HAMMONTON-- Rancocas Valley is using one of the simplest approaches to accomplish its goals and make its way through the softball season.
When there’s a target on your back and you’re playing in so many high-pressure games, simple is better.
The Red Devils continued their already successful season with a 3-1 win over Kingsway on Sunday to win the Hammonton Tournament.
“We saw them in preseason, they were our first preseason game, which doesn’t say much but we know anybody we’re playing is a challenge because they’re all coming to get us, everybody,” RV head coach Rebecca Perkins said. “Whether it’s Kingsway, Northern Burlington, we’re going to have to come out and play every game. That’s going to be the determining factor for the rest of our season. Are we going to be able to continue this and come out and play hard every day?”
RV has made a name for itself this season by bashing the ball, including the three games before the final as it outscored opponents 39-8 in the tournament.
But the final brought a different type of approach, with help from the game by game mentality, the Red Devils had to play small ball against Kingsway.
Shyla Pastore brought in the first Red Devils run in the bottom of the third with a RBI single to answer Grace Fagan’s RBI groundout from the top half.
In the fourth, the Red Devils’ bats came alive to set up a scoring opportunity. Julie Contravo, the tournament MVP singled and Ashley Delany doubled to put runners on second and third.
Jocelyn Lawrence’s groundout brought in Contravo and then nine-hole hitter Jalian Young scored Delany on a single.
“You have to play pitch by pitch, inning by inning at bat by at bat because all the little things that come together in the end really help,” Young said.
The Red Devils credited a shift in mentality from a year ago and experience that has kept them up throughout the first month of the season.
“Our last practice before this we did a team bonding workshop kind of thing and I think it really helped in our game and our play and in the dugout,” Young said. “In the first game of the day, there was a really nice hit in the game, I forget by who, and the dugout got up for it and the next person got up and didn’t do as well, but I think when we stayed up and didn’t give up there and we kept cheering as hard we could, it helped.”
“Last year, when we had everybody together and we didn’t score, that’s where the confidence went down and I think that’s where it’s different,” Perkins said. “The girls are seniors, the freshmen are now sophomores and we have one junior so we have more experience. They know what to expect.”
It’s that mentality that has RV looking at bigger goals while working through the day by day mindset, starting with the Burlington County Scholastic League tournament.
“Goal wise, we have the BCSL tournament that we have to get through and really just staying together, playing as a unit for every game,” Young said.
“Today it felt good It’s been discussed in every game, we can’t have that little lull in the middle, which we do and the fact that we’re hitting the ball is so awesome to see because sometimes one bad play or one strikeout will take some of them out of the game and the fact that they’re able to stay mentally tough is awesome. That’s going to keep us going as much as the physical,” Perkins said.