SUMMIT, NJ - One hit away from throwing a no-no, Summit High School Varsity Softball ace Sami Auerbach struck out 11 Oak Knoll batters, walking just two, and went the distances as The Maroon & White blanked the Royals 4-0 at Memorial Park.
While having Auerbach slinging BBs is always a good life preserver, good teams use their full bandwidth of capabilities to find a way to win when one area might not be clicking.
Case in point: Summit's offense, which is having some issues scoring runs. Despite not lighting up the scoreboard, the Hilltoppers -- now an impressive 13-5 on the season -- found a way against their crosstown rivals, pushing what would prove to be the game-winning run across the plate in the first inning.
Jessica Hughes would notch an RBI off a sacrifice groundout that saw Taylor Thompson jog home. The chance for more went begging, however as, after two steals, the Hilltoppers would strand runners on second and third ending the inning.
Three scoreless innings would ensue that saw Auerbach firing seeds and getting some great fielding from sophomore Jessica Natunen, freshman Gianna Acitelli, and junior Alisha McDonnell.
The fifth inning would put an end to the batting drought as McDonnell would drive in Taylor Thompson who had previously doubled into center field extending the advantage to 2-0 before the Royals would retire the inning.
After yet another scoreless inning for the opposition, Summit was able to keep the wheels rolling behind a two-RBI single from Taylor Thompson after singles by Auerbach and fellow Captain Casey Nardino as well as a Hilltopper walk.
If one was to visit Merriam-Websterland and look up the definition of the word 'lock', they just might find a picture of Auerbach with a four-tun lead. The captain retired the side, and Summit kept their impressive season rolling.
Post-game, Hilltopper Head Coach Tim Simo looked to both his team's strengths and struggles when he said,, ”We have been struggling lately scoring runs but Sami keeps teams from scoring and the girls find the right time to drive in runs. Danielle Medina and Jess Hughes along with Taylor Thompson and Jess Natunen have been our biggest offensive weapons.”
Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.