SUMMIT, NJ - Someone needs to call Summit High School Performing Arts maven Anne Poyner and inform her that there is a new star in her midst on the Kent Place Boulevard campus, as it appears that Jessica Natunen has a flair for the dramatic.
That's because, with one swing of her bat in the top of the seventh inning, the junior sent the Hilltopper Softball Team into the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 tournament semifinals. That rip, one of just three Summit hits on the day, was solo home run to left-center field in the top of the seventh inning and -- when combined with senior Kendall Blomfield's complete-game, five-hitter -- propelled Summit past Chatham, 1-0, at Shunpike Field.
Falling behind in the count 1-2, Natunen worked the count to 3-2 and then took Anna Lengner's next pitch deep.
In addition to Blomfield's tidy day in which she fanned five Cougar batters, the Hilltoppers got big plays from senior Veronica Thompson -- who threw out a would-be Cougar base stealer, and sophomore Gianna Acitelli, who cut down a potential Chatham lead-off double in the bottom of the seventh.
Lengner was extremely strong for the Cougars, striking out 14 Maroon and White batters, but Summit -- now 18-7 on the season -- found a way.
The sixth-seeded Hilltoppers will face the number-two seed, Governor Livingston, in the Group semifinal May 25 in Berkeley Heights. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.