Holmdel, N.J. - The bats were out in full force for the St. John Vianney softball team, who continued to showcase why they’re one of the top teams in the state in its dominating 14-0 victory in five innings over No. 7 seed Pingry in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament on Friday afternoon.
Up and down the lineup, the No. 2 seeded Lancers saw key contributions to help them improve to a perfect 24-0 on the season.
Third baseman Jessica Campana was one of those players for St. John Vianney
Right after the Lancers took a 1-0 lead on an RBI fielder’s choice by Jordyn Schultz, Campana stepped up to the plate and roped a bomb to left center for a two-run home run to extend the St. John Vianney lead to 3-0.
“I was trying to get the ball in play and help my team out,” Campana said. “I didn’t expected it to go over the fence at first, but once it went over I was pretty pumped to put us up 3-0. It was a great feeling.”
The St. John Vianney bats were on beast mode in the third inning, tallying 11 runs in the frame.
Gabby Polera was responsible for the first St. John Vianney run of the inning. Reaching base on an error, Polera advanced to second base on a wild pitch and was then able to come all the way around to score when the throw to second went into the outfield to make it 4-0.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Schultz knocked home her second run of the game on an RBI double to extend it to a five-run lead.
The lead now 6-0 after Mackenzie Bloss scored on another error by Pingry, Alexis Agrapides extended the St. John Vianney lead once again with the bases loaded on a bloop RBI single to center field.
Agrapides was two-for-three at the plate in the win, her first hit of the game being her 100th of her career.
Leading 7-0 and the bases still loaded with no outs, Haley Ahr stepped into the box for the Lancers and blew the game wide open.
The sophomore ripped a line drive to the gap in left center to clear the bases for a three-run double to put St. John Vianney up 10-0.
“Honestly, I knew had to get the runners in,” Ahr said. “It was still a close game at the time. Glad I was able to step up and help us score more runs.”
Ahr finished two-for-three at the plate.
Ally Jones brought Ahr home in the following at-bat with her second double of the game, giving her a two-for-three day at the plate.
Batting around, Polera singled next to put two runners on the pond for Julia Parker.
The Lancers’ ace kept the inning rolling by bashing a two-run double down the left field line to make it 13-0 and a 10-run inning for St. John Vianney.
Campana struck again to finish off the 11-run frame for the Lancers, smacking an RBI single up the middle to tie her with Ahr with a game-high three RBI on the day.
“It’s really nice to have a different kid step at any point,” said St. John Vianney softball coach Kim Lombardi.“The girls work really hard. When we put a lot of hits together, we can be very dangerous. It was nice to see the team score that many runs after not doing so the last few weeks.”
Not to be overshadowed by the bats, Parker was again sensational in the circle for the Lancers.
After giving up a leadoff single to begin the game, Parker retired nine batters in a row going into the fourth inning, racking up six strikeouts in the process.
Parker struck out the side in the fourth inning after the first two batters for Pingry reached base. The sophomore retired the side in the fifth to close out the win for the Lancers, striking out the last batter to give her 11 strikeouts in her one-hit complete-game shutout.
“I felt really confident coming into the game and knew I had my defense behind me and that they were going make all the plays,” Parker said. “I threw all my pitches. Did a good job working the ball in and out of the zone.”
Parker was also two-for-two at the dish and reached base in all three plate appearances. She now has a team-high 38 RBI on the season after driving in two runs in the win.
St. John Vianney will now prepare to host No. 3 seed Bishop Ahr on Tuesday in the sectional semifinals. The Lancers will also host Matawan in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament.
Smack dab in the middle of two tournaments, the Lancers are in the mindset of taking things one game at a time and understand what they have to do to continue their run in each tournament.
“Take one game at a time. Can’t move onto the next one until you win the game ahead of you,” Lombardi said. “It’s the little things. Solid defense and putting runs across the board. If Julia (Parker) is pitching her best game, we know we have a shot to win.”
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