Edison girls enter season with plenty of potential

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — The Edison High School girls softball team ended the first week of the 2004 season 2-2, with wins over Perth Amboy and Cranford.

In their two losses, the Eagles were victims of 1-0 games to both Piscataway and Hunterdon Central.

In the season opener against Perth Amboy, junior Kelly Karp pitched four scoreless innings before classmate Carrie Mokar relieved Karp in the fifth to finish the 13-0 shutout.

Senior catcher Vicki Lanza led the offensive attack for the Eagles, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and senior center fielder Ashley Karug went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Mokar and Lanza are the only returning starters from last year’s team (18-8) that advanced to the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals and the second round of the state tournament. Their experience and leadership have proven to be invaluable in the young season that has been plagued with inconsistency.

"We haven’t been consistent," Edison head coach Kim Schoemer said. "We have the ability to stay in games with good teams, but we lack the aggressiveness we should have when we are playing teams we should beat."

In the second game of the season, Karp was just as effective from the mound recording her second shutout in the 4-0 win over Cranford. In the win, Karp allowed just five hits and one walk while striking out eight Cranford batters.

"Kelly is a lefty and this poses some problems for opposing hitters," Schoemer said. "She moves the ball well, has good speed, and she makes it difficult for hitters to focus. As she develops more confidence and learns how to call games, she will be even tougher."

Karp got all the support she needed from Mokar’s 2-for-3 day at the plate, including a triple, and Lyndsey Balinskas’s two-RBI single that proved to be the game-winning hit. Karug went 2-for-4 in the win.

In her first four games, Karp is 2-2 but has allowed just two runs. As the team’s No. 1 starter, she is expected to see plenty of action this week as the Eagles play host to East Brunswick at 3:45 p.m. Friday, before traveling to Hillsborough at 11 a.m. Saturday.

A pair of freshmen infielders are expected to play a pivotal role as the Eagles look to compete for the GMC Red Division title. Shortstop Stephanie Shields and third baseman Katie Stryker usher in a new era in Eagle softball, and will likely see their roles expand as the season progresses.

"Katie and Stephanie are definitely players," Schoemer said. "It’s nice to see them working hard and making a contribution this season."

This year’s Eagle team is looking to looking to get the bats swinging and put some runs on the board after two one-run losses.

"Our hitting has been inconsistent," Schoemer said. "The team is excited and positive, but we have to become more aggressive in the batter’s box. This is a brand new team, and it takes time to get everything going."