AUDUBON-- Meghan Ferry only had her eyes on home plate.
As Emilee Hillman raced to first and beat out a two-out infield single, Ferry darted home to score the only run in Gloucester’s 1-0 win over Audubon in the South Jersey Group 1 final.
“When I was running, my coach said the pitch before that I’m not stopping,” Ferry said. “I was set on home and that’s where I was getting.”
Hillman, who was 0-for-3 at the plate before her eighth-inning infield single, carried plenty of motivation to the plate.
“I did strikeout before and coach (Megan Mason) told me next time you’re up, you’re getting a hit so that really brought my confidence up,” Hillman said. “I went up there and I just did my best and just hit and I ran it out.”
The hustle play in the top of the eighth inning came directly after a terrific play in the bottom of the seventh by second baseman Jordan Howey, who got the ball over to first baseman Samantha Palese just in time after a bobble to record the third out and send the game to extra innings.
“We practice hard every day. We’re always out there practicing for hours. I think today we wanted it a lot,” Ferry said.
Gloucester left runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, as Audubon pitcher Sam McErlane worked her way out of a pair of jams.
McErlane produced the Green Wave’s best scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth, as she reached third after a single, but Gloucester pitcher Vanessa Pino locked in and stranded her pitching counterpart at third.
Ferry reached base with two outs in the eighth on a bloop single that was followed by Kylar Coughlin’s single to put runners on first and second.
That set the stage for Hillman, who hit a ground ball to short stop and just beat the throw to allow Ferry to score.
“If (Ferry)’s at first or second, she’s going home,” Hillman said. “It’s bound to happen.”
Audubon threatened once again in the eighth, as it put runners on first and second, but Pino was able to finish off the victory with a strikeout.
“I can’t even explain it,” Hillman said. “It’s just so crazy and we needed this, We really deserved it.”
“We play as a team,” Ferry said. “We pick each other up whenever someone does something wrong so it’s just all about playing as a team and keeping it together.”
Gloucester will face Point Pleasant Beach in the Group 1 semifinals on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Stockton University.
Gloucester 000 000 01 -- 1-7-1
Audubon 000 000 00 -- 0-5-1
WP: Vanessa Pino. LP Sam McErlane. 2B: Gabby Bobo, A.