Sports

Schaeffer's RBI Walkoff gives Lady Tigers Group III Title

ddc09bee672bec57f056_SPHS_Group_III_Champs1.jpg
1f4377bb8772afbeb4e9_IMG_20170604_183617.jpg
a63ed951984a52076571_SPHS_Group_III_Champs2.jpg
4d26c9879b8f518bb248_SPHS_Group_III_Champs3.jpg
caf17cd1483540d6e1fe_IMG_20170604_182952.jpg
5e4e0c8520bc75876763_SPHS_Group_III_Champs4.jpg
808c06d35bdde9ca3c94_SPHS_Group_III_Champs5.jpg
486828aadec1be98a653_SPHS_Group_III_Champs6.jpg
a1e17a3620731b41c2e5_SPHS_Group_III_Champs7.jpg
f9bdc84621a4fcd7b593_SPHS_Group_III_Champs8.jpg
68b6a394d47836e201fb_SPHS_Group_III_Champs9.jpg
8e96752cb257539057db_SPHS_Group_III_Champs91.jpg
562f0446b1c5279d7160_SPHS_Group_III_Champs92.jpg
09235634b8bec98aa16c_SPHS_Group_III_Champs93.jpg
719f1bfa8f121c95234b_SPHS_Group_III_Champs94.jpg
ddc09bee672bec57f056_SPHS_Group_III_Champs1.jpg

UNION-- All year and all post-season, the South Plainfield High School softball team has been earning close, hard fought victories over highly touted teams, so it’s only fitting that they had to tough another one out to get their hands on the state championship trophy they’ve been working so hard for.

The Group III State Championship was on the line at Kean University today, as the (27-4) Lady Tigers matched up against Steinert High School in the tournament final. South Plainfield’s sturdy defense allowed them to hold a 2-0 late in the game, but a top of the seventh inning rally by the Spartans (22-4) evened the score, and seemingly put South Plainfield’s title hopes in serious jeopardy. The Lady Tigers endured though, and a walk-off RBI from Camryn Schaeffer gave South Plainfield a 3-2 win, and their first state title since 2005.

Schaeffer, a senior catcher, admitted that her team’s history in extra innings this year made her somewhat nervous heading into the bottom of the seventh with a tied game, but her clutch at-bat eased both her nerves and the nerves of the many South Plainfield fans that packed Kean Softball Field.

Sign Up for E-News

“We got lucky on the coin toss to be the home team, and everything went the way it should’ve happened today,” Schaeffer said. “It’s unbelievable. That’s the only way you want to go out.” 

Walks on Caity Hughes, Jillian Holoboski and Katherine Vill loaded the bases for the final at-bat, and Schaeffer hit a grounder that sent Hughes in for the winning score.

“I just had to makes something happen,” said Schaeffer. “I had to put the ball in play. I knew Caity, our fastest runner, was on third, and it was one out so a sac fly would have done the job. Walk, hit-by-pitch, anything I would’ve done to get her in. I’m glad I could do it for the team.”

A first inning RBI single from Schaeffer and a fifth inning RBI single from Holoboski gave the Lady Tigers a 2-0 lead heading into the final two innings. In the top of the seventh, with the game seemingly in hand for South Plainfield, the Spartans went on a game-tying rally. Alex Haley scored the first run on an overthrown ball, and with one out and one strike remaining, Steniert pitcher Kaylee Whittaker hit a single to right field to bring in the tying run. Vill, South Plainfield’s pitcher, recovered to end the inning with a tied score.

“We made some mistakes to put them back in.. we didn’t finish it off (in the top of the seventh) but we didn’t quit,” said South Plainfield coach Don Panzarella after the game. 

Hughes, South Plainfield’s career hit-leader, ran into some uncharacteristic problems early in the game, when she struck out in her first two plate appearances against Whittaker. The senior slugger got her stride going with a double in the fifth inning, and eventually closed out the game by drawing a walk in her next at-bat and scoring two runs.

"(Whittaker) was pitching me on the side all game, and i couldn't’adjust in the second and first at-bats,” Hughes said. “I was trying hard to creep up on the plate and get that outside pitch and I ended up getting it.”

When asked to describe how it felt to picking up her first state title in her final year as South Plainfield, the senior slugger was at a loss for words.

“It’s indescribable, I still can’t believe it happened,” Hughes said. “I’m still in shock, I have no words to describe it to be honest.”

South Plainfield’s defense made their share of clutch plays as well, and right-fielder Jennifer Grasso put on a stellar performance. Grasso forced a 9-3 double play off an impressive overhead catch in the sixth inning, and also forced another double play by gunning down a runner at home plate on an attempted sacrifice fly.

“Everybody looks at her because she’s small, but she’s the best right fielder I’ve seen," Panzarella said of Grasso after the game. "She gets every ball.”

“To know what to do with the ball at that time is big, because if we don’t get that one out that girl goes to second and we’re in trouble.”

Holoboski went 3-for-3 for South Plainfield while Vill struck out two and walked two while giving up seven hits. Whittaker struck out nine for Steinert. The title win also makes Panzarella and the South Plainfield program a perfect 4-0 in group title games.

With the state championship in hand, the Lady Tigers will now go onto compete in the new Tournament of Champions. The tournament will feature the best of the very best, from top to bottom, and South Plainfield’s players are excited for the competition.

“I think it’s so cool we can find out who the number one team in NJ is,” said Hughes. “I’m excited to play it, I really am.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

Obituaries

South Plainfield – John T. Felz, Jr., 71, passed away at his home on Thursday, June 14, ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Mayor Anesh Congratulations the Graduates

June 24, 2018

Dear Editor, 

A big congratulations to the South Plainfield High School 2018 graduating class. The next step in life will be a big one. Some will enter the United States military, others college and a number will immediately start their working careers. 

Remember all of the lessons learned at home, from your family at the dinner table, and those learned at school. These early life ...

Community Happenings

Mayor, Council Proclaim 'Amateur Radio Week’ in the Borough of South Plainfield

June 22, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ- At a June 18 meeting, South Plainfield Mayor Matt Anesh and the Borough Council proclaimed June 17 through June 23 as ‘Amateur Radio Week’ and asked all residents to extend their appreciation and respect to the community’s  amateur radio operators.

South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club (SPARC) will be participating in the American Radio Relay ...

Aria Rathor Recognized for Winning Tiger Logo Design

June 24, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Grant student Aria Rathor was recently honored for being named the winner in the South Plainfield School District’s recently Tiger Logo Contest. 

During the June 21 meeting, district administrators and the board of education congratulated Aria for her winning design and presented her with an $800 gift card. Her parents and brother Arav, who was named ...

Holy Savior Academy’s Championship Cheerleaders Seek Funds for New Equipment

June 18, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Holy Savior Academy Cheerleading Squad has kicked off a fundraiser to generate $5,500 for the purchase of much-needed equipment, such as new tumble mats, sound equipment, and more for the award-winning squad.

“The group of twelve girls range from 1st through 4th grades,” said parent Marybeth Parache, who is heading up efforts to raise funds.  ...

Wrestling Ring Presentation

June 20, 2018

The South Plainfield High School Wrestling Team,  who have earned the title of “Three Peat Champs”,  received their State rings on Sunday, June 10, 2018.  Presentation of the rings an plaques were given by SPHS Wrestling Coach Pavlack an assistant coaches.   Funding  for the rings were donated by the South Plainfield Wrestling Club,  who has been one of ...

Inclusive Playground Ribbon Cutting Tonight - June 20

Nixle Alert - Official ribbon cutting at 6:30 om tonight to open inclusive playground at Willow Park.  All are invited to attend, A special storytime will follow.

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ba23f8d0d41677854e89_spb-4937_newsletter_june_26

Tue, June 26, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Carousel_image_5b249c4a7e6808d9d7bb_spb-4937_newsletter_june_27

Wed, June 27, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Carousel_image_295f5001319d0d50ecf4_spb-4937_newsletter_june_28

Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. New Britain Bees Baseball ...

Carousel_image_294da35e9b80010760c4_spb-4962_newsletter_july_6

Fri, July 6, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Road Warriors vs. Somerset Patriots

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports

Carousel_image_94f31e454b4c4bdcf615_spb-4962_newsletter_july_7

Sat, July 7, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Road Warriors vs. Somerset Patriots

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports

Carousel_image_21e1d6d7e4165f2fdd21_spb-4962_newsletter_july_8

Sun, July 8, 5:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Road Warriors vs. Somerset Patriots

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports

Columns

Weinberg, Diegnan Bill to Establish University-Based Consortium on Media Innovation Advances

TRENTON –A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan that would establish a state university-based consortium to advance research in the field of media and technology was passed from the Senate Higher Education Committee today.

“The state’s traditional newspaper market has been upended by changes in ...

South Plainfield and SP BOE Working Together to Strengthen School Security

South Plainfield, NJ - On Monday evening the Borough Council hired two new police officers. These hiring’s will allow two additional police officers to be stationed at South Plainfield Public Schools and will supplement the already strong security measures enacted by the Board of Education and the South Plainfield Police.

The hired officers are part of an interlocal agreement ...

Bookmarks

The South Plainfield Public Library will be open this Sunday, June 24 from 1:30 PM – 5 PM.  This is the last Sunday the library will be open until September.  During July and August, the library will be closed on Sundays, but the rest of the hours during the week will remain the same.

Come join us Monday, June 25 at 6:30 PM for Monday Night Movies.  The selection this week ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Ends Its Year with a Big Banquet

Our country has a long and rich history of service clubs contributing to the growth of their communities but there have been signs in the past two decades that interest in these groups is waning.  Not so at Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield.  Thanks to the efforts of Membership Chair Grace Bertucci, this past year seven new members joined this relatively small group of ...

Press Releases

SPARC RECEIVES PROCLAMATION & GETS READY FOR ARRL ANNUAL FIELD DAY

June 22, 2018

SPARC RECEIVES PROCLAMATION & GETS READY FOR ARRL ANNUAL FIELD DAY

The Borough of South Plainfield has issued the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club(SPARC) a Proclamation at Borough Hall, on June 18,2018 at 7 PM.

The Proclamation is honoring the annual ARRL Amateur Radio Week, June 18th through June 24th and the amateur radio operators nationwide for their public service to the ...

Summertime Air Quality Issues

Summer weather can be harmful to your health due to air pollutants like ozone, mold, and moisture that are more prevalent both inside and outside than they are during cooler months. 

Sunny days, warm temperatures, and light winds don’t allow pollutants to be cleared from outside air. Instead, they encourage the formation of ozone, a leading air pollutant.  Ozone is ...