Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 24
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
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MAKING STRIDES: Princeton High softball star Louise Eisenach runs the bases in a game this spring. Junior shortstop and co-captain Eisenach hit .348 this season to help PHS go 8-14 and make its second straight state tournament appearance.

PHS Softball Continued Upward Trend; Making States Again, Tying Wins Record

Bill Alden

While the Princeton High softball team was fired up to make its second straight state tournament appearance, the lead-up to its first round game at Holmdel was less than ideal.

“It rained the whole week before the game; I think we had six games scheduled and we got in one,” said PHS head coach Craig Haywood.

“On the other days it rained we didn’t have a place to practice because of the AP tests.”

As it turned out, 12th-seeded PHS was not up to the test posed by No. 5 Holmdel, falling 12-2 to the Hornets.

“We had Holmdel well scouted, we knew everything they did; we knew their No. 1 and No. 2 hitter would run if they got on base and that their No. 3 and 4 hitters had some power,” said Haywood.

“Their pitcher was comparable to ours; she didn’t throw a lot of hard stuff. The difference was that we walked nine batters and they walked one.”

Although PHS followed up that loss by dropping its last three games of the season, Haywood was encouraged by his team’s play down the stretch.

“We lost our last three games to some of the better teams in the area; we were within two or three runs of those teams for most of those games,” said Haywood, whose club posted a final record of 8-14.

“Steinert had beaten us 11-1 or something like that the first time we played them and we ended up losing to them 8-4 the second time. Against WW/P-N, we were up and lost 8-5. Against Allentown in the final game, we were up 3-2 and then the rain came and we had a delay. After the game resumed, we ended up losing 8-3.”

In matching the program’s single-season high in wins for the second straight year, Haywood saw a lot of improvement in the field.

“Overall, the biggest area of progress was defensively,” said Haywood. whose team posted a four-game winning streak in the middle of the season. “We didn’t make as many errors as in the past and when we did make errors, we didn’t fall apart.”

Senior centerfielder and co-captain Emily Lidstone helped hold things together this spring for the Little Tigers.

Lidstone was great for us; she spent a lot of time in the offseason on her game, said Haywood of Lidstone, who hit .357, the second best on the team.

“She played winter ball at Jack Cust; she also played fall ball. She wanted to make a difference and she did.”

Another player who made a big difference for PHS was sophomore outfielder and hitting star Marisa Gonzalez.

“Marisa made the Carpenter Cup team; she hit .592 with 42 hits,” said Haywood. “She had around 30 hits as a freshman so she is at the 70s mark.”

Three other players, junior shortstop and co-captain Louise Eisenach together with sophomore Charlotte Heller and Hannah Gutierrez, also made their mark this spring for the Little Tigers.

“Louise had 24 hits for us,” said Haywood. “Heller gave us some power; it was good to have a left-handed designated hitter. Hannah Gutierrez was another player who was a major surprise. She took the third base spot and a lot of CVC coaches were talking to me about how well she was playing.”

PHS is in good shape at the pitching spot with sophomore Charlotte Gray and freshman Jessica Campisi.

“We have a good one-two punch in Gray and Campisi,” added Haywood.

“The one thing we told them is that they have to cut down on their walks.”

Haywood sees good things ahead for the Little Tigers. “Going into the offseason, they have a better idea of what they need to do and what it takes to be better,” said Haywood. “It is one thing to get to the state tournament; it is another thing if you want to advance.”

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