Last spring, the Princeton High softball team took some major steps in the right direction.
The Little Tigers matched the program record for single-season victories with nine and won a game in the Mercer County Tournament for the first time in recent memory, if ever.
As a result, PHS head coach Dave Boehm is looking forward to his second year at the helm.
“I have more confidence in this team, we have six seniors returning and all of them saw a lot of playing time last year,” said Boehm, who guided the Little Tigers to a 9-14 record in 2012.
“We have four freshmen who are going to make the team. We have a good mix of the old guard and newcomers; they seem to be getting along well.”
The PHS pitching staff will reflect that mix as sophomore Sarah Eisenach and freshman Julia Tarantino will be the top starters with senior Charlotte Gray and freshman Emily DiLella also seeing action in the circle.
“Sarah Eisenach is going to throw a lot of innings; she is going to be our No. 1 starter,” said Boehm, whose team will be busy in the first week of the 2013 campaign as it was slated to play at Hopewell Valley on April 2 and then host Allentown on April 3, Hightstown on April 5, and Hun on April 6 before playing at Trenton on April 8.
“Sarah is smarter on the mound; she worked on her stuff in Hamilton with some of the former Steinert pitchers. Julia is going to be the 1A starter. Charlotte Gray will get some innings. Emily is a lefty and she can be tricky.”
PHS will be depending on senior star Marisa Gonzalez to get things going offensively in the lead-off spot.
“Marisa already has the program hit record, she is coming into the season with 112 hits,” said Boehm.
“She is going for 150. She hit over .500 last year. I am going to start her at leadoff. We had her at third last year and teams would walk her. I want her up top where she can get on base and use her speed and be the player she is.”
The Little Tigers will need the rest of the order to step up if the team is going to make the best use of Gonzalez’s production.
“Hannah Gutierrez is going to bat No. 2 and I am going to use Kelli Swedish at the No. 3 spot,” said Boehm.
“I am looking for Maddie Cahill-Sanidas to have a big year. Charlotte Heller had a good year last season. We need Helen Eisenach to pick it up. Sarah Eisenach has a big swing and it goes far when she makes contact. Helen Eisenach is more of a line drive hitter.”
Boehm believes his defense has the ability to pick the ball. PHS will feature senior Cahill-Sanidas at catcher, senior Heller at first base, junior Jessica Campisi at second, senior Helen Eisenach and freshman Stephanie Wu at shortstop, and senior Gutierrez at third with freshman Swedish in left field, Gonzalez in center, and senior Gray in right.
In Boehm’s view, PHS could produce a breakthrough season if it sharpens things up a bit.
“I really believe we can get into double digits in wins,” said Boehm. “We have never had that; we need to get over the hump. We have to play more consistently. We need to cut down on walks. If we can get the other teams to hit it to our fielders and we play consistently defensively, we should do well.”