Now is the time for the Allentown High School softball team to finally deliver that elusive victory in the state tournament.
“We never won a state tournament game,” Allentown coach Kim Maurer said.
But Maurer felt that the Redbirds are prepared to claim that first victory in the NJSIAA playoffs.
“Usually, we’re an eight or nine seed. We want to go out and upset some team this year to get our first win. We know we’re going to have to beat someone good to do it, but we’re up for it.”
After struggling early in the season, the Redbirds have been playing better lately, according to Maurer, who pointed to numerous reasons why Allentown’s recent fortunes have improved.
“Well, honestly, our schedule got easier,” Maurer said. “[Junior] Grace Dawson has taken over as pitcher for us and has done a great job. “Our bats have been a lot better lately, too. One game, we had 19 hits, another game had like 15 or something. But Grace has been stepping up big time for us at pitcher.”
Maurer was still a little concerned about the consistency of the team’s offense.
“Our bats can still get better,” Maurer said. “Even this week, we won our first game [against Hopewell Valley High School] 10-0. We feel really good, but the next game [against Nottingham High School], we came out flat. So, that’s something we have to clean up.”
Maurer thinks that in order to steal a tournament game, Allentown will have to face its biggest test head on.
“We’ll be facing good pitchers in the state tournament,” Maurer said. “We can hit against average pitchers, but we’ve struggled against the good ones. We want to start getting better at hitting the good pitchers too.”
Maurer believes that her own pitching will also be key in winning the team’s first state tournament game.
“It’s really going to come down to Grace’s pitching,” Maurer said. “That and [junior] Alyssa Notarianni hitting for us. She’s been great offensively, and her timely hitting has been phenomenal this year. We’re going to need both of them to make this run happen.”