SHAMONG - There are many milestones and records that are measured for high school athletes. As a hitter in softball, 100 career hits is one of those lofty benchmarks.
Keep in mind though, any record is only measured through games played at the varsity level. Translated, that means that unless a player is on the varsity roster and actively playing as a freshman, there is fewer time to achieve these records.
For Washington Township junior Jessica Hughes, she collected her 100th career hit Thursday as the Minutemaids improved to 2-0 with an 11-1 win at Shawnee. The defending Group 4 state champs have scored 31 runs in their first two games.
Hughes came into the season with 94 hits. She got three in her team's season opener -- a 22-0 win over visiting Timber Creek Tuesday -- then added three more knocks Thursday to reach the century mark. Thursday's third hit, No. 100, was a long double that missed the fence by about 10 feet.
"Jessica hits for power and average," said her club coach John Biasi. Biasi, who does not coach the Washington Township High School team, was on hand to wacth his player reach the milestone. "She has natural hitting ability with a smooth left-handed swing."
He should know, after all his New Jersey Gators Gold club team competes at the highest levels nationally, and Hughes is a central part of that team. The gifted shortstop hepled lead the team to a 12th-place finish at the ASA Gold National competition in Clearwater, Fla.
Hughes went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored Thursday. Coming into the game, she admits she simply wanted to put the 100th hit behind her.
"I was hoping to get it last year but I fell short," said Hughes after Thursday's win. "At each at-bat today, I was nervous, but when I hit that one, I knew it was going to drop in."
She's glad the pressure of reaching the milestone is over, but Hughes is now pursuing even rarer air -- 200 hits for her high school career. "I'm happy to have achieved this. My coaches and teammates have been a big part of it."
Hughes, who has already verbally committed to Fordham University, is glad she has her college search in the rearview mirror. She says that she can relax a bit more and focus on her game, her academics, and enjoy the high school experience. But with loftier goals to pursue and a Group 4 state championship to defend, Hughes will still be working hard on the diamond.