Thursday, April 13 marked a turning point in in the 2017 girls softball campaign.
Following a four-game losing streak, the girls took to the field against Trenton High School. Over the course of seven innings, Princeton outscored its opposition 10-0, the largest margin of victory yet this season. The team showed many positives that will impact them going forward.The zero-zero deadlock was quickly broken in the first inning when the Tigers put up three runs. Their lead continued to grow as the second inning yielded five runs as well as one run produced in both the third and fifth innings. Throughout the entirety of the game, the Tigers defense, directed by senior pitcher Kayla Volante, shut out the opposition with zero runs allowed. The winning feeling was refreshing to the Tigers after losing by double digits three out of their last four games.
“It really got our momentum going, because we are confident now, [and] before we were struggling to get hits in and make the right plays,” said Co-Captain Christina Cuomo ’17, a catcher.
The game saw alternative upperclassman leadership in addition to Volante’s strong play at the mound, as she pitched five innings with zero runs allowed. Cuomo went two for four at the plate. Ella Nadeau ’18 and Katie Wright ’18 each batted one for three and scored a combined two runs. As the season continues, the team hopes to continue to play strong offensively.
“We got the bats going and had a lot more hits than we had in the past four games,”
said Head Coach Marissa Soprano.“[We hope that] that momentum will carry us through the rest of the season.” The Tigers outhit their opponent 15-4.
The Tigers are confident that the victory is serving as a pivotal point heading into the second half of the season. The team carried the momentum from the shutout to beat Trenton again four days later in the same fashion, with a 15-0 victory. On April 22, the team competed in the John Czeterko Highwaywoman Classic and defeated Dwight-Morrow High School by a score of 10-3.
“Beating Trenton twice really brought us up, and the girls are ready to play after that,” Cuomo said.
In addition to its first win over Trenton, another factor that has helped turn the season around is the team’s chemistry on the diamond.
“We had a bunch of new players moving up and they started taking new positions on the team that they didn’t have on JV last year,” said Co-Captain Nancy Gray ’17, a pitcher. “We had to make it so the new players and older players meshed together. When everyone was settled and in their new positions, then we finally performed to the best of our ability.”
With players feeling more comfortable in their new positions, team members are focused on developing team unity and camaraderie off the field so it will translate to better plays.
“A big goal moving forward is to become more of a cohesive unit than we have been in the past because now we know how we play and our new positions,” Gray said. “We’ve been focusing on not getting down on ourselves too quickly after an error and picking ourselves up.”
The team is over its uneasy start and looking ahead towards postseason play. Five of the team’s last six regular season opponents are Colonial Valley Conference foes. The results of these games heading into the postseason will determine if the team complete a full-season turnaround from an 0-4 start.
“We are just get[ting] everyone’s confidence up and get[ting] the bats swinging so we can come back this year,” Cuomo said.