When the weather’s not the best and the wind’s blowing, good softball coaches turn to the short game to win big games. Pinelands coach Keith Lowe made the right call on Thursday.
With Lyndsay McLellan on third base with one out in the 10th inning, Lowe called on Stephanie Healy to drop a squeeze bunt. Healy put one down between the pitcher and first baseman as McClellan raced home to score and the Wildcats (23-6) scored a 1-0 victory over Burlington Township in NJSIAA South Jersey Group III action.
“I saw the third baseman back and we took a chance,” Lowe said. “They were a really good team and did a lot of little things right, but I went with what they gave me and we went with it.”
In the top of the 10th, Burlington Township (20-5) had runners on the corners when winning pitcher Emma Neuweiler, who struck out 15 and walked none, fanned Mackenzie Pansey and then turned her back on the way to the circle as Laura Gould broke for home on a delayed steal attempt. Neuweiler fired to the plate and Gould tried to run through catcher Alison Waldron, who held onto the ball for the third out.
IN OTHER NJSIAA GAMES:
WALL 3, SOMERVILLE 0: Katie Wingle led off with a single in the second inning, went to second when Jackie Howarth reached on an error, and both runners scored on a double to left-center by Emily Mowen, and Sydney Canessa singled in Howarth during the fourth as the Crimson Knights (22-3) advanced in Central Group III. Katie Kilgallen went 2-for-3 with a double and Howarth allowed just two hits and walked none en route to the victory.
STEINERT 10, FREEHOLD TWP. 0: Sara Romonowski went 2-for-2 with a double to right-center, while Amanda Freyre and Rhianna Rucinski each added hits, but Steinert scored six runs in the sixth to seal the Central Group IV victory over the Patriots (18-7).
ALLENTOWN 6, MIDD. NORTH 0: Nikki Alfano, Amber Frick and Julie Gross each hit singles for the Lions (12-9), but the Redbirds (25-5) scored the victory in Central Group III as winning pitcher Hayley Peterson fanned two and walked none. Bryana Smith had two hits for Allentown, while Maddie Brunck swatted a home run.
NEW EGYPT 10, HENRY HUDSON 0: The Warriors (14-9) cruised in Central Group I and were led by winning pitcher Jenna Rodriguez both in the circle and at the plate. Rodriguez fanned five and walked none while tossing a two-hitter, and went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.
SOUTH HUNTERDON 11, KEYPORT 0: Gabby Piccini swatted her first career hit during her first career start for the Red Raiders, while older sister Danielle Piccini took to the pitcher’s circle for the first time this season and scattered nine, walked three and struck out three, as the Eagles cruised in Central Group I.