UPDATED: Pope John falls to Mount, 10-0

SPARTA. The Lions are shut out by No. 1 ranked Mount St. Dominic in the North Jersey, Non-Public A championship game.

Sparta /
| 09 Jun 2024 | 08:29

It was an outstanding year for the Pope John XXIII Regional High School softball team.

After an eight-game winning streak, the Lions reached the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey, Non-Public A final for the first time since 2015.

The reward for a great playoff run was a matchup with the No. 1 ranked team in the state.

Pope John traveled to Caldwell to take on Mount St. Dominic on Tuesday afternoon, June 4. The Lions hung in for a couple of innings but saw their season come to an end, losing 10-0 in six innings.

It was a rough outing overall for Pope John, with sophomore Abbey Davis connecting for the only hit of the game.

Gianna Stern led the way for the Mount, going 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

The Mount had lost only one game all season and had a perfect 12-0 record in the American Division of the Super Essex Conference.

It went on to lose to No. 2 ranked St. John Vianney, 4-1, in the final round of the NJSIAA Group Tournament Non-Public A on Thursday, June 6. This was the second year in a row that St. John Vianney defeated the Mount to win the state title.

“They (the Mount) are a very good team. Their pitcher commanded the strike zone and we didn’t score a lot in the beginning of the game,” Pope John head coach Frank Canning said after the game June 4.

While this certainly is not the way the Lions (19-9) wanted to finish their season, the team did improve during the year.

“We started slow, but we came on strong. We matured a lot,” Canning said.

Pope John’s 19 wins were the most for the team since it went 21-9 in 2016.

As a young team with only one senior on the roster, it is expected to build on its success.

“We learned that we have to not get down on ourselves once we started to fall apart,” the coach said.