Davenport tosses no-hit gem to lead Hillsborough past Montgomery


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The Sarah Davenport highlight reel in the circle for the Hillsborough High School softball team just keeps growing.

Davenport recorded another stellar pitching gem for the Raiders on April 25 in Hillsborough against Montgomery High School.

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Seventeen strikeouts, no walks, no runs and zero hits spelled out Davenport’s third career no-hitter to lead Hillsborough to a 7-0 victory over Montgomery.

“It was a great day,” Davenport said after throwing her no-hitter. “It feels great to help my team out once again. I love coming out and helping my teammates out.”

Besides a catcher’s interference with two outs in the second inning, Davenport was simply perfect as can be and on the same page with her catcher Alexa Chess. She retired 21 of the 22 batters she faced, using her full repertoire of pitches to keep a Montgomery team that was averaging over four runs a game coming in silent at the plate.

“All my pitches were working really well,” Davenport said. “Alexa (Chess) and I were communicating really well in between innings. We knew what pitches to throw, what pitches not to throw and what sequences to throw.”

In just the two seasons so far, Davenport has thrown three no-hitters and two perfect games.

One of Davenport’s no-hitters came in last year’s NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV semifinal against South Brunswick High School, where she struck out 16 Viking batters to help Hillsborough advance to the sectional final.

Davenport racked up 16 strikeouts again in the sectional final, tossing a complete-game shutout to lead Hillsborough to a 1-0 victory over Hunterdon Central Regional High School and win its first sectional title since 2014.

Each perfect game, no-hitter and complete-game shutout all have felt “really good” for Davenport.

What matters most to Davenport through all those great moments she has had so far at Hillsborough is that it led to her team getting a victory.

“It’s really a nice morale booster for the whole team,” Davenport said. “I love helping out my team.”

The Hillsborough bats gave Davenport a lead to work with against Montgomery right from the start in the bottom of the first inning.

Senior third baseman Victoria Fantozzi got the scoring party started with a two-out RBI single to give Hillsborough a 1-0 lead.

Hillsborough was able to tack on two more runs off a Montgomery error to take a 3-0 lead into the second inning.

The bats kept rolling for the Raiders in the bottom of the second inning by tallying up another three-run frame.

Senior shortstop Josie Marcinek knocked in her team-leading 12th run of the season with an RBI single to put Hillsborough up 4-0.

Fellow senior Diya Patel added to the Hillsborough lead in the next at-bat with runners on second and third and one out.

Patel rocketed a shot to the gap in left-center to clear the bases for a two-run double to give Hillsborough a commanding 6-0 lead over the Cougars.

“I knew coming up that I had runners on base and wanted to be there for them and help them score,” Patel said. “All my teammates on the bench were supporting me and that really motivated me to get the job done.”

Junior center fielder Clay’le VanNess tallied the seventh and final run of the day for the Raiders with an RBI infield single in the bottom of the fifth inning.

VanNess finished 3-4 at the plate from the leadoff spot against Montgomery with a stolen base and two runs scored.

Both Fantozzi and sophomore Claire Marcinek had two hits in the Hillsborough victory over Montgomery.

Hillsborough (4-3) has won all four of its games this season by scoring seven or more runs. However, the Raiders have combined to score only two runs in each of their three losses so far and have been shut out twice, most recently in a 1-0 loss to Immaculate Heart Academy of Washington Township on April 2.

Having only played seven games so far, Coach Cheryl Iaione believes her squad will continue to gain more consistency at the plate as they play more games and round into form for a strong second-half run.

“Our offense will come around,” Iaione said. “We have to keep working and get better for the next (game).”

Hillsborough rounds out the week with three more contests, starting with home games against Hunterdon Central on April 26 and Ridge High School of Basking Ridge on April 28.


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