Rachel Wyetzner is enjoying a highly productive –and special– senior softball season for Metuchen High School.
The catcher and third hitter is batting .560 with three home runs, 17 runs batted in and 26 runs scored.
This season became special, too, when she slammed her 100th career hit, a single to left field, in Metuchen’s 13-1 home victory over Middlesex High School on April 24.
“She works the count until she gets a pitch she wants, and then she doesn’t miss very much,” said Metuchen coach Hannah Thomas.
But Wyetzner’s success this spring is not merely individual. She is the centerpiece of a prolific Metuchen lineup that has scored 127 runs in 14 games, an average of more than nine per contest.
At 8-6 with seven regular season games to go, the Bulldogs are in position to qualify for the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 sectional tournament. If they get in, they will have one of the best lineups in the bracket.
Wyetzner has driven in a lot of runs because the two batters in front of her, sophomore centerfielder Noelle Leaf and junior shortstop Julia Fenton, are often on base.
Leaf is hitting .346 with five walks. Fenton is batting .489 with 23 hits.
Both players keep defenses off balance by bunting, slap hitting and all out swinging on a regular basis. Fielders never know which one they will do at which time. And once Leaf and Fenton put the ball in play, they are so fast that they put the onus on defenders to make clean plays.
“They try to do the opposite of what teams think they will do,” Thomas said.
Those are the headliners, but the Bulldogs have a slew of quality hitters below Wyetzner, too. The senior, after all, has scored more runs than she’s driven in this year.
Senior first baseman Bridget O’Connor, sophomore outfielder Annika Fricke and senior second baseman Emily Glutz all have nine RBIs or more this spring.
“Bridget is great at putting the ball in play,” Thomas said. “She makes contact and can hit to both sides.”
At the bottom of her lineup, Thomas even has another leadoff type who can turn the order over. Junior third baseman Arielle Benderly is hitting .467 with eight walks.
Thomas did not expect Benderly to be one of her best hitters. That’s why she put her near the bottom of the order. But even after Benderly started hitting, the coach kept her there.
“We can hit top to bottom when we’re on,” Thomas said.
“Everyone is contributing,” Wyetzner added.
At the very least, Metuchen will annoy opponents in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament and in the state sectional field. At most, the Bulldogs might even make a run in Wyetzner’s last high school campaign.
“I’m hopeful for the GMC,” Thomas said. “And for the sectional, we’ll probably draw a bigger school. We don’t mind that. We want to surprise people.”
“Rachel is our best hitter but any of them can produce,” she added.
Metuchen’s best hitter will graduate after the postseason. Then she will matriculate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she may or may not play softball. Wyetzner will be a pre-med major because she wants to become a doctor, but she is talking to the school’s softball coach, too.
“I may play but it will be a walk on situation,” Wyetzner said.
“She might be too busy but she can be a collegiate player if she wants to be,” Thomas added.