Rain, the bane of spring scholastic sports, caused the postponement of many softball games in the opening round of the NJSIAA tournament yesterday.
Today, weather permitting, the action is set to start in South Jersey Groups 1 through 4.
The South B tournament, which is home to the top-seeded team in the region, St. Joseph of Hammonton, and South A play are scheduled to begin tomorrow.
Bordentown, a Central Jersey Group 2 team seeded second to St. Joseph, drew a first-round bye and is set to begin playing tomorrow. Central 1's Florence and Central 4's Rancocas Valley also play tomorrow.
"Rain makes it difficult for practice," said Millville coach Brooke Dixon, whose ninth-seeded Thunderbolts (14-10) are scheduled to play host Washington Township (10-6), the eighth seed, at 4 p.m. today because of yesterday's weather.
"We have only one gym, and we have to split it with the baseball team," Dixon said. "It becomes tedious and boring."
Township, the largest high school in South Jersey, has three gyms with batting cages. So the Minutemaids can practice indoors without too much inconvenience.
In what is likely to be the most competitive Group 4 game today, Township will field a young team with talent. Katie Margiotta, an all-South Jersey infielder and the only starting senior, leads a group that contains three freshmen, including No. 1 pitcher Alissa Schoelkopf.
Millville has four seniors who start and a sophomore, Katie Cox, in the circle. The Thunderbolts have a team batting average around .300 and play good defense. However, they have failed to win a number of close games this season.
In other Group 4 play, fifth-seeded Eastern (14-5) hosts Cherry Hill East (9-8), the No. 12 seed, which it defeated twice in the regular season, by 4-0 and 13-0.
Fourth-seeded Absegami (17-7) hosts 13th-seeded Cherokee (12-9), and Cherry Hill West (11-6), the seventh seed, hosts 10th-seeded Oakcrest (10-9).
In South Group 3, the best matchup appears to be eighth-seeded Audubon (12-9) hosting ninth-seeded Burlington Township (11-7).
In South Jersey Group 1, the game to watch is seventh-seeded Pitman (11-7) hosting 10th-seeded Salem (11-7), which has lost two close games to the Panthers.
The surprise of Group 1 has been the Gloucester Institute of Technology, seeded fourth. The Cheetahs (15-6) have a bye until tomorrow, when they host fifth-seeded Woodbury (9-8). They beat Woodbury, 18-0, on April 29, when the Thundering Herd were without their No. 1 pitcher, Liz Carter.
Coach John Holland said this has been his best team in four years at the helm.
"We have a young team, but they have jelled. They believe in each other," Holland said.
GIT also has a team batting average of .348 and Krysti Maronski as its pitcher. The sophomore is 11-5, and the Cheetahs have an eight-game winning streak.