Lawrence girls advance in MCT


By: Steve Feitl
   It was an up-and-down week for the Lawrence High School softball team.
   In regular season games, the Cardinals played a sloppy game on Saturday and lost, but rebounded to play a gritty game on Tuesday and win.
   Prior to that, the sixth-seeded Cardinals flexed their muscles in the Mercer County Tournament opener against McCorristin on Friday.
   Lawrence (11-3) defeated McCorristin, 6-0, to advance in the county tournament.
   Kelly Hanlon and Michele Van Arsdale supplied the RBIs, while Emily Panasowich scattered six hits over seven innings of shutout ball.
   The next day, the Cardinals didn’t seem like the same team, putting in a dismal effort against East Brunswick, losing, 11-1.
   Starting pitcher Jessica Goodstein held on for four innings, but seven Lawrence errors helped East Brunswick strike for six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
   But the Cardinals did rebound on Tuesday against Notre Dame.
   "We went from great to bad to great again," head coach Keith Fithen said Tuesday.
   With Panasowich pitching a two-hitter, the Cardinals needed just a little bit of offense. They got that in the bottom of the fifth inning.
   Van Arsdale got on base and was sacrifice bunted over to second base. So with one out, Liz Casale laid down another bunt to advance the base runner. On the play, Notre Dame threw wildly to first and the ball got away. Van Arsdale, who had already rounded third, came home and beat the throw back to the plate.
   That gave Lawrence a slim, but substantial, 1-0 lead. Fithen said the squad played excellent defense in the sixth inning and managed to make the key outs in the seventh to hold on to the exciting 1-0 victory.
   Fithen hopes the past week showed the team that mental mistakes and a lack of intensity can lead to disastrous results.
   "We can’t let down for anyone," Fithen said. "I think the girls now know that once you’re on top, it’s very easy to fall off."