Marissa Spinuzzi (18U) will be the youngest softball player on the roster of the 18-and-under Hudson Valley Hurricanes when they begin their season next month.
If her sophomore season for Fair Lawn has been an accurate indication, the Fair Lawn ace is more than prepared for the challenge. In her first full varsity season as a starting pitcher, Spinuzzi has given her teammates plenty of confidence as the state tournament approaches.
She threw her first no-hitter and struck out 13 Saturday in a 7-0 victory over Cresskill. That performance followed Spinuzzi's two-hitter against Paramus Catholic a week ago, a game in which she struck out eight in a 2-0 win over a team ranked No. 10 in the North Jersey Top 25.
Spinuzzi considers Fair Lawn's win against Paramus Catholic the biggest of her career.
"They were expected to win and no one was even thinking we'd be in the game," said Spinuzzi, who earned The Record Female Athlete of the Week honor. "Or at least I didn't think we would be in it, but we fought hard."
Beating Paramus Catholic was vital in proving that 22nd-ranked Fair Lawn can advance in the North 1, Group 4 tournament, which begins next week.
"I think we have the potential to go far in the states," Spinuzzi said, "depending on who we face and how much we want it."
Regardless, Spinuzzi, sophomore catcher Alexis Bush and freshman second baseman Samantha Colca have helped form a strong core of Cutters who'll be back for seasons to come.
"I'm excited for the next two years, because now we're just starting to come into being a really good team," said Spinuzzi, who also plays volleyball and basketball. "And we have a few kids who are playing new positions, but they're doing well. So the next two years are going to be great, I think."
Also nominated: Holy Angels' Lisa Sesink-Clee, Indian Hills' Taylor Clarkson, Ridgefield Park's Stephanie Encarnacion and Ridgewood's Sarah DeVita for track and field.