On April 27, PHS athletic history was made.
For the first time in the program’s existence, the PHS softball team defeated West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South. The final score was 9–7, and the game was decided in nine innings: three more than the normal six for high school softball.
The game forced the team to make a come back from a large deficit, when the Tigers trailed the Pirates 5–0 at the end of the first three innings. However, a seven-run fifth inning gave PHS a two-run lead and the momentum to win, but South battled back with two game-saving runs in the bottom of the sixth and final inning to tie the game and send it to extras.For the first two extra innings, both teams played error-free defensive softball and the score did not change. The rivals were deadlocked at 7–7 until PHS rallied at the top of the ninth inning and scored two runs. The game had a dramatic ending as the Tigers executed a double play in the bottom of the ninth to win.
“It was a really big win,” said Co-Head Coach Marissa Soprano. “It was a great [confidence] booster for the girls to keep them motivated.”
Soprano recalled the pivotal moments during the game and highlighted the turning point that sparked the team to come back from five runs down in the fifth inning. “Coach Boehm and I were very excited because the girls rallied themselves. Captain Emily DiLella [’16] was able to pull them aside and talk to them about coming back. After that, we had a really big inning against their pitcher. Everyone in the lineup hit and we were able to come back.”
“We were … playing like we were losing by a lot,” DiLella said. “I told my teammates, ‘Get your heads in the game, we’re still here.’ That was when we started to come back.”
While providing leadership in the dugout, the team’s upperclassmen also had performances on the diamond that helped the team pick up the win.. Natalie Campisi ’16 had two runs batted in and batted .600 in the victory, while Nancy Gray ’17 had two runners batted in off of a two-run double in the fifth inning. On the defensive, pitcher Kayla Volante ’17 had seven strikeouts and allowed nine hits over the nine innings of play.
Aside from being a milestone for the softball program, the win has proved to be a catalyst in the team’s season. Two days after beating South, the team defeated Trenton with a 22–3 win, the team’s largest margin of victory all season. Despite South tying the season series at one apiece with a 12–2 win on April 30, the Tigers pounced on their second win versus the Pirates days later in the Mercer County Tournament with a 6–0 shut down.
With the season winding down, the girls know that the win will serve as a lasting memory and a highlight of the campaign. “Beating South two out of three times was a huge confidence boost to PHS softball,” DiLella said. “We have a lot of seniors leaving this year, so this was an awesome way to leave our legacy. It will be wonderful to graduate with this memory.”