In the state tournament, great pitchers consistently help their teams win titles.
Robbinsville’s Lauren Fischer was dominant on Friday, as she recorded a no-hitter against seventh-seeded Raritan and the Ravens won their third straight NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championship with a 1-0 victory.
“We’re unhappy that we lost but not about how we played,” said senior left fielder Lindsey Carver. “Fischer was very good today, and I hope they go all the way and win the state title again.”
Fischer kept the Rockets (22-9) off balance the entire game, consistently getting Raritan batters to wave at pitches on the outside corner. The senior hurler ended up striking out 13 and walking four.
Raritan’s only threats occurred in the third and sixth innings.
With two outs in the top of the third, junior pitcher Emily Schaffer walked and Madison Bou, running for Schaffer, went to second when sophomore shortstop Daniella Marino reached on an error to put runners on first and second. Fischer then got the next batter to look at a third strike.
Marino led off with a walk in the top of the sixth before sophomore right fielder Bethany Evans dropped a very nice sacrifice bunt out in front of the plate to put Marino on second with one out. But Fischer rebounded again, getting sophomore center fielder Brianna Rinaldi to pop up to third base, then got the next batter with a strikeout.
Meanwhile, Schaffer and the Rockets’ defense kept the top-seeded Ravens (24-2) in check for most of the contest, as Schaffer allowed just a second-inning double to center by Fischer through four innings.
But in the fifth, the Ravens got their only run, when Gabby Manto led off with a single to right-center, was sacrifice bunted to second by Morgan Psiuk and scored when Felicia Schumacher snuck a single through the first-base hole into right field.
The only other time Robbinsville threatened was in the fourth. With Rebecca Freeman on third base after reaching on an error and getting to third via a groundout and wild pitch, Hannah Olshevski attempted to drop a squeeze bunt but popped it up. As Schaffer and sophomore first baseman Bethany Budner converged, the ball flicked off Schaffer’s glove and bounced into foul ground near first base, where second baseman Alexa Sammarco was covering.
Sammarco retrieved the ball and fired to the plate as Freeman attempted to score, but senior catcher Laura Gesario blocked the plate and applied the tag for the second out of the at-bat. Schaffer then got Megan Hevey to weakly ground out to Budner at first.
“We’ve been playing well together, and today wasn’t much different,” said senior third baseman Casey Bossert. “Everyody played their hardest and gave 110 percent.”
But the season is not over for the Rockets, as they have to come back on Saturday and play in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals against top-seeded St. John Vianney. Game time is 2:30 p.m. at SJV, with the winner going to the semifinals to face Middletown South.
“We’re a team that competes and plays hard every inning,” Gesario said. “We’re a very determined team, and we’re going to come back and get after it tomorrow. We can’t think like they’re the best team in the conference. We just have to play and play to win.”
2B: (Ro.) Fischer. WP: Fischer (18-2): LP: Schaffer (17-7).