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Gloucester City High softball hoping to reach finish line in state playoffs


Eric Goldstein/South Jersey Times April 3, 2013 11:07:17 PM EDT
Pennsville at Gloucester SB LMN_6668.jpgView full size Gloucester City's Madison McClintock smiles as she is congratulated on a two-run home run in the fourth inning by coach Dave Light during the softball game against Pennsville, Tuesday. Lori M. Nichols

 GLOUCESTER CITY NJ — When the Gloucester High School softball team won its last NJSIAA Group I state championship in 2009, current senior Madison McClintock was in eighth grade.

Since joining the Lions as a freshman, McClintock has had the privledge of winning two straight South Jersey titles. However, the big Kahuna has evaded her.

Now in her final year and having lost in the state semifinals the past two springs, though, McClintock and the rest of the seniors on the Lions are hoping this is the magical year when they join the prestigious state title club at the school.

The storied Gloucester softball program has captued four state titles and since 2000 owns seven sectionals crowns.

“It’s our main goal this season,” McClintock said after the Lions started off the season with a solid 3-2 victory over rival Pennsville on Tuesday. “To come up short definitely made me upset last year. This is our last year — as seniors — to do it.”

They came pretty darn close the last two seasons. Each time they were unable to get past defending two-time state champion New Egypt.

“We really haven’t talked a lot about last year and we just want to focus on one game at a time this season,” Lions coach Dave Light said. “But we can prepare for June now. We want to win the state title and we want to win our last game. Every team wants to win their last game.”

And because they didn’t last year, it has made them even hungrier this season. They put together a strong preseason and worked hard at practice, and the win over Pennsville was a good start.

“We think and know we can get back there,” said sophomore pitcherMadison Chain, whose sister Taylor won a state title with the Lions in 2009. “We all want to do it, especially for the seniors. It’s going to come down to continuing to practice hard and work on our hitting, fielding and pitching.”

The Lions lost Meghan Ryan, who led the team with a .450 batting average and was named team MVP, and pitcher Kate Boulden (10 wins) to graduation but returned everyone else. And the three sophomores that started last year picked up valuable experience while playing into June and in key battles during the regular season.

“The girls gained expereince every game regardless of whether it was the playoffs or not,” Light said. “They learned what it takes to win close game and under a lot of pressure.”

One thing they learned is championships aren’t won in June. The seeds are planted before April and the team must play fundamental softball right through the end of May.

Then, they will find out if they can three-peat at sectionals and are ready to finally get past New Egypt — or whoever is in their way — and grip that elusive state title.

“We are a young team, but we work together so well,” McClintock said. “We love softball so much, we work so hard at it. We know what it takes.”

  Contact Eric Goldstein at 856-845-9478or [email protected]


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