HOLMDEL, N.J. - The undefeated season for the St. John Vianney softball team continued on Friday afternoon when the No. 2 seed Lancers kept No. 15 seed Colts Neck off the scoreboard. Behind the great pitching of sophomore Julia Parker, the Lancers defeated Colts Neck 5-0 to improve to 22-0 on the season and advance to the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament.
“Julia did a all-around great job executing her pitches,” said St. John Vianney softball coach Kimberless Lombardi. “We got big hits when we needed them. We can still do better, but it’s nice to get another win under our belts and advance in the tournament,”
The Lancers struck first in the bottom of the first inning as Gabby Polera struck a base hit to center field to score the game’s first run. Two batters later, Jessica Campana add to the St. John Vianney lead, cracking a RBI base hit of her own to give the Lancers an early 2-0 lead.
That was all that Parker needed to work with as the sophomore was straight up dealing on the mound all of the afternoon.
Parker struck out the side in the second inning and followed it up by doing the same thing in the third inning, setting down Cougars in order with another trio of strikeouts.
The sophomore ended up striking out seven straight Colts Neck batters in a row and had a total of eight strikeouts during her first four innings of no-hit ball.
“I executed my pitches well and trusted my defense behind me,” Parker said.
St. John Vianney added to its lead in the bottom of the third inning as both Polera and Campana came up big for the Lancers at the plate again.
Polera laced a RBI single to left field to knock in her second run of the game to make it 3-0. With runners on second and third, Campana helped break the game open for the Lancers, lining a base-hit to center field to score both runners to make it a five-run St. John Vianney lead.
“I needed to come up big in those situations for my team and I thankfully I did,” Campana said on her game-high three RBI. “I got my pitch to hit and I took advantage of it.”
Parker picked up her ninth strikeout as she set Colts Neck down in order in the fifth inning to keep her no-hit bid alive. Another one-two-three inning in the sixth, put Parker in position for the no-hitter in the seventh inning, but Olivia Sardoff of Colts Neck spoiled the party, hitting a little dribbler down the third base line for the Cougars’ first hit to lead off the inning and ending the no-hit bid for Parker.
Ava Metzger followed with a single of her own to give Colts Neck two runners on to start the seventh.
With Colts Neck beginning a threat to try to mount a comeback, Parker settled down on the mound and stop the Cougars’ threat, retiring the next three batters in order to for the complete-game shutout and the Lancers’ win.
“I just slowed everything down and focused on getting the next batter out,” Parker said.
Parker had a game-high 10 strikeouts in the win.
Metzger pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Colts Neck, picking up two strikeouts as well.
St. John Vianney will play either Middletown South or Manchester in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. The Lancers will host Bishop Ahr in the semifinals of the NJSIAA South, Non-Public A Tournament on Tuesday.
With the loss, Colts Neck finishes the season with a record of 14-11.
“We battled all game long against a very good team in St. John Vianney,” said Colts Neck softball coach John Corrado. “I’m very pleased of how we played this season. There is a lot of good young talented players in this program, Excited to see where this team can go in the future.
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