Bordentown softball carries streak into end of season
Jun 10, 2013 07:47AM, Published by Community News Service, Categories: Sports
Jayme Kagel throws to first base during practice on May 20.
Bordentown Regional High School softball head coach Melissa Hodge always gets a little more cautious in mid-May. With conference and state titles at stake, Hodge and her squad hone in on anything that might affect their play, from field conditions to specific defenses. “We’re talking about a lot of different setups that maybe we didn’t touch on earlier in the season,” Hodge said. “We’re working on bunt defense and how to play against a slap hitter or something like that. We’re just working on fine-tuning everything. We’re coming out to practice on the dirt. We might have to go somewhere and play on a dirt field. You never know. Coming late in the season, the dirt field is something they have to get used to, rather than the turf.” At 13-4 May 22, the Scotties were set to put their preparation to the test. They have the chance to capture the team’s first conference title in five years pending an unscheduled game against Moorestown. Bordentown as of press time was tied with Burlington Township. “We’ve always wanted to win the division or get farther in states than we have before,” pitcher Robin Antozzeski said. “This is the year to do it. We’ve had a great season.” Hodge said Antozzeski has a lot to do with Bordentown’s success, both on the mound and at the plate. “She has been really good for us,” Hodge said. “She’s gotten the ball more than my other pitchers. She’s been really key for us. Hitting-wise, she’s come around, too, which has been really helpful as my third batter in the lineup.” Freshman Katie Schroeder has also been a top contributor. “She’s done a tremendous job this year,” Hodge said. “I can’t say that I was surprised. She’s been hitting and getting on base every time she comes to the plate.” Hodge sees that kind of consistency in the majority of the Bordentown lineup. Her team hits well and with authority from top to bottom. “We’ve always had a strong lineup,” she said. “You often have a lineup where the bottom isn’t so hot, but I think every one of these girls can hit. It’s nice because you know when you’re going into the next at-bat that it’s not going to be a one-two-three inning. I always know they’re going to come in and fight. We have a really good team this year.” Hodge has seen that desire to fight intensify now that the state and conference titles are coming into play. “I know the girls really want it,” she said. “They want it the entire season, but when it comes down to the final two weeks, they push a little harder.” The Scotties have been struggling with coming out strong all season. Hodge said they often have trouble getting started in the first and second innings. “Sometimes, we’re slow in the beginning, and then we decide to hit,” she said. “We have to establish a presence right off the bat. We’re trying to work on just coming out with a bang and keeping it that way.” Not anymore. Bordentown was riding a nine-game win streak into the end of the season, and Hodge said the team is stronger than ever. “The girls are on a roll right now,” she said. “It’s been really nice. They’ve been doing a good job. They’re having fun, and that’s important to me. Once you start playing in college, it’s still fun, but it turns into a sort of job. I’m glad that they can have fun and be successful at the same time.”