Washington Township junior right-hander Lauren Shannon was near-unhittable, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning and finishing with a one-hit shutout.
It was the first week of May and Bridgewater-Raritan was cruising along at 15-3, meeting all the preseason expectations of an experienced team that had gotten, virtually, its entire squad back from last year.
There were some questions in the circle with a first-year ace who had shared innings last season, but that, too, carried an air of positivity as the Panthers rolled along.
Then came a four-game losing streak, one that saw B-R get outscored 25-3 and get shutout in the Somerset County Tournament semifinals, as Bridgewater-Raritan was pummeled in consecutive games by Governor Livingston, Hillsborough, North Hunterdon and Watchung Hills – all quality teams, but games in which the Panthers should have been a lot more competitive.
And while it might have been easy for Bridgewater-Raritan to pack it in at that point, there was simply too much talent and too much heart for the Panthers to go down without a fight, and they’ve proved it, winning 10 straight since, including the program’s first-ever sectional title.
And after a 2-0 blanking of Ridgewood in Wednesday night’s NJSIAA Group IV semifinals, will be facing Washington Township in Saturday’s state final, p.m. “It’s something that you can’t teach,” said B-R coach Sandy Baranowski, whose team has outscored its opponents 54-9 during the current streak, including four by 10-run mercy rule. It’s the passion they have for the game and for one another. They are so into it.” FOR THE REST OF THE STORY, CLICK HERE NEWARK – The Bridgewater-Raritan High School softball team knew it would have its hands full with Ridgewood right-hander Lisa Higgins in Wednesday night’s NJSIAA Group IV semifinals.
As it turns out, it was the Panthers’ own ace that stole show.
Junior right-hander Megan Zinn fired her second consecutive shutout and her third of the state tournament, and a sacrifice fly from Deanna Centi in the fourth inning and a squeeze bunt by Katie Winchock in the fifth was all the support Zinn would need, as Bridgewater-Raritan advanced to the program’s first-ever final with a 2-0 victory over Ridgewood at Seton Hall University’s Ivy Hill Park.
“I had to have a big game,” said Zinn, who scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out five. I had to keep the long balls out of the picture and I knew my defense would do it for me when they did put the ball in play.
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