2015 Softball: Sayreville’s Erin Fitzsimmons Is Player Of The Year

Erin Fitzsimmons, Sayreville
Erin Fitzsimmons, Sayreville
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Sayreville standouts from left Christina Misiur, Kelly Duffy, Erin Fitzsimmons, Emily Cabrera, Brianna Parisio

Sayreville standouts from left Christina Misiur, Kelly Duffy, Erin Fitzsimmons, Emily Cabrera, Brianna Parisio

SAYREVILLE — Before the 2015 season began, Sayreville softball coach Christa DeLucia walked senior Erin Fitzsimmons into the school’s gymnasium and pointed toward the softball banners.

There was a Red Division banner from 2006, but DeLucia was using this moment for some serious motivation, pointing toward the two  Middlesex County Tournament banners and the lone Central Jersey, Group 4 Sectional banner.

The last banner singling out a Middlesex County Tournament champ from Sayreville was from 1977, the CJ 4 banner was from 1978.

“We had been to the GMC Tournament finals when I was a sophomore,” said the Ramapo-bound Fitzsimmons, referring to a 3-0 loss to South Plainfield. “I was hungry to make it there again and win this time since I was a senior, but seeing those banners was really the motivation for the season. I was determined for our team to make a mark.”

With the nucleus returning from that team in 2013, Fitzsimmons had a solid year in 2014 — a 1.40 ERA with 102 strikeouts in 124 innings — but ’14 proved to be a lost season as commitment issues and injuries mounted daily in a frustrating 12-10 campaign.

A strong nucleus returned in 2015 as seven players who started in the 2013 title game returned to the mix.

Getting out of the gate to a 4-1 start, Fitzsimmons took to the mound in a Red Division game at J.P. Stevens on April 23.

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(Photo by John Wooding)

Giving up seven runs (two earned) in just 2.2 innings, Fitzsimmons left the game in the third inning after suffering what she called a panic attack.

“The next day in practice,  coach Olender (assistant Amanda Oldender) had a long talk with me,” said Fitzsimmons. “She was able to calm me down and I was able to regain my confidence.”

Perhaps that loss was a turning point because two days later, Fitzsimmons pitched a one-hitter against Old Bridge, striking out 12 batters.

In a game centered around pitching, Fitzsimmons proved to be the most dominating player at that position in the GMC — all 5-foot-4 and 107 pounds off her.

Fitzsimmons finished 17-5 in 2015 with an ERA of 1.01, striking out 174 batters in 145 innings. She was at her best in the post-season, going 7-1 with just 28 hits given up in 55 innings with 57 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.14. Along the way, Fitzsimmons led the Bombers to that elusive GMC Tournament title. Giving up just five hits in the Central Jersey, Group 4 final to Hunterdon Central, two of them happened to be home runs as the Bombers were denied, 6-2.

In seven post-season wins before the final, which included wins over J.P. Stevens, East Brunswick twice, Monroe and two-time defending sectional champ Hillsborough, Fitzsimmons was:

7-0 with 49 innings pitched, 23 hits allowed, 53 strikeouts, three earned runs yielded and an ERA of 0.42.

In four GMCT games, she was 4-0 with 28 innings pitched, 14 hits allowed, 28 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.47.

“This was my last year, so my mentality before the season was now or never,” said Fitzsimmons. “I had a great team and a a great defense surrounding me, which gave me the confidence every time out.”

Growing up, Fitzsimmons idolized her older sister Kristen.

“I started playing softball when I was seven because of my sister,” said Fitzsimmons. “I did everything my sister did, I followed in her footsteps.”

When Erin was a freshman at Sayreville, she started at second base while her older sister was the starting pitcher. When Kristen went on to play at the College of New Jersey, Erin moved into the starting role at pitcher and led the Bombers to three straight winning seasons, two appearances in the GMCT final and a berth in the Central Jersey, Group 4 final.

Next season at Ramapo, the Fitzsimmons girls will play against each other. Kristen recently finished her junior year at TCNJ, batting .300 and playing in the outfield for a team which finished 20-12.

(Photo by John Wooding)

(Photo by John Wooding)

Erin Fitzsimmons (left) and Kelly Duffy celebrate (Photo by John Wooding)

Erin Fitzsimmons (left) and Kelly Duffy celebrate (Photo by John Wooding)

Ryane Brush giving Erin Fitzsimmons a piggy back ride

Ryane Brush giving Erin Fitzsimmons a piggy back ride

Then mean look of Sayreville from left Rebecca Wehrle, Mary Kate Kersting, Erin Fitzsimmons, Kelly Duffy and Ryane Brush

Then mean look of Sayreville from left Rebecca Wehrle, Mary Kate Kersting, Erin Fitzsimmons, Kelly Duffy and Ryane Brush

The happy Sayreville stars against Spotswood from left Rebecca Wehrle, Mary Kate Kersting, Erin Fitzsimmons, Kelly Duffy and Ryane Brush

The happy look

 

 

 

 

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