Monroe center fielder Jena Pritzlaff would have played her final softball game as a high school senior on Thursday night when the Greater Middlesex Conference Senior All-Star game took place at Pitt Street Park in South Plainifield.
Unfortunately for Pritzlaff and several other Monroe seniors scheduled to play were unable to due to a conflict.
So Pritzlaff will head off to college without the all-star game as a memory, but with that of her game-winning run in the GMC Championship instead.
The Black team was victorious in the all-star game, defeating the Pink team 9-2 as Dunellen’s Lenna Kovalevich hit a two-run double in the third inning to spark the Black team.
Edison’s Tracey Balinskas hit a two-run homer to center in ninth inning for the Pink team’s only runs. The teams were a random collection of players from the various GMC teams rather than drawn along division lines to ensure both teams had enough pitchers.
Pritzlaff scored the winning run in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie as Monroe defeated East Brunswick 1-0 for its second GMCT title in school history, one year after falling 1-0 in the championship.
Standing on third base with no outs when teammate Cindy Foresta hit a blooper into center field, Pritzlaff knew she was scoring the second she saw the ball hit.
“I saw the entire team just get off the bench and my coaches running (down) the baseline with me, it was awesome,” Pritzlaff said. “And then I saw the other seniors, it was really cool.”
Pritzlaff will attend West Chester University in the fall where she plans on trying to walk on to the softball team, noting it’s something her parents are really pushing her to do.
And she’ll still always have the storybook ending to tell for her high school career.
“This was the best way to end my high school career because being a part of the team for four years, it’s not often that you end your season with a win or your high school career on a win so that was pretty awesome,” Pritzlaff said.