SOUTH PLAINFIELD - It’s no secret that Katherine Vill has been a reliable weapon in the circle for the South Plainfield High School softball team in the past few years. Today, the senior pitcher reached a milestone that further etched her place as one of the top pitchers in the program’s illustrious history.
The Lady Tigers (21-3) hosted Somerville in the first round of the North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 tournament earlier today. A shutout effort from Vill led South Plainfield to a 7-0 victory, which gave the pitcher her 82nd career win, the most in South Plainfield history.
Heading into today’s game, Vill wasn’t aware that she was one victory away from breaking Joy Walter’s 81 win mark. Afterwards though, she was ecstatic to have reached the historic milestone. Ville gave up just two hits in today’s shutout win and struck out three while walking one.
“It feels amazing,” Vill said. “I didn’t even know, because they didn’t want to tell me so I wouldn't’ be nervous. It just feels amazing.”
South Plainfield head coach Don Panzarella said Vill’s mark is especially impressive when you consider how many talented pitchers have come through his program. South Plainfield’s former pitchers include greats like Jessica Senz, who gave up no runs in the 2005 postseason run that ended with South Plainfield winning a state championship, and Kean University’s current standout pitcher Shannon McMahon.
“To happen here in South Plainfield, with all the great pitchers we’ve had, it’s outstanding,” Panzarella said. “Vill had four great years here, and the kids who are just behind her (in wins) were awesome. It says a lot. It’s awesome to think about it, that she’s up their with those kids. She works hard and she deserves it. She keeps us in every game we’re in. She really doesn’t let us done, and that’s what makes her a winner.”
Caity Hughes and Jillian Hoboloski both hit two-run homers to contribute to the win. Hughes also hit two triples, while Hoboloski hit a double and a single.
While most things have been going pretty well for the Lady Tigers in their tournament play, they did have one setback they had to deal with today. The Lady Tigers’ starting catcher Camryn Schaeffer was out with an injury. Julie Davis filled in as a catcher while Danielle DeCarlo stepped up for Schaeffer as the designated hitter. Both replacements had serviceable outings for the Lady Tigers, but Panzarella says he hopes to have Schaeffer back in time for their Saturday GMC tournament game against J.P. Stevens.
“She wants to be, but we’ll see,” the coach said. “If she can catch, she’ll catch and if she can’t hit we won’t hit her. Whatever we can do to get her in there.”
The coach and his players are all excited to take part in Saturday’s game. J.P. Stevens handed the Lady Tigers a 2-1 loss recently, so South Plainfield is eager to get that win back in a high stakes environment.
“I’m excited; They beat us once so we know it’s going to be good competition for us,” said Vill. “It’ll be a good game, and I always like the good games.”