For four years, she dominated in the circle at Livingston High, pitching to a higher level than what was ever seen before in Lancer-land.
Jess Peslak completed her high school softball career last spring with some astounding numbers. Among her accolades were leading Livingston to back-to-back Super Essex Conference, Essex County Tournament and North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 crowns in 2012 and 2013.
I often wrote ‘Get Your Popcorn Ready’ anytime Jess would pitch in a big game. Well, now that she’s a freshman at Hofstra University and pitching there, it’s time for a new era for one of my favorite all-time high school athletes.
So far, so good, said Peslak in discussing the transition to college.
“Things have been going really well,” Peslak (AKA Secretariat) told me earlier this week. “It’s been a huge transition, but I’m finally starting to get used to our routine of 6 a.m. (weight) lifts and practice at 3 p.m. everyday. I’m learning so much about pitching and the game of softball, in general. I’ve already seen a great improvement, in not only my strength and endurance, but also my pitching. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Peslak pitched in a fall game at Branch Brook Park on Oct. 6 and was the winning pitcher, in relief, as Hofstra rallied to defeat Temple.
It was interesting to see Peslak pitching to Temple’s Sarah Prezioso. The last time they faced each other was late in the 2010 high school season when Prezioso, a senior at Bloomfield and one of the state’s dominant hitters that year, hit against Peslak, then a freshman at Livingston. Peslak recorded a pair of strikeouts and had a no-hitter in that game until Prezioso led off the seventh inning with a bunt single.
Afterward, Prezioso sought Peslak out to say congratulations on a tremendous game, which the Lancers eventually won, 2-0.
“That meant the world to me that day,” Peslak said. “It was nice facing her again (on Oct. 6).”
Prezioso fouled off a number of pitches on a 2-2 count before flying out to deep center. Hopefully, the two will meet again during the spring season.
In the meantime, it was good to hear from Secretariat, as she gets settled into the college scene. Not so surprisingly, she’s doing well in the classroom, too. And if she’s becoming an even better pitcher than we saw from 2010-2013, there will be plenty to talk about in the years to come.