With the Princeton High softball team trailing Lawrenceville 8-0 in the fourth inning last Friday, Dave Boehm urged his players to relax.
“It was just come out swinging,” said PHS head coach Boehm, reflecting on his message to his charges.
“We are looking at too many good pitches; we let good pitches go by and we are swinging at bad ones.”
PHS responded with two runs in the fifth as sophomore Natalie Campisi got things rolling with a single and then her older sister, senior tri-captain Jessica Campisi, along with freshman Kayla Volante delivered RBI hits.
“We got a couple of hits but we have to keep going,” said Boehm, whose team went on to lose 9-2 as the Campisi sisters and Volante all had two hits in a losing cause.
Having dropped nine of its last 11 games, PHS is struggling to get in synch.
“It is just mental mistakes,” said Boehm, whose team fell 6-2 at Lawrence High last Monday to lose its fourth straight game and drop to 3-12 on the season.
“I think it is a learning process for these girls. A lot of them didn’t play varsity last year and they are learning now that the speed of this game is a lot faster than they thought. By the time they think of where they have got to throw, it is already too late.”
Volante threw well in relief against Lawrenceville, holding the Big Red to one run over the last three innings.
“She is not the fastest kid throwing but she has nice movement on her pitches, especially her curve,” said Boehm, noting that Volante has also emerged as a batting threat for the Little Tigers. “It drops out a little bit on the bottom so she will hold us into games.”
Two of PHS’s veterans, junior Sarah Eisenach and senior Liana Bloom, have been holding their own in recent action.
“Sarah is also hitting the ball well,” said Boehm of Eisenach, the team’s top pitcher who performed well in the circle against Lawrence on Monday in a losing cause, recording nine strikeouts.
“I would say the last three games, Sarah has hit the ball very well. Liana Bloom is doing a good job at first base, she is filling in for Emily DiLella, who twisted her knee in Ewing. She is playing well in the field.”
Boehm is confident there are good times ahead for the Little Tigers, who have two freshmen, two juniors, and six sophomores seeing a lot of action this spring.
“I think they will come along,” said Boehm. “We have got a good young nucleus, mostly sophomores. There are only a couple of seniors that are really playing.”
In Boehm’s view, the Little Tigers need to stay loose as they head into a busy homestretch, which includes the start of the Mercer County Tournament and regular season games at Nottingham on May 7 and at Notre Dame on May 9.
“Next week, we have six games,” said Boehm, whose club is seeded 12th in the MCT and will play at No. 5 WW/P-S on May 10 in an opening round contest.
“We start the county tournament on Saturday. I told them at the end there that no one expects you to beat them now so just go out there swinging and play the best you can.”