GLASSBORO, NJ - Julia Parker and the St. John Vianney softball team defeated Donovan Catholic, 2-0, in the South Jersey, Non-Public A final at Rowan University on Thursday afternoon.
The Lancers (25-1) came into the contest as the No. 2-ranked team in the state according to NJ.com while the Griffins (29-1) were No. 1. The win gives St. John Vianney its first sectional title since 2013 and ninth overall. Donovan Catholic had beaten St. John Vianney the last two years in the postseason, including by one run in the final in 2017.
Parker, a South Plainfield native, tossed a three-hit shutout, her second in two games. She gave up just two walks and struck out one. Donovan Catholic had scored at least 10 runs in all but five games heading into Thursday’s game.
“It feels incredible,” Parker told TAPinto South Plainfield. “It was a great game and defensively and offensively we performed really well today. It was a great team effort.
“All my pitches were really working and I was really executing. I was really confident (in the circle) and knew my defense behind me was going to deliver.”
Entering the game, Parker had 130 innings pitched but allowed just 55 hits, 13 runs (seven earned) and 23 walks while striking out 180 with an astounding 0.38 ERA. She has 21 wins on the year.
Ally Jones hit an RBI-single to score Jessica Campana and Shelli Rivard walked with the bases loaded to plate Charley Baker for the Lancers’ two runs, which both came in the top of the sixth inning.
Donovan Catholic put a scare into the St. John Vianney faithful in the bottom of the seventh, but Parker got a flyout to end the game with two runners on base.
“Games like this come down to staying focused and staying hungry and believing you can win,” Vianney head coach Kim Lombardi said. “My girls, from the moment they went to bed last night to when they woke up and through the game they believed in each other. I couldn’t be more prouder of my team.”
The two squads will actually meet once again in the Shore Conference Tournament final on Monday at Wall.
But before that, St. John Vianney will play North Jersey, Non-Public A champion Mount St. Dominic on Saturday in the state final at Kean. The Lancers own five state titles with their last one coming in 2013.
“One game at a time,” Lombardi said.