Errichiello’s no-hitter powers No. 10 Roxbury to second consecutive North 1, Group 3 title


The electricity in the sky was not the only voltage in the atmosphere on Friday afternoon at Roxbury High School.

Trying to lead Roxbury to its second consecutive North 1, Group 3 sectional title, sophomore stud pitcher Hailey Errichiello was so focused on that singular task that she did not realize just how close she was achieving the ultimate individual pitching achievement — a perfect game.

Errichiello had retired the first 18 Morris Knolls batters in order before a thunderstorm hit that forced a 40-minute delay in the action. Leading 7-0, Errichiello came back for the top of the seventh inning and recorded outs on the first two Golden Eagles hitters. Trying to complete the perfect game in the rain, a slippery ball may have come into play as Errichiello walked would would have been the 21st out on four pitches.

“I didn’t think about it at all,” Errichiello said. “I actually didn’t even know until after the game when my coach told me I threw a no-hitter.”

“She’s just a different person,” Roxbury head coach Paul Critelli said. “Her concentration in the circle is just focused on pitching. She’s not worried about how many hits she’s given up or how many strikeouts she has. That’s about the comment I would expect from her that she had no idea because of the concentration that she has. She knows she needs to be like that.”

Still it was all smiles for Errichiello and second-seeded Roxbury, No. 10 in the Top 20, as the Gaels defeated ninth-seeded Morris Knolls, 7-0, to win back-to-back North 1, Group 3 titles and the fourth sectional title in program history with the other two coming in 1972 and 1992.

“It’s a great feeling,” catcher Kendall Fehsal said. “We all did great together. It was just so fun being out there and the rain was fun too. I think we do better when we know we have to play great.”

After leaving runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, Roxbury finally broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth inning in grand fashion when Fehsal drilled a solo home-run to center field. That opened the floodgates for the Gaels, as they added another run in the frame on a Natalie Otto sac-fly.

“I was just thinking I was going to swing,” Fehsal said. “I knew she kept going low and I felt like she was going to go outside, so I was ready.”

“This team is great,” Errichiello said. “They always have my back when we’re fielding. Kendall has been calling the pitches and has been doing an amazing job. We have all been working so well together and have good chemistry.”

One run would have been enough for Errichiello, who was on cruise control throughout the entirety of the game and finished with 10 strikeouts. Amazingly, it was her second no-hitter of the state tournament after she allowed a goose egg in the hit column against Parsippany Hills in the first round. Errichiello also completed the four-game sectional tournament without allowing a single run.

“I think getting that lead just makes it more relaxed and takes off a little of the pressure,” Errichiello said. “I definitely feel a little more confident this year. I know the team better too since I’ve been with them for so long”

Roxbury blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning as Fehsal hit another home run — this one the opposite way over the wall in right field — as the Gaels grabbed a 4-0 lead. Before the skies opened up, Lia Milsom made it a 5-0 game with a RBI double. Following the delay, Otto connected on a two-run single to center.

“I’m thrilled for the girls,” Critelli said. “When you win it when you’re not supposed to win it, that’s awesome but this year they knew the pressure was on with the amount of girls we had returning. With all that pressure it’s just a different feeling. It’s a relief, but for those girls to step up the way they did I’m just elated for them.”

A cinderella run ended one game short of the trophy for Morris Knolls, which recorded upsets of Top 20 teams in Ramapo and Montville to make it to the sectional title game.

Meanwhile, Roxbury will now go for the Group 3 state title beginning with hosting Nutley in the Group 3 semifinals. The Gaels lost that game last season to Cranford, 1-0.

“We went to Cranford last year, but this year we get to host,” Critelli said. “We get a very talented Nutley team coming in off their sectional championship. The only difference is that we get them at home, and I think that’s going to be a huge advantage for us.”

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