The key for Williamstown was simple: Resist the magic of Minix, as in Kingsway pitcher Jamie Minix.
Williamstown did just that on Monday, and as a result won a softball battle Royal over Tri-County Conference nemesis Kingsway, 8-2.
The Braves' victory tightened the Royal Division race and altered the rankings by The Inquirer. Kingsway fell from second to fifth and Williamstown rose from ninth to fourth in South Jersey.
It was no small feat to beat Minix, a junior, who last season established herself as one of the best softball twirlers in the area while leading the Dragons to the division and South Jersey Group 3 title.
Minix, entering the game with Williamstown, had an ERA of 0.13 and an 8-1 record. The Braves sent those numbers askew by tacking on 13 hits.
"Jamie Minix doesn't give up 13 hits in three games," Kingsway coach Tony Barchuk said. "It felt good to be up by 2-1, then the roof fell in. I haven't seen an inning like that with Minix on the mound in three years."
Barchuk was referring to the bottom of the third inning, when Williamstown scored five runs on five hits to take a 6-2 lead. Poor defense didn't help Minix in the early going, and that is something that the Dragons will have to work on for the rest of the week, during which seniors take their class trip and the rest of the team practices.
"Maybe now we've gotten over the mystique of hitting her [Minix]," Williamstown coach Fred Powell said. "We always seem to come up short against Minix.
"I told them to put the ball in play, to force things. We have speed, too, and clutch hitters."
Freshman Jessica Martinez went 3 for 5 against Minix, including a two-run double in the third. She is fearless in the batters' box, Powell said, and she can hit.
"I didn't think that I was going to do that against Minix," said Martinez. "This was our best game hitting so far. We weren't in a slump. We just weren't hitting as well as we knew we could.
"This [Kingsway] was the best team in the conference."
Minix, a .435 hitter, slashed one of her team's six hits against Williamstown junior Rachel Matreale, a good screwball and change-up pitcher.
Matreale this season has a 9-2 record. The team is 10-2.
Marvelous Mehrer. Florence is 5-0, and the "0" should be stressed because no team has scored a run on the Flashes so far.
Melissa Mehrer has made sure of that by pitching five shutouts.
The senior has yielded just seven hits, including a one-hitter and a two-hitter in Burlington County League games, in which her ERA is 0.00. Meanwhile, Mehrer and her teammates have been scoring an average of 7.4 runs per game.
Florence coach George Chwastyk attributes Mehrer's early-season success to her being comfy, good defense and potent offense.
"Melissa is comfortable now that she knows where she's going to college," Chwastyk said. "And the kids behind her have been playing good defense and hitting the ball."
Mehrer, who has committed to Monmouth University, has helped her own cause with a .300-plus batting average.