Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 27
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
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STAR TURN: Cranbury-Plainsboro/Princeton all star pitcher Jessica Campisi gets ready to fire a pitch last week in the District 12 softball tournament. Campisi, a rising eighth grader at John Witherspoon Middle School, turned in some solid work in the circle as the C-P/Princeton team went 1-3 in Pool B play in the District 12 competition.

Pitching Star Campisi Overcomes Nerves, Produces Solid Work in District 12 Softball

Bill Alden

Jessica Campisi felt some nerves as she toed the rubber for the Cranbury-Plainsboro/Princeton 12-year-old softball all stars last week in the District 12 tournament.

“It was hard at first,” said Campisi, a rising eighth grader at John Witherspoon Middle School. “It took my head out of the game.”

The right-handed pitcher regrouped and kept her head as C-P/Princeton faced Florence last week in its opening game of the District 12 competition.

Producing a superb effort, Campisi gave up just one run through the first four innings of the game.

C-P/Princeton, though couldn’t hold the fort as Florence broke through for three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

While the result was disappointing, Campisi thought she made progress.

“I think the first game was a really good one,” said Campisi, who was joined on the team by fellow Princeton residents Sarah Eisenach, Elena Gursky, and Ellie Maltby. “It showed me that I can pitch against these girls. I didn’t think I could at first.”

Later in the tournament, Campisi pitched an inning in a loss to New Egypt and then logged four more innings in a defeat to Millstone-Roosevelt. C-P/Princeton did pick up a forfeit win over West End to post a 1-3 record in Poll B play as it fell short of advancing to the next round of the tourney.

For Campisi, the experience she gained from the intense District 12 competition will help make her a better pitcher.

“I need to work on my accuracy,” said Campisi. “I threw a little low on some pitches and a little high on some of the others.”

Campisi has been putting in some extra work to improve, having taken pitching lessons from Princeton University softball assistant coach Alexis Alcantara over the last year.

“It has really helped,” said Campisi, referring to her sessions with Alcantara, a former star pitcher for Hofstra.

“We do a warm-up and then wrist flicks. We work on trying to get my motion faster. We are also working on change-ups which is something I need to learn.”

Campisi is hoping to apply those lessons over the next few seasons.

“I would like to be able to keep pitching with these girls,” said Campisi, an all-around athlete who also competes in swimming, field hockey, and basketball. “I would like to be a star pitcher on the high school team.”

Although being a star pitcher involves dealing with pressure, Campisi relishes the role.

“I used to play shortstop,” explained Campisi. “When I play pitcher, I feel important. The other people are depending on me. When people are yelling to me about the next pitch, I just focus and pretend they are not there.”

And based on the focus Campisi displayed in the District 12 tournament, she should be hearing a lot of people yelling for her in the future.

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