WALL TOWNSHIP - Pennsville senior Dawn Curry, who has scored more than 100 goals in soccer, recorded more than 100 hits in softball, and tallied more than 1,000 points in basketball, took some time off to prove she was human.
Now that every game is more important than the last, Curry is back to her old, spectacular self.
The senior shortstop and leadoff hitter collected two hits, three walks, two runs and two RBIs yesterday to power the Eagles to a 9-1 victory over defending state champion Florence in an NJSIAA Group 1 softball semifinal at Wall High School.
In making its first trip to the final since winning Group 1 in 2002, Pennsville (20-4) will play High Tech, a 4-2 winner over Pompton Lakes, Saturday in Toms River.
The Eagles were without second baseman Dana Watkins, who hurt her finger in a travel-team game on Sunday. Kristin Garvin moved from left to second, Julia Morgan filled in at left, and Curry made sure it was all moot.
"I had been in the worse slump, like, ever, and I finally came out of it in the playoffs," Curry said. "I'd been in a slump for 10 games; I couldn't get anything going. I don't even know why I was still leadoff [hitter], to be honest.
"But I've been feeling good about these past couple playoff games. I'm a little nervous in school, and once I get here, I'm fine."
She looked mighty fine in the third inning, when she launched a ball about a foot foul over the left-field fence. It was still scoreless then, and Eagles coach Herb Bacon worried that it might be one of those days.
"Yup, I thought so," he said. "But I just had faith in my kids, my pitcher [Rachel Coleman]. And Dawn's my leadoff hitter, I don't care what she says. She's the spark plug."
After her near-homer, Curry worked a walk, and she and Ashley Minch scored on Katie Gaskill's double. Florence (17-7) got one back in the bottom of the fourth on Carlie Maple's double and Kelly Garganio's single, but the Eagles put it away with a six-run fifth. Curry and Lindsay Snajowski had two-run singles in the frame.
"We have a couple slow innings in the beginning," Curry said. "Once we start hitting, we get a rally like today."
Florence's last chance came in the fifth, when it loaded the bases on two errors and a hit batsman before Coleman got a groundout to short to end the threat.
"That was huge," Bacon said. "I had some butterflies in my stomach. She's not a power pitcher, but she works the ball around and lets her defense help her."
Coleman finished with a four-hitter with five strikeouts, while Megan Knott went 4 for 4 and Kelly Kline added two hits.
And Curry kept looking like her old superhuman self.
Pennsville 002 061 0 - 9 13 3
Florence 000 100 0 - 1 4 2