LYNDHURST, N.J. – Facing two must-win games, the Felician College softball team came through with a sweep of the visiting University of the Sciences, 3-2 and 3-2, in the schools' Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Matera Field. With the victories, Felician qualified for the CACC playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Felician (16-32, 13-13 CACC) earned the No. 7 seed for the conference tournament, which commences on Apr. 26 at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. The Golden Falcons will take on No. 2 seed Caldwell College at 10 a.m. in the eight-team, double elimination event. Felician won its final seven CACC games of the season, and needed all seven to qualify. USciences (16-22, 13-13) was eliminated from postseason contention with the losses, finishing last in a four-team tiebreaker for the final three spots.
On Felician's Senior Day on Saturday, the Golden Falcons' lone senior, outfielder Grace Keller (Hoboken, NJ/Holy Family Academy) figured prominently in both victories. She walked and scored the game's first run in Game 1. In the nightcap, she drove in the eventual winning run, and made a diving catch in left field in the fifth inning with a runner on to preserve the one-run lead.
With Felician trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 1, the hosts loaded the bases with one out on a single, double, and walk. Freshman center fielder Zharde Sellona (Aliso Viejo, CA/Aliso Niguel) came through with a single over shortstop to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs. USciences pitcher Julie Shaw (Wyckoff, NJ/Ramapo) escaped further damage, but Golden Falcon hurler Kristen Tenwolde (Ramona, CA/Ramona) (9-16) worked around a one-out single to retire the Devils in the seventh and keep her team's postseason hopes alive.
Sophomore Alyssa Banca (East Rutherford, NJ/Becton) went 2 for 2 plus a walk for Felician. She drove in the team's first run with a fourth-inning single, and scored the eventual winning tally. Teammates Taylor Parker (Surrey, B.C./Semiahmoo) and Kelsi Ludwigsen (Havre de Grace, MD/Harford Tech) were both 2 for 3. Tenwolde went the distance on a 5-hitter, allowing no earned runs with two strikeouts and one walk.
Shaw (8-11) gave up eight hits with three strikeouts and Haley Kavelak (Middletown, DE/Middletown Area) was 3 for 3 with an RBI for the Devils.
All of the scoring in Game 2 came in the first inning. USciences picked two quick runs on back-to-back triples by Devon DeBellis (Marlton, NJ/Bishop Eustace) and Kerianne Jones (West Chester, PA/West Chester East) and an Erin Summers (Pitman, NJ/Pitman) sacrifice fly. But the Golden Falcons responded with three in the bottom of the frame.
After Sellona reached on a one-out error, Carissa Trujillo (Fresno, CA/Edison) and Ciera Clark (Granite Bay, CA/Del Oro) connected on consecutive doubles to tie the score. One out later, Keller drove a ground ball single through the left side for the 3-2 lead.
The pitchers took over from there. In her first start of the season, Devil junior Stacey Robertshaw (Easthampton, PA/Rancocas Valley) (0-1) did not allow another hit the rest of the way. She allowed one earned run on three hits in the hard-luck loss.
But Felician freshman Macy Chase (Sacramento, CA/Bradshaw Christian) (5-8) was up to the task. After the rocky start, only one runner in the final six innings reached third base off of Chase. She allowed six total hits, retiring the final two batters with the tying run on second base to preserve the needed victory. Felician shortstop Aimee Lopez (Riverbank, CA/Riverbank) ended the game with a diving stop of a ground ball toward the hole, getting to her feet and firing to first and sending Felician to the playoffs.
Chase struck out four batters and walked none. Clark's first-inning double gave her 33 RBI, extending her own single-season Felician record.
Keller was honored in Senior Day ceremonies between games.