One swing.

One swing at the end of a long season.

One swing at the end of an illustrious career.

It didn't win the game. It changed the score but not the outcome.

Still, one swing summed up Jess Linquist and her skill and sense of the moment and significance to the West Deptford softball team.

"That was Jess," West Deptford coach Mandy Schramm said of Linquist's final swing as a high school player. "That was her, right there."

Linquist is the Inquirer's South Jersey player of the year in softball after leading West Deptford to its first sectional title in 20 years.

A senior first baseman, Linquist batted .541 with 33 hits, 11 doubles and seven home runs as West Deptford went 21-3 and captured the South Jersey Group 2 title.

"It was a really special season for all of us," Linquist said. "Just to win the conference title and the South Jersey title, it was something we all dreamed about and something we all worked so hard for."

Schramm said Linquist's "work ethic" was the key to her success and also the driving force in West Deptford's emergence as one of South Jersey's top teams.

Linquist was among the senior leaders who organized four-day-a-week workouts in the winter that provided the fuel that carried the Eagles through the spring.

"You work as hard as she does, you're going to get something out of it," Schramm said.

Statistically, Linquist might have put together a better season in 2015, when she had 53 hits with 20 doubles.

But she had fewer chances to deliver at the plate this season, as teams came to pitch around her, especially after she hit around .700 in April.

"For the longest time, I don't remember her making a soft out," Schramm said.

Linquist said she was focused more on team success this season.

"I felt a lot more pressure last year, when my reputation was starting to come out," Linquist said. "This year, I wanted to be the most selfless player I could be. If I had to take a walk to get on base, I was willing to do that."

Linquist, who has signed to play at George Washington University on a softball scholarship, generated 33 hits with 31 runs and 33 RBIs this season as West Deptford won the sectional title for the first time since 1996.

Linquist was 2 for 2 and drove in the winning run as West Deptford captured the sectional title with a 4-1 win over rival Sterling on June 2.

Five days later, West Deptford played Central Jersey champion Johnson in the state semifinals at Rowan University.

West Deptford was behind, 6-1, in the seventh inning when Linquist came to bat with the bases loaded. She said she just wanted to hit a line drive.

Schramm thought otherwise.

"There have been times when I can see her mind working, 'We could use a home run here,' " Schramm said.

It was one swing.

It was the last swing of Jess Linquist's career.

It sent the softball soaring over the center-field fence for a grand slam.

The Eagles lost the game, 6-5. So it was one swing that didn't alter the result.

But it did define the player.

@PhilAnastasia