no-hit innings.

Michalak scored 11 and shutout Lenape for a 4-0 win. The right-hander had previously pitched four- and five-inning no-hitters as a freshman and sophomore.

Games you must see

No. 4 Immaculate Heart vs. No. 7 St. John Vianney Saturday at the Anthony Larezza Invitational at Immaculate Heart

St. John Vianney showed it is a state power again when it hammered Mount St. Dominic 11-1 earlier this season. It will be another test to see where the Lancers and their core of freshmen stand when they face another Top 10 team in the state and traditional non-public power.

Notre Dame vs. Notre Mount St. Dominic, Saturday at the Pride/Essex Challenge at Ivy Hill Park, 3

The Irish will try to beat the No. 4 team after also beating No. 10 Steinert and then-ranked Red Bank Catholic and Lenape in the first two weeks of the season. Notre Dame picked up its biggest win in several years in 2022 when it shockingly scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Mount St. Dominic 7-6.

No. 11 Thomas Aquinas at No. 15 Metuchen, Saturday, 11 a.m

A matchup between two ranked GMC-Red Division opponents, this one has big implications for the GMC and could provide a big clue as to who the frontrunners are as St. Thomas Aquinas looks for its fifth straight GMC title while Metuchen looks for its first win over Aquinas since 2014 Mr.

No. 1 Donovan Catholic vs. No. 8 Mount St. Dominic at the Anthony LaRezza Invitational at Immaculate Heart, 1

It’s a rematch of last year’s state Non-Public A final, won by Donovan Catholic, 2-0, behind Julia Apostolakos’ shutout and game-winning home run. Apostolakos and Mount St. Dominic ace Grace Perez should hook up again in another low-scoring thriller.

No. 17 Cranford at No. 4 IHA at Anthony LaRezza Invitational at Immaculate Heart, Sunday, 9am

The Cougars were one of the best teams in the state at keeping runs off the board, allowing just three in their first six games, including four straight shutouts, one against preseason No. 6 Watchung Hills, 2-0. Moreover, it is a game between two teams that strike the ball with incredible skill. Cranford’s Sophia DeMarco had 12 hits and 12 RBI thanks to a total of three home runs and five RBIs, while Katie Bendert and Emma Grace Paczkowski each had two home runs. IHA has its own hitting trio with Gabriella Shadek going for yards three times and Tali LoCurto and Sofia Valente with two long balls each.

Immaculata at North Hunterdon, Tuesday 4

Two undefeated Skyland Raritan Division opponents, the two split last year with North Hunterdon winning the first meeting 9-3 before Immaculata won the second 1-0, one of nine 1-run losses for North Hunterdon last year . Immaculata has given up just four runs all season in six games, while Carolyn Coliti has 58 K in 36 innings with a .58 ERA. The Spartans also have a reliable player on their hands in Molly Ferreira, whose four home runs are among the most in the state. North Hunterdon, meanwhile, now has four players in double figures, so offense isn’t an issue for the Lions. Throw in the performance of Skye Cooke in the circle and it should be a fantastic clash.

Colts Neck at No. 18 Middletown North Wednesday, 4

Those teams will play at home on Wednesday and Thursday, with the ranked Lions hosting first. Middletown North rallied Thursday, scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth to beat Marlboro, 4-3, for its fifth extra-inning victory. Colts Neck is 5-1 with the only loss coming to No. 1 Donovan Catholic. Sophomore Samantha Sponder has a 0.88 ERA for the Cougars.

No. 16 Hunterdon Central at No. 11 St. Thomas Aquinas, Wednesday, 4

The Red Devils were shut out by No. 5 Hillsborough 2-1 in a game that showed they certainly deserve to be taken seriously. It was the first loss of the year for the Red Devils, who also beat preseason No. 6 Watchung Hills and gave up just six runs this year. Emily Van Cleef has a .32 ERA in 33 innings and this offense is balanced, with producers all over the place. St. Thomas Aquinas’ only loss was to a top-ranked Morris Catholic team, 1-0. The Trojans have given up just three runs to date while striking out 50. Hayley Wieczerzak has 68 K’s in 31 innings and a .68 ERA, while Mary-Kate Murray and Melody Webb each have 11 RBI.

No. 10 Steinert at Robbinsville, Thursday, 4

It’s always a big deal when these two Mercer County and Colonial Valley Conference rivals get together, and this should be no different. This could also be a preview of the Mercer County Tournament semifinals.

Steinert is off to a 3-1 start with its only opening day loss, 3-2, to Notre Dame Notre Dame, while Robbinsville just suffered its first loss but showed its ability to compete with an elite team when it fell 3- 1 to No. 11 St. Thomas Aquinas.


  • 1. Donovan Catholic (7-0)
  • 2. Hillsborough (6-0)
  • 3. Notre Dame (6-0)
  • 4. St. John Vianney (7-0)
  • 5. Steinert (3-1)
  • 6. St. Thomas Aquinas (5-1)
  • 7. Metuchen (4-0)
  • 8. Hunterdon Central (6-1)
  • 9. Cranford (6-0)
  • 10. Middletown North (8-0)

Leaders in statistics for the season


He’s running


A home run

Extra-base hits

Stolen bases

Crossed out

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Jake Aferiat covers the Big North, GMC, HCIAL, NJAC, NJIC, SEC, Skyland and UCC. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Jake_Aferiat.

Bill Evans covers the BCSL, CAL, Colonial, Colonial Valley Conference, Olympic, Shore and Tri-County Conference. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @bybillevans.

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