Redbirds see strong starts from baseball, girls’ lacrosse teams

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By Wayne Witkowski

Allentown High School’s baseball and girls’ lacrosse teams have gotten off to flying starts in the budding spring sports season.

Baseball

After outscoring its first two opponents, 32-5, with 15 players driving in runs, Allentown’s baseball team went to 3-0 April 8 by pulling out a 2-1 victory over Hopewell Valley Central High School.

Aydon Chavis lined a run-scoring double for Allentown, which scored runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Jordan Winston, who is headed to Oklahoma State University in the fall on a financial package for baseball, went the distance with a four-hitter, striking out 12 and walking four.

“I thought my start was good and the team played good defense to get me out of trouble in some situations to get the win,” Winston said.

The Redbirds, who played a series of scrimmages in a preseason trip to the Cal Ripken Baseball Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were rolling from the outset with a 15-4 victory over Hightstown High School in their April 3 opener.

Chris Reeder drove in four runs with four hits, including a two-run homer in a three-run fourth inning that helped build a 10-0 lead for Winston. Austin Ferrier knocked in two runs and Ryan Huth and Matt Coiante each had two hits and an RBI, as eight Redbirds batted in runs.

Winston, who quarterbacked the football team to its first New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association championship in Central Jersey, Group IV in December, allowed four runs on six hits over 4.2 innings. Winson struck out seven and walked two before giving way to reliever Colton Johnson.

Huth pitched three innings of relief for the win in a 17-1 rout of Trenton Central High School April 5. Bound for Princeton University in the fall to continue his career on the football field as a lineman, Huth also batted in three runs against Trenton Central. Ryan Barber also had three RBIs, as seven players drove in runs for Allentown, which jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning.

“This year’s team has a lot of chemistry, just like the football team, and our hitting so far has been helping us and the pitching rotation to keep the arms healthy,” Winston said.

Allentown hosted West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North April 12 and remains home against Notre Dame High School at 4 p.m. April 13 before traveling to Ewing High School April 17 for a 4 p.m. start.

Girls’ lacrosse

Allentown’s girls’ lacrosse team won its first two games under new coach Jen Garavente behind Marin Hartshorn and Danielle Sullivan.

Hartshorn scored five goals in a season-opening victory over rival Notre Dame High School, 8-5, March 30 and recorded two goals and five assists in Allentown’s 15-2 victory over Toms River High School North. Sullivan scored twice against Notre Dame within a minute’s time to break a 3-3 tie and had four goals and four assists against Toms River North.

Alyssa Sloane and Kaitlyn Bergen each fired in three goals against Toms River North.

“I think the girls have grown so much during this preseason,” Garavente said after the Notre Dame game. “To see how excited they are and to see how hard they’ve been working every day, I was very comfortable and confident in them.”

Softball

Sarina Campanella and Alyssa Notarianni each had two hits and one RBI and Heather Devine scattered five hits on the mound when Allentown (2-1) beat two-time Shore Conference Tournament champion Middletown High School North, 3-1, on the road April 8.

“It’s a huge win, but we have to worry about winning our division, which starts this week,” coach Kim Maurer said. “We had two errors which let in their unearned run, and that’s not bad. It was an all-around great effort with clutch hitting.”

Grace Dawson also had two hits. Notarianni smashed a run-scoring single in the second inning and Middletown North (2-1), which comes off a 27-4 season, tied it in the home second. Dara Diobro smashed a single in the fourth inning that drove in pinch runner Carleigh Delaney. Campanella doubled in Lauren Coiante, who walked, with the insurance run in the seventh.

Amanda Ariano turned in a strong effort at catcher stepping in for starter Madison Storey, who injured her hand. Storey’s return is uncertain.

After dropping its opener April 3 to Hightstown High School, 4-0 — a game in which the Redbirds had a 9-4 edge in hits — they rebounded in a 14-0 victory over Trenton Central April 6 that was stopped after five innings by the 10-run rule.

Devine struck out four and walked one in the opener and Shae Dominici, Notarianni and Campanella each had two hits. Sam Einstein pitched a three-hitter against Trenton Central, striking out 10 without issuing a walk and helped her own cause with a run-scoring triple. Damiana DelBagno smashed a two-run single, and Devine had two hits for Allentown, which scored nine runs in the fourth inning to seal the early ending.

The Redbirds have a tough stretch of five games in nine days, including a pair of Colonial Valley Conference Valley Division games that were scheduled against West Windsor-Plainsboro North on the road April 10 and at home April 12. They also played Hopewell Valley April 11 and have games against Notre Dame at home on April 13, at Ewing April 17 and against Lawrence High School at home April 18.

Boys’ lacrosse

Allentown, which has dropped many closely contested games in its 0-5 start, broke out of the slump with a 16-5 victory over visiting Montgomery High School April 8.

Connor Provost and Jared Jordan netted four goals apiece and Mike Surace added three goals while goalie Zack Powdermaker made 10 saves. James Neebling added a goal and a strong six assists for Allentown as it surged to a 6-2 lead at halftime.

After dropping an 8-5 opener to Princeton High School March 29 and to Notre Dame High School, 12-8, April 1, the Redbirds rallied back before falling to up-and-coming Hightstown, 9-8, April 3. Provost scored two of his four goals in a 3-1 Allentown lead and the game was tied, 4-4, at halftime before Hightstown took a 9-5 lead in the third quarter that coach Carl Schubauer said has been a tough quarter for his team this season. Neebling scored twice for Allentown.

Somerville High School beat Allentown, 17-5, April 7, as Nick Stagnitti had two goals and Danny Drew added a goal with an assist.

Provost leads Allentown with 13 goals coming into this week, and Neebling has nine assists.