By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
If Princeton High softball coach Dave Boehm was looking for a spark at the top of the lineup by moving Natalie Campisi into the leadoff role it certainly worked.
Campisi had a single, a triple and scored a run to help Princeton to a 3-2 win over Hamilton in its season-opener on Tuesday. The Little Tigers followed up their opening win with an impressive performance in a 2-1 loss to Ewing on Wednesday.
“Sometimes we have a rough season, especially starting off,” Campisi said. “So it is really good to start off with a win. Once we get people on base, no matter how they get on base, we should be able to get some strong hits and hopefully get them around and get some runs in.”
Campisi batted down near the bottom of the order last year but made the most of her first chance in the leadoff spot on Tuesday. She started the Little Tigers’ three-run third inning with a one-out triple and scored on a triple by Stephanie Wu. Nancy Gray singled in a run in the inning and Kayla Volante drove in the third and deciding run with a single.
“During all of our scrimmages this year I was not the leadoff batter, so it was kind of surprising that he put me there,” Campisi said. “But I kind of like it. I can lay down buts or I can hit it pretty well.
“I think we have the potential to do very well, maybe one of the best teams we have had. Individually, we all have the skills. Through practice I can see that we’re all ready to play some good games. It really just depends on us playing our best in all of our games this season.”
Princeton took a 3-0 lead into the seventh and then held on as Hamilton scored twice and had the tying run on third. But Volante pitched out of the jam and Princeton had an opening-day win.
“Usually, when we get a lead it can be kind of tough for us to keep it and resist the urge to make errors,” Campisi said. “But we were pretty good at that this game, except for the last inning we didn’t have any errors.”
Volante allowed just one hit through the first six innings and finished with a four-hitter while striking out nine batters.
“Kayla did a nice job,” said Boehm, whose team is scheduled to host Lawrence today. “She was hitting her spots and she kept the ball outside and kept on going. They only had one hit up to that last inning. She settled in. She buckled down after the error and did a nice job.”
Boehm’s move of Campisi into the leadoff role produced immediate dividends as she had two hits in the opener.
“Last year we had her down around the seventh or eighth spot,” Boehm said. “She has good speed and when she hits the gaps she can run forever on this field. That ball cut through the wind like it was nothing.
“We’re not going to score a ton of runs. But if we get people on base we have to get them in. In the first inning we didn’t get those two runs in when we had second and third with no one out.”
The win in the opener was a nice way for Princeton to start the season, as was the well-played game in the loss to Ewing.
“It’s a win and we started off on a positive note,” Boehm said. “If Kayla’s pitching holds up we’ll be OK. We play some decent defense. I think we can build on this. I am pretty confident we can get to double digits or get close to double digits in wins this year. If we can gel together we’ll be all right.
“This is the type of game that in the last couple of years we would’ve lost. That inning might have snowballed into three or four more runs. So I think it was a positive that we were able to get that third out before any more damage was done.”
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor