Wisser, EHT stay hot in softball playoffs
By NICK KOSKO
Glory Days Staff Writer
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — If any parents have little girls who are interested in playing softball and they need proper instruction, moms and dads should be driving them to Egg Harbor Township to watch the Eagles play.
Top-seeded Egg Harbor Township put on a dominant pitching and hitting performance Wednesday afternoon in their South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinal matchup with No. 9 Shawnee. The Eagles won 10-0 in six innings via to the mercy rule and their top pitcher, Nicole Wisser, tossed a no hitter.
Wisser looked the part in the first inning as she put down the first three Renegades batters, including two by strikeouts. From then on in, Shawnee had virtually no shot of getting any sort of offense going.
“I pretty much stuck with fastball and curveball the entire game. (Catcher) Kate (Korté) did a great job calling it back there for me,” Wisser said. “I think it’s awesome that I got to do this in a playoff game, especially against a really aggressive team in Shawnee.”
Considering it was a playoff setting, Wisser said she kept the same mentality as she did in every regular-season game.
“It is a little more exciting, but other than that, I really can’t treat it any differently. I still have to go out there and pitch my game,” Wisser said.
Head coach Mary Dunlap was not surprised by her top pitcher's terrific performance. Wisser struck out four and allowed only four base runners the entire game.
“It’s all about preparation and mindset, and the girls came together and were ready to win,” Dunlap said. “Nicole wants to win. She is a different style pitcher than what Shawnee usually sees, so that definitely helped, but her mentality every time she steps on the mound is the same. She wants the ball, she wants to win.”
EHT led 1-0 after the first inning but a seven run second inning blew the game wide open. The scoring barrage was highlighted by senior third baseman Miranda Cincotti, who launched a towering 3-run double to extend EHT’s lead from 5-0 to 8-0.
“My coaches tell me to always look for my favorite pitch, and my favorite is outside and low. I waited deep into the count and was able to make good contact on the pitch I wanted,” Cincotti said. “We definitely came in more nervous because people have been doubting us, but we decided to play our game and we busted it open in that second inning.”
The Eagles nearly ended the game in the fifth inning but were held to a 9-0 lead. In the sixth, center fielder Emily MacNeil ended the game with a RBI triple that drove in catcher Korté.
Aside from Wisser, Cincotti provided a huge spark in all phases of the game. In addition to being the most vocal on the field and in the dugout, Cincotti fielded numerous ground balls at third base, keeping Wisser’s no-hitter intact.
“Wisser threw an amazing game, I need to put that out there first,” Cincotti said. “She was able to force a lot of ground balls and pop-ups for the entire defense to easily field. She’s just such a great pitcher and we all have confidence in her, and she has confidence in us so it works out perfectly.”
“The whole team was really excited but we were also a little nervous. But it helped that we got a lot of runs on the board.” Wisser said. “I had great defense behind me to help me out pitching-wise as well, and I could not have done it without my teammates.”
After two consecutive 10-0 victories in their first two playoff games, EHT is making its second straight trip to the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals. EHT (21-0) will face No. 4 Rancocas Valley on Tuesday at home at the Bruce Wohlrab Athletic Complex. The other semifinal features No. 2 Eastern Regional against No. 11 Cherokee, which upset No. 6 Toms River North in the opening round before beating third-seeded Millville, 3-2 in the quarterfinals.
“We know there are other teams in other conferences that are strong,” Dunlap said. “We are just taking this one game at a time and we are fine with being the underdog. We are just going to keep playing our game.”