The Pennsville softball team has a good thing going, and its fantastic freshman pitcher wants to keep it that way.
Brooke Coleman has been in the circle for the Eagles since the season started and has propelled the team to a perfect record in the Tri-County Conference Classic Division.
When Pennsville faces division rival Salem on Thursday for the second time, the ninth grader will be going for a 10-0 record.
"To beat Salem again, we will have to go all out, be on our hitting, have no errors," Coleman said. "I'm very confident in the team. They have been hitting, too."
Pennsville beat Salem, 8-4, on April 15, pounding 15 hits and committing one error. In fact, the Eagles have made only two errors in their last four games, prompting Pennsville coach Beth Jackson to praise the team's defense up the middle.
"Brooke fields a lot, Caitlin [Tilton] and Casey [Kisielewski] work well together, and Brynn Buechler is good in center field, although she has missed games with quad muscle problems," Jackson said.
Tilton and Kisielewski play shortstop and second base, respectively. They bat one-two in the lineup and are followed by Coleman and Danielle Cornman. Those four have been productive at the plate, helping the Eagles score runs.
"We need to jump on them early, anybody, not just Salem," Jackson said. "Give Brooke run support so she can relax."
Pennsville jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning the last time the teams clashed. However, Salem answered in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-3 lead. The Rams' bats went cold after that.
"We started the game excited and aggressive and then flipped into a nonaggressive approach," Salem coach Steve Merritt said. "We have to maintain our momentum."
The Rams are 3-2 in the division behind senior hurler Allyson Parris. A second-year starter in the circle, Parris is working with Marissa Kohrherr, a first-year catcher.
"Pennsville is an aggressive team," Merritt said. "They're looking to hit the ball, no passes. We have to work the corners up and down."
A first for Kingsway. Kingsway, ranked No. 1 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, put a big notch in its gun belt Sunday by winning the Hammonton Invitational Softball Tournament, which celebrated its 30th anniversary.
It was the first time that the Woolwich Township team had won the 16-team, single-elimination tourney.
Kingsway shelled Vineland, 10-0, in the championship game, exploding for 13 hits, two of which were by the tournament's most valuable player, Dominique Ficara. The Hofstra-bound pitcher helped her own cause with two doubles and four RBIs.
The Dragons defeated Cherokee, Buena, and Washington Township to get to the final.
"This was a good tournament to win because a lot of good teams were there," third baseman Kelsey Dominik said.
A Royal upset. Unranked Cumberland's 6-2 victory over top-ranked Kingsway on Tuesday in a Tri-County Royal clash was a shocker. Cumberland entered the battle with a 5-10 record, but pounded eight hits off Ficara for the win.
The loss dropped Kingsway to 16-2.
Sterling shines. Sterling won its first Overbrook Softball Tournament on Saturday when the Silver Knights hammered Clearview, 18-2. Along the way, Sterling also beat Sacred Heart and Gloucester.
Because of previous commitments, Absegami and Oakcrest had to drop out of the tournament, which had been extended a week because of rain.
"The tournament helped because we saw different pitchers and we were hitting," Sterling coach Kelly Tallant said.
Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi at 856-779-3826 or firstname.lastname@example.org.