Courtney Wengryn called it “the greatest game of my life.”
Her softball coach at Hillsborough High School, Cheryl Iaione, said it was “one of her better days.”
But of course, it was Wengryn’s catcher since their Hillsborough Parks and Recreation days, Emily Orr, who described the performance best.
“She was using all her pitches and everywhere I put my glove, that’s where they hit,” Orr said.
On May 10 at Torpey Field in Bridgewater, Wengryn earned the biggest victory of her three year career as the Raiders’ primary hurler.
In the Somerset County Tournament championship against Ridge High School, the junior tossed seven innings of one run ball and led Hillsborough to an 8-1 victory, the program’s first Somerset County title since 2014.
Wengryn also slashed a two run double to centerfield in the second inning that gave her, and the Raiders, a comfortable lead. Hillsborough led 6-0 after two innings, and Wengryn could just relax and mix up her pitches.
“Once you have a lead as a pitcher you’re not stressed,” she said. “I just focused on the next batter.”
“Courtney was pounding the zone and getting ahead in counts,” Iaione said.
Wengryn was on, but Ridge was a tough opponent. The Red Devils beat Hillsborough on April 4, 8-4. They also upset top-seeded Montgomery High School, 3-2, in the semifinals of the Somerset County Tournament.
So the Red Devils made Wengryn work through every inning. The junior surrendered nine hits and did not pitch a single 1-2-3 frame.
But with encouragement from Orr, she got out of every jam.
“With the bases loaded, I went up to her and said, ‘Calm down, we got this,'” Orr said. “We’ve been playing together since we were six.”
Wengryn has been Hillsborough’s rock all year, with a 2.85 earned average in 85.2 innings. She also pitched well in the Somerset County championship last spring, allowing no earned runs in seven frames in Hillsborough’s 3-1 loss to Montgomery.
Iaione, the Raiders’ 25th-year coach, knew that Wengryn could handle the moment, and the baserunners. She never considered pulling her veteran hurler.
“It was her game,” the coach said. “She deserved that.”
Wengryn provided the pitching…and a lot of the hitting. But the rest of the Raiders delivered as well. Hillsborough rocked 11 hits and didn’t strike out once.
Senior third baseman Julia Kwiatek bopped a first inning homer to open the scoring. Later in the inning, senior outfielder Karlie Manco hit a sacrifice fly and sophomore first baseman Sierra Skala ripped an RBI single.
Iaione had been pining all spring for her Raiders to play a complete game. They finally did it in the most important contest of the season.
“This team has to just hit,” she said.
Now Hillsborough will have to keep hitting in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournament. Iaione’s club also has not won a state sectional title since 2014.
This club is capable of breaking that drought as well. Hillsborough is the No. 7 seed in the state sectional bracket.
“If we play our game we can make a run at the state title,” Iaione said. “And I expect us to play good softball.”
“In my years, we haven’t gotten past the state quarterfinals,” Wengryn added. “So we’re determined to get to the semis or championship.”