By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
In the end, the Princeton High softball team came up just short of a huge upset.
But even in defeat the Little Tigers showed they have become a program to be dealt with at the county level. Princeton fell to top-seeded Ewing, 3-2, in 10 innings on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament.
“It was a great game,” Princeton coach Dave Boehm said. “We had our chances. They are a good team which is why they are the No. 1 seed. They found a way to push run across a run and win the game. We played them twice close this year but it is still a loss. We have to find out a way to get big hit and pull out one of these games.”
Princeton pitcher Kayla Volante was solid on the mound, allowing just nine hits over 10 innings. In an earlier meeting this year, Princeton dropped a 2-1 decision to the Blue Devils. Nancy Gray drove in a run to give Princeton a 1-0 lead in the first innings. After Ewing tied the game, Emily DiLella doubled in two runs to give Princeton a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning. But Ewing scored in the fourth and sixth to tie the game before winning in the 10th.
“I was happy with the girls,” Boehm said. “Kayla pitched great and she also pitched great against (West Windsor-Plainsboro South) the game before. She is the workhorse for us. We had to take some chances because we knew we weren’t going to score a ton against (Ewing). We had a couple runners thrown out at the plate on plays we probably shouldn’t have gone on.”
Overall, it’s been a much-improved season for Princeton, which took an 8-8 record into Thursday’s scheduled game against Trenton.
“This is probably the first time we have actually made the states by being over .500 at the 15-game point,” Boehm said. “That is a plus. The girls were happy about that. I think they have gelled a little. It took a little while to get going. We lost Bianca Guidi to a broken foot and when she came back it was a spark for us.
She came back at the end of April and has been a big spark. I feel like she solidified the outfield for us. (Natalie) Campisi has come on strong. As a team we seem to be getting timely hitting.”
Boehm was also happy with a 6-0 win over WW-P South in the second round. The Pirates had beaten Princeton, 12-2, earlier this season.
“That was a real nice win for us,” Boehm said. “Kayla did a great job with them. She pitched well and we got some big hits.”
Celia Gleeson drove in a pair of runs, while DiLella, Geena Garlock, Gray and Volante all drove in a run apiece.
WW-P North was eliminated in the MCT with a 6-1 loss to Allentown. Katie Pyne had two hits for the Knights.
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor