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Although PHS Softball Fell in State Opener; Loss Can’t Dim Record-Breaking Campaign

sports5Setting a program record this spring with 11 victories, the Princeton High softball team was looking to make more history as it played Northern Burlington in the state tournament.

“Even though we were a 14th seed and they were No. 3, we were confident we could stay with them,” said PHS head coach Dave Boehm.

The Little Tigers did stay with the Greyhounds in the early going of the Central Jersey Group III opening round contest as the teams were knotted in a scoreless tie through three innings.

But things got away from PHS as the Little Tigers gave up six runs in the fourth and four in the 10th to suffer a 10-0 defeat.

“We had a throwing error and that led to six runs; the roof fell in,” said Boehm, whose team finished the spring with an 11-12 record.

“I wish we would have hit a little better. They had a lefty and we hadn’t seen that all spring. It is a different look with different movement on the ball. It was a little disappointing. I told the girls afterward that I was very proud of them but that wasn’t the ending I wanted for the seniors.”

The team’s core of seniors led the way in PHS’s record-breaking season as Wisconsin-bound Marisa Gonzalez batted a team-high .492 while senior Hannah Gutierrez hit .402 with a team-high 16 RBIs. Other members of the Class of 2013 ended on a high note as Charlotte Heller posted a .302 average with 13 RBIs, Maddie Cahill-Sanidas hit .253 with 14 RBIs, and Helen Eisenach batted .246 with 13 RBIs.

“The seniors had seven girls who came in as freshmen, five of them made varsity,” said Boehm.

“Hannah and Charlotte were on JV but they improved and became very important players for us. I am very proud that they stuck with us for four years. It is not easy when the team isn’t winning a lot of games.”

Gonzalez leaves PHS as one of the greatest players in program history, setting a record for career hits and batting around .500 her last three seasons.

“Marisa ended up with 143 hits,” said Boehm. “She has not only excelled on the field, in practices we utilized her to work with younger players.”

The Little Tigers do have some excellent young players returning, highlighted by sophomore pitcher Sarah Eisenach, who posted an ERA of 3.77 this spring with 128 strikeouts in 141 innings pitched. Freshman Kelli Swedish started in left field while classmate Stephanie Wu emerged as a solid third baseman.

“We have six holes to fill; it is going to be tough because we have to replace catcher, shortstop, and center field,” said Boehm.

“Having Sarah at pitcher is a good place to start. Emily DiLella can go to first if Liana Bloom doesn’t play a lot there. Katie Kanter can move in at catcher. Julia Tarantino should be able to lock down an outfield spot and hopefully help Sarah with the pitching.”

After what the program accomplished this spring, the returning players will have bigger goals to go after.

“We had really talked about getting to 10 last year,” said Boehm. “We got to nine this spring and we had five tough games left. They really wanted to be the first team to get to 10. They have set the bar higher. Now a team will have to go for 12 and probably need to win a division title.”

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