Softball advances through Mercer County Tournament despite early losses

Kelli Swedish ’16 scores the team’s only run against Steinert High School at the John Witherspoon softball field on May 15. Princeton lost 1–3. Photo: Caroline Smith

Kelli Swedish ’16 scores the team’s only run against Steinert High School at the John Witherspoon softball field on May 15. Princeton lost 1–3.
Photo: Caroline Smith

For most of its season, the girls softball team was not content with its performance.

“We make a lot of errors, so all of our hard work doesn’t show through,” said Co-Captain Kelli Swedish ’16, who plays third base and outfield. Common errors that the team made were letting ground balls escape through girls’ legs and making bad throws that let other runners on base.

An exception to this trend was the girls’ work against West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, whom the girls beat 83 in the first round of the Mercer County Tournament on May 9.

“We had a lot of confidence in ourselves [for that game],” Swedish said. “We proved throughout the season that we can really play, but [during] that game it all came together. We didn’t make a lot of errors and everyone just started hitting at the same time.” In fact, the girls made only one error, an improvement from their last six-error game against North.

North had already beaten Princeton twice during the two league games in which the girls had two of their greatest margins of defeat. “We really wanted revenge,” Swedish said. “We really hated to lose to them because we knew we were a better team than them and we really showed it [in the MCT] game.”

“[The past North losses] were kind of sad because they’re really close in competition to us and we thought we could win but we didn’t,” said second basemen Jordan Petrone ’16. Princeton has experienced this seesaw, win-loss effect with North before, as in 2014 each team won one of their two games, and in both 2013 and 2012 the girls again split the spoils of their two games 50/50.

The MCT game started out slow, and Princeton was actually losing by the end of the third inning. The odds were against them, with PHS holding the eleventh seed and North holding the sixth, but eventually the girls pulled ahead.

“I think when Christina [Cuomo ’17] got her big hit that was a really big moment because we had regained the lead and Christina hadn’t been hitting a whole lot, so it was a really big moment for her and the team,” Swedish said.

Cuomo hit a single over the second baseman’s head, which brought in two runs for the team, and in the following inning Nancy Gray ’17 hit a home run.

By the seventh inning of the game, the girls were able to score three more runs, bringing the team’s total to eight. “I think we had a better attitude,” Petrone said. “We were so pumped that we were in the MCTs, [and] we really wanted to see how far we could get.”

Although this win did allow the Little Tigers to advance to the second rounds of the MCT, they then fell victim to Steinert High School and were knocked out of the tournament.

“We play hard every game but [the game against North] was a game where we didn’t make any mistakes,” Boehm said. “We didn’t make any mistakes [against Steinert] but we just didn’t hit the ball enough. We hit the ball really well against North.”

The girls have since ended their season with a number of rescheduled games and will walk away with a 716 record. With just one senior on the team this year and eight returning varsity members, they look forward to building on their existing team next season.

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