SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. -- The South Plainfield High School varsity softball team just keeps on clawing along.
The Lady Tigers stay undefeated at 10-0 thanks in large part to pitcher Katherine Vill who took a no-hitter into the seventh and final inning as South Plainfield beat North Brunswick, 5-1, under cloudy and chilly conditions at Coach Panzarella Field in South Plainfield.
Vill’s no-hit bid was broken up by a solo home run blast by Alyssa Contreras which was followed up by single by Kayla Scher. Nonetheless, the ace Vill went the distance allowing only the two hits, one walk, and one run while striking out 11 batters. The senior relishes the fact that they are unbeaten up this point.
“Today I felt good,” she told TAPinto South Plainfield on her performance. “It means a lot (to be 10-0) We know we have a target on our backs so we kind of have to stick to it. I’m really proud of our team.”
South Plainfield struck first for a run in the bottom of the first inning as shortstop Caity Hughes, who walked and stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jennifer Grasso, scored on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Jillian Holoboski. Hughes finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Holoboski then notched an RBI single to score left fielder Angela Sanchez in the second inning to put the Tigers up 2-0.
The lead would remain until the fourth when Holoboski hit yet another sac fly and Vill and catcher Camryn Schaffer hit back-to-back doubles into the gaps in the outfield to go up 4-0. Only a sophomore, Holoboski went 2-for-2 with three RBI and is a whopping 15-for-25 (.600) on the year with 14 RBIs, 11 runs scored, three doubles, one home run, and six walks.
Designated hitter Julie Davis recorded the final RBI on a fielder’s choice in the sixth.
“Kat pitched well, we played good defense, (Catherine DeLair) played nice in center(field), and we had timely hitting but we left too many runners on base,” South Plainfield head coach Don Panzarella said. “That’s what I said to them. We have to learn to put teams away.
“But, we found a way to win. We did the little things. We bunted runners over, stole a few bases, and I’m impressed with the way we’re playing defense and pitching right now.”
Panzarella called the big insurance doubles by Vill and Schaeffer in the fourth “confidence boosters”. Vill proceeded to smack another double down the left field line again and thought and hoped that one had a shot to be a home run.
“I was looking over at the last one, but I finally got a hit so I’m happy about that,” she said with a big smile and a laugh.
While the Tigers remain undefeated and are one of the best teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference and in New Jersey, they’re just taking it one day at a time and not just looking ahead to the postseason where they lost in both the GMCT and North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 finals last year despite a 19-game winning streak in the middle of the season.
“We’re trying to take it one game at a time,” Panzarella said. “We can get beat any day. You know if we don’t play our best game somebody will beat us. Everybody is looking to beat you because you are undefeated.
The next foe is Monroe, who moved up from the GMC-White Division to the GMC-Red Division with the bigger schools. While the Falcons are 4-6 don’t let the record fool you. They topped Piscataway 14-6 Friday afternoon and have one of the conference’s best teams over the last several years.
I love l playing them it’s a great game every time we do,” Panzarella said. “I’m excited about it. They’re gonna try and come in here and knock us off. As long as we come ready to go, I think it’ll be a good game tomorrow.”
And even though she just hurled a complete game and is the winning pitcher in all 10 games so far for the Tigers, Vill, a true warrior, will be right back out in the circle at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday).
“I just got to ice it down, I’ll be good for tomorrow,” Vill said. “I just wanna play.”
Follow Chris on Twitter, @ChrisWasky