Last week, the Snyder High School softball team faced Hoboken in a game that defies reality. There’s only one way to describe it – and that way should be with the final score alone. The final score was Snyder 30, Hoboken 29.
That’s no misprint. It’s the real deal. The two teams faced off in a contest that lasted nearly four hours and featured a total of 59 runs scored in just seven innings. It was clearly the highest scoring contest in Hudson County softball history.
“It was a battle,” said Snyder head coach Lucy Rojas, the Jersey City Police officer who breathed life into the Tigers’ softball program a few years ago. “Both teams were hitting the ball. But I was not happy at all. We are a lot better than that. I knew that we have such a good squad. We shouldn’t be giving up that many runs.”
If you think Rojas was upset, can you imagine how veteran Hoboken head coach Vinnie Johnson felt? His team lost that epic contest.
The Tigers fell behind by as many as 10 runs in the game twice, yet still managed to come back to win.
“I have to give my girls credit,” Rojas said. “We were losing the whole time and we just kept chipping away and chipping away. We just had to keep hitting the ball. We had to be aggressive. As long as they didn’t give up, they had a chance. And that was huge.”
The Tigers scored four runs in the fifth inning, eight runs in the sixth and five runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the game.
“We’re hitting the ball and being aggressive,” Rojas said. “We also can run.”
The Tigers had 19 stolen bases in the win over Hoboken. They also drew 12 walks.
“I’m a perfectionist,” Rojas said. “I want us to field the ball better. It’s like muscle memory. You catch the ball and throw it.”
It was the game that wouldn’t end.
“It was getting dark,” Rojas said. “We had to have the Department of Parks turn the lights on at Caven Point. I was just upset with the way we played. We never should be giving up that many runs.”
Rojas was certain that the Tigers were going to be highly competitive this season, considering that she had a veteran team back from the last time they played in 2019. Of course, the entire softball season was wiped out a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But then the team suffered a major setback five months ago, when standout pitcher Jordan Mendolla decided to leave Snyder and transfer to Hudson Catholic.
“I was disappointed,” Rojas said. “I can’t deny that. I was taken back. When I found out, the decision was already made.”
When the 2021 season began, Rojas knew that she had a freshman sensation in Leilany Amaya coming in.
“Once I heard the news, I called Leilany’s Dad and told him that he had to take Leilany to pitching lessons,” Rojas said. “She represented our future. I knew that this girl could throw the ball hard and she could throw strikes. She’s pretty consistent with her velocity and her control. She has been working on secondary pitches. I think she has a very bright future.”
The catcher is sophomore Mia Genao, who when she entered the program last season, she never got behind the plate ever.
“I asked her last year if she could catch and she said, ‘I can try,’” Rojas said. “She’s earned the position as the starting catcher. She’s worked very hard back there.”
Sophomore Adrianna Santos is the Tigers’ starter at first base.
“She has one of the sweetest swings I’ve ever seen,” Rojas said. “She’s also very good defensively.”
Santos had two hits, three runs scored, three RBI and four stolen bases against Hoboken. She also had four RBI in a win against Lincoln and earned the win on the mound.
Freshman Meredith Antonio is the team’s second baseman. She obviously comes from good stock. Her brother, Andy, is the Hudson Reporter All-Area shortstop Andy Antonio of Hudson Catholic. Antonio had four hits, scored three runs and had three RBI in the win against Lincoln that pushed the Tigers’ record to 4-3.
“She’s so aggressive,” Rojas said. “I get a kick out of her. She’s my firecracker. I think she’s trying to challenge me, but it won’t work. She’s going to be a great player for us.”
Senior Aaliyah Morales is the team’s shortstop. Morales had three hits, scored an incredible six runs and had three stolen bases in the win over Hoboken.
“She’s become a different player this year,” Rojas said. “She’s a lot more confident and sure of herself. She’s taken more of a leadership role. She’s ready to rock and roll.”
Sophomore Gianna Schertfeger is the team’s third baseman.
“She has a good arm and a powerful bat,” Rojas said.
Senior Nina Rivera is the starter in left field. She also sees some action at first base and she’s the sister of shortstop Morales.
“She was the reason why we were able to make the comeback against Hoboken,” Rojas said of Rivera.
Junior Nicole Borowski is the Tigers’ centerfielder.
“She covers a lot of ground out there,” Rojas said. “She also has a lot of speed. She’s always a threat to run.”
Junior Leslie Pereira is the starter in right field. Pereira had four hits, four runs scored and five RBI in the win against Hoboken. It was her RBI single in the bottom of the seventh that sent the Tigers home in the gloaming of the Ed “Faa” Ford Memorial Complex at Caven Point.
“She’s hungry,” Rojas said. “Both offensively and defensively. She wants to win. I like the way she plays with hunger. It’s doing whatever is necessary to win.”
Rojas said she had no idea what to expect with the Tigers. You can’t lose a star pitcher and expect to do well, but the Tigers are managing. After all, they scored a total of 67 runs in just three games last week. It’s an ungodly total and totally unheard of in local softball annals.
“I just knew we would be able to compete,” Rojas said. “I still expect us to compete.”
Two days after the barnburner with Hoboken, the Tigers played an independent game against North Arlington. The Tigers unfortunately lost, 28-25. As they say in softball, you can’t win all the games that sound like football scores. Come to think of it, who in their right minds ever even thought of that?
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com. You can also read Jim’s blog at www.jimhaguesports.blogspot.com, follow Jim on Twitter @ogsmar and listen to the Hudson County Sports Podcast, brought to you weekly by Stan’s Sports Center, 528 Washington Street in Hoboken, on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Listen to this week’s guest, St. Peter’s Prep head baseball coach Pat Laguerre.