Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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CAMP FIRE: Princeton High softball freshman pitcher Jessica Campisi fires a pitch last Friday in PHS’ loss to Robbinsville. Campisi’s power pitching has helped give the PHS mound staff added depth.

PHS Softball Struggling to Find Rhythm; Blanks Hamilton to Get Into Win Column

Bill Alden

Last Thursday, the Princeton High softball team found itself trailing Hightstown 10-2 after four innings.

Showing its fighting spirit, PHS scored six runs in the top of the fifth to turn the game into a nailbiter. The Little Tigers pushed across runs in the sixth and the seventh but it wasn’t enough as they fell 12-10.

A day later, PHS dug a big hole against powerful Robbinsville, trailing 15-0 going into the bottom of the third. Once again, PHS refused to fold, scoring two runs in the third. But it was unable to get any closer in dropping a 15-2 decision to the Ravens.

In reflecting on the two defeats, PHS head coach Craig Haywood tipped his hat to his team’s plucky approach.

“We are a scrappy little bunch and I keep saying it,” said Haywood, whose team broke through with a 4-0 win over Hamilton last Monday as Charlotte Gray pitched a one-hitter to help the Little Tigers improve to 1-4.

PHS’ offensive production, which has seen it average more than five runs a game, has been a strength for the club.

Haywood credits senior captain and centerfielder Emily Lidstone with helping to jumpstart the PHS hitting attack.

“Emily has been on a tear as of late,” said Haywood. “It all started against Notre Dame when Emily does the one thing we have been wanting her to do for three years. She dropped the perfect bunt and used her speed, ran it out and was safe on first. After that, against Hopewell Valley, she goes 3-for-4 and yesterday she goes 3-for-4 against Hightstown. She drew a couple of walks, one with the bases loaded to get an RBI there. She has been coming along well.”

Junior shortstop Louise Eisenach and sophomore leftfielder Marissa Gonzalez have also been coming up big for the Little Tigers.

“Louise and Marisa are our offensive sparks,” said Haywood of the pair who each got two hits in the Hightstown game. “You get them on and we can score runs.”

PHS is looking to sophomores Charlotte Heller and Maddie Cahill-Sanidas to supply some power.

“The thing I like now is that Charlotte Heller has come around; she is starting to hit;” added Haywood, who got four hits and an RBI from Heller in the win over Hamilton.

“Against Hightstown, she sparked the six-run inning. She hits a bomb to centerfield, it was recorded as an error but she got that going. Maddie is struggling a little at bat but when she makes contact she is getting some good, solid shots.”

Haywood does not like the fact that the Little Tigers didn’t play a game between April 6 and last Thursday due to rainouts.

“We go nine days between games,” lamented Haywood, whose team plays at the Highway Women’s Softball Classic on April 23 in Teaneck before hosting Ewing on April 25. “You are never going to develop any type of rhythm if you play once every nine days.”

While Haywood sees an upbeat attitude from his players, he knows that they have to be tougher mentally on the diamond. “They are not hanging their heads,” asserted Haywood.

“They are a young team, we know that. They have to learn to work together a little more; they have to learn to communicate more. I have told them that from day one when I started coaching here six years ago that PHS is never going to win a 1-0 game. There is always that one error that we seem to make and and when we make errors, the other teams score.”

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