Bishop Ahr’s walk-off win hands SPHS softball first loss

Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
SPHS' Jennifer Grasso makes catch on the run, but runs were hard to come by as BGA defeated South Plainfield 1-0. Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace

EDISON, N.J. -- What a difference a day makes.

The South Plainfield High School varsity softball team was shutout and fell to Bishop Ahr, 1-0, in nine innings Thursday afternoon in Edison in Greater Middlesex Conference - White Division action. Just 24 hours earlier, South Plainfield dominated Perth Amboy 24-0 in three innings.

Colleen Cronin roped a leadoff double into the left center gap and then came around to score on Allison VanDemark’s one-out walk-off RBI single to right center. With the loss, the Tigers drop to 13-1 (10-1 in GMC play) while the Trojans improve to 9-5 (7-4) on the season.

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South Plainfield was held to two hits on the day, one each by third baseman Jillian Holoboski and left fielder Angela Sanchez. Despite the hot start, inconsistency at the plate offensively has plagued the Tigers for much of the season. They’ve relied more on stout pitching and gold glove defense.

“I knew it was going to be a great game coming in, but we got to hit the ball,” Tigers head coach Don Panzarella told TAPinto South Plainfield. “I’ve been saying that all year. We can’t rely on the same kids. (Katherine Vill) pitched seven great innings. If she does her job, we should score a run and win the game.

“...We played good defensively and pitched well. If we keep them to zero and play good defense, we’ll have every opportunity to win and we did, but I’m disappointed with the way we hit. It’s gonna get hard.”

Trojan’s pitcher Alyssa DeJianne earned her second win of the season striking out 13 batters. As mentioned prior, the freshman gave up only two hits to go along with only two walks as well. South Plainfield’s biggest threat to score came in the top of the fourth inning when Holoboski led off with a single to left and then Vill placed a perfect bunt down and outran the throw to first for another single.

But, DeJianne got catcher Camryn Schaeffer to line out to third base and struck out designated hitter Julie Davis and first baseman Cameron Marks to get out of the tight spot.

“We had opportunities. We gotta do the little things,” Panzarella said. “We didn’t make any adjustments (on DeJianne). She was throwing the curveball outside and we kept swinging at it. They have to learn to make adjustments.”

Vill took the loss pitching into the ninth inning allowing four hits, one run, and six walks, while striking out five.

Cronin finished 2-for-4 adding a single to her day. Teammate Megan Herka notched a single as well.

The six-through-nine batters for the Tigers, went 1-for-11 with eight strikeouts.

“We can’t rely on one or two kids,” Panzarella said. “It’s gonna get tougher throughout the year, and if you don’t make adjustments, we’re not gonna win with just one or two kids hitting the ball. That’s the bottom line.”

South Plainfield will look to rebound on Saturday morning when they travel to Carteret of the GMC - Blue division when they take on the 13-2 Ramblers, who will face Dunellen on Friday.

“They’re kids. They’ll probably go on the bus and be upset for a little while,” Panzarella said of his team’s ability to move past the defeat. “They’ll be better than me. I’ll be upset until Saturday.

“Every game is important and they don’t understand that. I tell them to treat every game like it’s a championship. This league is tough and if you slip up one time, it could hurt you.”


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