Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 14
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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QUICK DELIVERY: Princeton High softball pitcher Deanna Boehm uncorks a delivery in a game last spring. PHS will be depending on Boehm to be keep progressing at it looks to improve on the 3-18 mark it posted in 2008.

Relying on Battle-tested Pitcher Boehm, PHS Softball Aims to Continue Progress

Bill Alden

It was a painful process at times but Princeton High softball head coach Craig Haywood believes his team took a step forward even as it went 3-18 last spring.

“It was a big change, even if the record didn’t show it,” said Haywood, whose team won only one game in 2007.

“Two years ago, we were run-ruled 19 times. (losing due to trailing by at least 10 runs after five innings) I think it was seven last year.”

While junior pitcher Deanna Boehm absorbed most of those losses, Haywood believes his ace is better for the experience.

“She has been working hard in the offseason; she learned more pitches and has better velocity,” said Haywood.

“The big thing is that she has two seasons under her belt; she pitched something like 20 of 25 games each season. She is a work horse and she is battle tested.”

Although Boehm got off to a rough start last Wednesday as the Little Tigers fell 17-1 to Lawrence High at their season opener, Haywood believes she brings intangibles to the table that will show through as the spring unfolds.

“She is one of our team captains and she is a real leader for us,” added Haywood, who also may give some innings to junior Natalie Gonzalez together with sophomores Jenna Panconi and Shelbe Randall. “She is what is going to make the season for us; she is a proven commodity.”

The PHS batting order will need to prove itself from top to bottom as it looks to generate runs in support of Boehm.

“It’s going to be everyone hitting for us to be successful,” maintained Haywood, whose team’s game last Monday with Hopewell Valley was rained out.

“We aren’t going to overpower people. We will use a lot of finesse and play little ball.”

In Haywood’s view, he has several hitters who can be a threat. “Jessyca Hart and Deanna have hit for us before,” said Haywood.

“Natalie Gonzalez is swinging a good bat for us as is Hannah Zink. Liz Carnevale did a lot of work in the offseason and went to some camps; she has really improved. Louise Eisenach is a freshman and she will be batting in one of the top three spots. Camila Simao has speed and we will need her to get on base.”

Sophomore slugger Randall has the ability to bring home baserunners. “Shelbe is a big hitter,” said Haywood.

“Playing at Allentown last year with a head wind, she hit one over the right field fence and the right fielder didn’t even move after it was hit.”

Haywood is confident that the PHS program will keep moving in the right direction this spring.

“I see a big change in attitude; they put in a lot of work in the offseason and they look much better defensively,” said Haywood, whose team will look to get into the win column when it hosts Nottingham on April 8.

“There is a more serious approach but they are having more fun. They have a purpose. It’s not like they are just going out there to fool around; they are going out to play the game. They enjoy being out there.”

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