Stellar season caps Reingle’s brilliant career

first_imgDisappointing team finish can BY GEORGE ALBANO Staff Writer BY GEORGE ALBANOStaff Writer SCOTT PILLING staff St. John Vianney senior Tricia Reingle put together another brilliant season for the Lancers, earning her second consecutive spot on the Associated Press’ All-State First Team. St. John Vianney girls softball coach Kim Lombardi really wishes her record for career pitching victories in the Shore Conference was broken this year. You see, Lombardi was a standout pitcher at Red Bank Catholic for four seasons from 1997-2000, during which she won 83 games, a Shore Conference record. Now fast forward to 2005 and Lombardi is the first-year head coach at St. John Vianney, where her No. 1 pitcher is senior Tricia Reingle, who came into her final season with 57 career victories. The Lancers won their first 18 games of the season and were 29-1 and ranked No. 1 in the state heading into the NJSIAA Parochial A state semifinals. Reingle, 26-1 at that point, had tied Lombardi’s conference record of 83 career wins and was primed to break the mark with one more victory. But Red Bank Catholic, Lombardi’s alma mater, pulled off one of the season’s most stunning upsets by beating St. John Vianney, 5-2, to advance to the Parochial A state championship game. Three days later, RBC beat Mount St. Dominick 3-0 to win the state crown. More importantly, though, they prevented Reingle from breaking Lombardi’s record and the Lancers from advancing to the state final where they could have won their second straight Parochial A title. Now you understand why Lombardi wishes Reingle had not only broken her record, but then added an 85th career win which would’ve given St. John Vianney a fourth state title in five years. “Records are meant to be broken,” Lombardi, who went on to pitch and play first base at Monmouth University, said. “So, yeah. Absolutely, I wish she had broken my record.” It actually took another Lombardi-coached team to protect the record. Red Bank Catholic was coached by Tracey Lombardi, Kim’s sister-in-law, who was also in her first year as a head coach. “We actually saw each other four times this season, and we won three out of four,” Kim noted. “Softball is softball, and family is family; so, we would always leave everything on the softball field.” But even the loss to RBC couldn’t dampen an otherwise outstanding season by the St. John Vianney, which finished 29-2 (the other loss came against Ocean Township in the Monmouth County tournament semifinals) and won its fourth straight Shore Conference championship. In fact, the Lancers defeated Red Bank Catholic 10-0 in the Shore tournament final. “They did a great job, just awesome,” Lombardi, who just graduated from college in January, said of her team. “The girls really worked together. They always remained calm and didn’t get nervous no matter what the situation. They just worked well together.” At the center of the Lancers’ success, of course, was Reingle, who was named all-state for the third straight year after finishing 26-2 with a 0.15 ERA, allowing only four earned runs and 49 hits in 184 2/3 innings. She also broke her own Shore Conference record for strikeouts with 384. This after going a perfect 30-0 with a 0.07 ERA as a junior while recording 364 strikeouts in 194 innings for the 33-0 Lancers. For her career, the right-handed Reingle, who’s headed for St. Peter’s College, was 83-5 with 1,131 strikeouts, the fourth most in state history. “She just went out there fearless every time,” Lombardi said. “She never complained. She just went out there and pitched, and won. She had a very effective change-up. It was one of the best pitches I’ve seen in my life, and I’ve been around the game for a long time. “It was just an awesome pitch,” she added. “You could tell people the change-up was coming, and they still couldn’t hit it.” But Reingle was only one reason for the Lancers’ success this season. Another was junior right fielder Amanda Rooney, who was also named first-team all-state and All-Shore after leading the team with a .411 batting average, collecting 46 hits and scoring 36 runs. “She was our leadoff batter and she did her job,” Lombardi said. “She just gave you 110 percent.” Another key junior was first baseman Katie Eder, who hit .402 and was named All-Shore and second-team all-state. “All year long, she came through with the big hit whenever we needed it,” Lombardi said. “She was very clutch. She had the big hit in the Shore Conference final against RBC with a three-run homer to make it 4-0. “Her and Amanda came up with big hits all year.” Not that it was unexpected of them. Eder hit .400 as a sophomore with 33 RBIs, while Rooney batted .346 a year ago. Lombardi also praised her senior catcher, Lauren Incorvia. “She came up with some pretty big hits, too,” the SJV coach said. “And she had a rocket for an arm, picking off people at first base. People couldn’t steal on her. She was just a great all-around catcher. “And my senior shortstop, Jamie Tupino, was one of the most underrated players in the state of New Jersey. She would steal hits from opponents with her fielding. She made plays where she would dive in the hole, get up and make the throw for the out. She’s the kind of player I would want behind me when I was pitching. “Plus she was a very fast base runner and would steal bases. She was a hardworking kid with a great attitude. She’s gonna do a great job at Cornell.” Tupino was one of several Lancers to graduate, along with Incorvia and the seemingly irreplaceable Reingle. But don’t shed too many tears for the St. John Vianney softball program. Plenty of talent returns, led by Rooney and Eder, one of four other pitchers on the roster besides Reingle. “Tricia was an outstanding pitcher,” Lombardi said, “but we have a few pitchers coming back next year who can get the job done. I’m really looking forward to next year.”last_img

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