Washington Twp headed Strong Season

Washington Twp headed Strong Season Washington Township headed a strong softball season for South Jersey teams

This was another impressive year in South Jersey for softball, and leading the way was Washington Township. The Minutemaids have been on a three-year run of recent dominance in both South Jersey and statewide.

Besides winning three consecutive South Jersey Group 4 titles, the Minutemaids have now won state titles in two of the last three years: 2013 and this season.

The Minutemaids completed a 31-1 season with a 1-0 win over Bridgewater Raritan in the state Group 4 final. Washington Township finished as the No. 1 team in the state according to NJ.com.

Junior Lauren Shannon pitched one of her top games during an impressive season, allowing just one hit.

Shannon ended the season with a 25-1 record and a 1.22 ERA. As the stakes got higher, she was better, throwing shutouts in both the state semifinal and final.

Washington Township senior shortstop Jessica Hughes was named the state’s Player of the Year by NJ.com. Hughes had 68 hits as a senior batted .654 with 54 RBIs.

The other team from South Jersey to play in a state final was St. Joseph’s of Hammonton. The Wildcats suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to Immaculate Conception in the state Non-Public B championship.

Trailing 1-0, Immaculate Conception won by scoring single runs in the sixth and decisive seventh inning.

St. Joseph, which had lost to Immaculate Conception, 5-0 in last year’s state final, finished its season 24-5.

The team leader was senior catcher Carly Testa, who joined Washington Township’s Shannon and Hughes on the NJ.com first-team all-state squad.

Testa hit .647 and led the state with 67 runs scored.

While these two were the only teams to earn a state title appearance this season, Paul VI came awfully close.

The Eagles beat the No. 2 team in the state, St. John Vianney, 1-0, in eight innings in the South Jersey Non-Public A semifinal.

Sophomore catcher Sam Sack hit a homer in the eighth inning to provide the winning margin. Senior Alexa Toner was outstanding in pitching the shutout.

Paul VI then saw its 20-6 season end with a 1-0 loss to the state’s No. 3 team at the time, Notre Dame, in the South Jersey Non-Public A final at Richard Stockton College.

With players like Sack leading the way, Paul VI, should be a formidable team next season if it is able to come up for a replacement for Toner.

In addition to those three teams, second seeded New Egypt won the South Jersey Group 1 champion, beating top seeded Pennsville, 8-3 in the final.

Third seeded Buena defeated top seeded West Deptford to capture the South Jersey Group 2 championship.

The Group 3 champion was No. 4 seeded Delsea, which defeated No. 3 Pinelands, 2-0 in the title game.

So there were plenty of clutch performances, but none more than Washington Township, which had the envied combination of great pitching and solid hitting throughout the lineup.

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