The Colonial Conference is an athletic conference consisting of public high schools located in Camden County and Gloucester County, New Jersey. The Colonial Conference operates under the aegis of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. It was first established in 1945, and today it is composed of two divisions: Patriot and Liberty.
AUDUBON — In the South Jersey Group 1 softball semifinals Tuesday, Audubon came in as the second seed with a 23-5 overall record. Gloucester came in at 15-6 overall and seeded third.
But this one did not follow the chalk.
Hitting and errors were the story of this game.
Gloucester City smacked out 10 hits and played a clean defensive game with no errors while Audubon only mustered three hits and commited four errors. The result, a 6-2 win for Gloucester, which will travel to Tri-County Conference rival and top-seeded Pennsville Friday in the South Jersey Group 1 sectional final.
Pennsville advanced with a 10-3 victory over Riverside Tuesday.
After five scoreless innings, Skyler Pino hit a three run homer to lift Gloucester to a 3-0 lead. Pino went 2-for-2 and picked up four RBIs in the game.
In the bottom of the 6th. Audubon's Deanna Pineiro answered with a two-run blast of her own, getting the Green Wave within a run at 3-2. Pineiro went 3-for-3 on the day with the home run and two singles.
In the top of the 7th. Gloucester added three more insurance runs to open the game up at 6-2 and never looked back.
"We knew this would be a tough game, we worked hard all week. Our motto coming in was work hard play hard'" said winning pitcher Madison Chain.
Chain pitched a complete game - with five strikeouts, three hits allowed. She also went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and an RBI.
Audubon High School is always very pround of the achievements of its athletes and the bar is consistently set high. After all, Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco roamed the halls here and played on the Green Wave's fields.
During this academic year, a female student is making a little history of her own. Senior Valerie Pineiro has been having a banner year.
In the winter she reached 1,000 career points in basketball. That milestone occurred in a game agiainst Maple Shade and there was little doubt it would happen that night. Pineiro went into the game with 998 points, just two shy of the milestone. She ended up with 15 points in a lopsided win over the Wildcats.
Pineiro then entered the spring sports season with 77 hits, 23 shy of a second career milestone — 100 hits. Audubon was playing in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament and Pineiro stood three hits shy of No. 100. She got two hits in the first game against Camden Catholic in a 5-4 winning effort.
In game two of the one-day tournament, she needed just one hit to get to number 100 and she did it in style, ripping a solo home run to crash through the century barrier. Audubon won that game 8-7 over Gloucester Catholic.
By all standards it is pretty impressive to reach these milestones in two sports. Considering Pineiro is only the second athlete in school history to get 1,000 career points and 100 career hits makes it even more impressive. The only other athlete to achieve this was Nicole Cannon in 2002.
For Pineiro, this has been a very special year. She received a scholarship and has committed to play softball and attend La Salle University this coming fall.
"It is incredible, I worked so hard my whole life, especially at softball, it's an amazing feeling", said Pineiro.
She also has been able to play her senior year alongside her sister Deanna who is a freshmen and the team's shortstop. The sisters get to play side-by-side with one another not just figuratively, but literally. Valerie is the starting third basemen.
"It's been great playing this year with my sister, and to watch her make such an immediate impact as starting shortstop and lead-off hitter has been wonderful," Pineiro said.
For head coach Erin Small, who has been at the helm of the program for 14 years, the sisters have been fun to coach. "Valerie is an outstanding player, she is intense and the person we want in the batter's box when the game is tight," said Small.
This year things are going well for the Green Wave. They are now 19-4 and have already clinched the Colonial Conference Patriot Division title.
Small, who also teaches at Gloucester High and coaches field hockey there said Pineiro has been special to coach the last three years on the softball field. Pineiro transferred to Audubon from Williamstown after her freshmen year. "She has proved herself time and time again as one of our go-to players" said Small about Pineiro's overall play.
When asked about how she felt about matching Nicole Cannon's record Pineiro summed it up like this. "It's a wonderful feeling to make my mark on this school, which has a rich history in sports."