Vol. LXIV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
(Photo by Mark Eisenach)
MAKING STRIDES: Princeton High softball senior star Deanna Boehm scores a run in the Little Tigers recent 7-6 win over Teaneck. Co-captain Boehm has been providing leadership and production for PHS which has already surpassed its win total from last year when it went 3-17. The Little Tigers, now 4-5, host Hamilton on April 21, play at Princeton Day School on April 22, and then host Steinert on April 26.
Over the previous three springs, Deanna Boehm carried the workload as the Princeton High softball team struggled mightily.
As the teams starting pitcher and a top hitter, Boehm has been under the gun with the Little Tigers having lost more than 80 percent of their games.
Coming into the 2010 season, senior co-captain Boehm sensed a different work ethic around the team.
We have players who know how to play and who want to play, said Boehm.
They make the effort and they really do care. Even simple things like being on time to practice and being prepared, I dont think anybody has forgotten anything. They are dedicated; they come to every practice they can show up at. In past years, we had issues with that.
The teams dedication was reflected last Friday as PHS clicked on all cylinders in blanking Trenton High 15-0.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak and improved the Little Tigers to 4-4, already surpassing the programs 2009 win total when the team went 3-17.
In Boehms view, the victory over the Tornadoes had significance, both on the short term and long term.
It felt good to have our fourth win; now we are .500 again, said Boehm. It definitely means we are on the right track. We definitely know we can have more than four wins this year. We have improved 100 percent.
As a co-captain along with classmates Camila Simao and Liz Carnevale, Boehm is determined to keep the Little Tigers on the right track.
I try my best to be as nice but as firm as possible; this way you can get to them but they are also being girls, said Boehm.
Its tough sometimes when you have two male coaches. The two other captains and I try to communicate as best as possible with everyone to see how they feel about certain situations.
Boehm has enjoyed the situation that has emerged this spring as PHS has spread the pitching duties around with junior Jenna Panconi and freshman Charlotte Gray getting plenty of innings in the circle.
It is a lot less pressure; it is also nice to play another position, said Boehm, who has been playing third base this spring.
As a freshman, I was thrown in as a pitcher. I think it is really good for the younger pitchers to get experience for the future.
Knowing that the future is now for her as a senior, Boehm has worked hard on her offense.
I am really trying to focus hard because it is my last season at Princeton High, said Boehm, who had a four-hit game in a tough 3-2 loss to Allentown last week and is hitting at a .700 clip. I have a sense of urgency.
PHS head coach Craig Haywood sees a deeper sense of commitment to improvement among his players this spring.
We have got some players now who know how to play the game and we are taking the advantages where we can, said Haywood, who got a one-hit shutout from Gray in the win over Trenton in the five-inning contest.
We have got some good speed; we have got some good hitters. The defense is always something we are working on but our defense is getting better every game. Its just a completely different team than in years past.
Haywood credits the leadership of Boehm and her fellow seniors with helping the team get better.
I think that the combination of Deanna, Liz, and Camila as captains has been good, said Haywood.
The three of them are keeping a young team focused on what they need to do and getting them excited about playing softball here. For our team captains, the toughest thing for them is overcoming the history of past years and these three have done it.
Boehms hot bat is sparking the teams offense as PHS looks to make some positive history.
On the stats that we keep, Deanna is hitting over .700, said Haywood, whose team moved to 4-5 after a 12-1 loss to Robbinsville last Monday. Our team as a whole is hitting over .300. As you can see, everything is starting to come together.
In Haywoods view, the teams success so far this spring comes down to an all-for-one, one-for-all spirit.
Everybody in this lineup is contributing so I am going to steal a quote from Joe Paterno, it is the name on the front of this jersey, thats what this is team about, said Haywood, noting that the teams corps of freshmen, Maddie Cahill-Sanidas, Marisa Gonzalez, Helen Eisenach, Hannah Gutierrez, Byrne Fahey, and Gray, have made an immediate impact.
In years past, we were always built on one or two players. This year we are not, we are built around the name on the front of the jersey. Angela Cao is doing tremendously as a designated hitter. Hannah Zink has a great glove at first base; she is coming up with some clutch hits. Louise Eisenach is also clutch hitting-wise, she is good with two strikes. I think she has one or two strikeouts so far this season.
With the program having never won more than eight games in a season or having made a trip to the state tournament, PHS has clear targets this spring.
Our goal is those nine wins and making states, asserted Haywood, whose team hosts Hamilton on April 21, plays at Princeton Day School on April 22, and then hosts Steinert on April 26.
The two goals are going to come together, that is exactly what is going to happen. The way our schedule is now, 10 wins by the state cut would put us in.
Boehm, for her part, believes the team can earn respect as it pursues those goals.
We want to have fun, said Boehm. We want to show everybody else that we can do it as well as ourselves and coaches. We want the hard work to pay off.
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