Alicea will do any­thing for the good of the ‘Skins

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By John Glee­son

Many ele­ments sparked Ne­shaminy’s mag­i­cal run to the state cham­pi­onship game. They fea­tured dom­i­nant pitch­ing, timely hit­ting and clutch field­ing. Yet per­haps the most im­por­tant fac­tors lead­ing to suc­cess were their depth and adapt­abil­ity.

Se­nior Selina Alicea def­i­nitely char­ac­ter­izes the team-ori­ented think­ing dis­played by all the ‘Skins. A re­serve at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, Selina was ready to step up when in­juries plagued Ne­shaminy. Go­ing into the dis­trict play­offs, start­ing catcher Sam Of­fen­back came down with mononu­cle­o­sis. When third base­man Ju­lia McGovern re­turned to her old spot be­hind the plate, Selina ea­gerly jumped to man the hot cor­ner.

Her rea­son­ing was sim­ple. She loves her team and wanted to help any way should could. “We’re a fam­ily. We’re all sis­ters. We’re ex­tremely close,” she said.

The self­less think­ing con­tin­ued as Ne­shaminy dis­posed of their first three key­stone op­po­nents, set­ting up a cham­pi­onship show­down with Canon McMillan. Selina rel­ished her new role.

“I feel great that I get the chance to ac­tu­ally play in a state cham­pi­onship game. It’s a great feel­ing to have to step in and be good enough to fill in for Ju­lia when she has to go be­hind the plate.”

Selina’s prow­ess at third comes from ex­pe­ri­ence. Play­ing soft­ball since she was six, she proved she had both the men­tal and phys­i­cal at­tributes nec­es­sary to be in the mid­dle of the di­a­mond ac­tion.

“When I was younger, I played sec­ond base and my coaches said I had a good arm. I’ve been play­ing catcher and third be­cause of my arm.”

That suited her fine. “I am re­ally torn be­tween play­ing catcher and third. I’d rather re­act to the play than think about it. I like the quick reaction time re­quired. With catcher, you’re in ev­ery play. It’s just awe­some.”

Play­ing third grants her a sim­i­lar ac­tion-packed as­sign­ment. “You re­ally have to work hard at third and keep your head in the games. If you take your head out of the game and they lay down a bunt, you won’t be fast enough to get it. If you’re up to close for a bunt and they slap it at you, you won’t be able to re­act.”

In the all-im­por­tant 3-2 semi­fi­nal win over North Penn, Selina’s alert­ness proved es­sen­tial. In the bot­tom of the fifth in­ning, she thwarted a bases-loaded Maid­ens rally by stop­ping a hard grounder and then step­ping on third for the fi­nal out. That play loomed big as North Penn ral­lied in the sixth to pull within one run. Carly Cole­man ended that threat by mak­ing a div­ing catch in left, leav­ing the ty­ing run stranded on third base.

bn­ter­ing

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semi­fi­nal, Ne­shaminy re­al­ized they were fac­ing a tough op­po­nent. The fact that they had beaten North Penn 2-0 in the dis­trict semi­fi­nal meant lit­tle.

“We knew they would come out hard and try to beat us. We had to come out harder. The key was never giv­ing up. bven when they got those two runs and we were scram­bling in that one in­ning, we kept say­ing ‘guys don’t give up. iet’s get out of this.’”

The ‘Skins showed their typ­i­cally de­ter­mined play when they scored two runs in the top of the first. iau­ren Quense sin­gled and Ju­lia McGovern was hit by a pitch. Courtesy run­ner brica Mo­han scur­ried home on a dou­ble by Sarah Snider-ieon­hauser. Sam Of­fen­back plated McGovern with a sin­gle. Ne­shaminy ex­tended their lead to 3-0 in the fifth when McGovern walked. Courtesy run­ner ho­raima Dud­ley scored af­ter con-

sec­u­tive sin­gles by Sniderieon­hauser and Of­fen­back.

The 3-2 vic­tory set off a spir­ited oed­skin cel­e­bra­tion.

“It was the great­est feel­ing. We al­ways say win the last game. That was a great feel­ing know­ing we were go­ing to the state cham­pion- ship game.”

For Selina, the trip to Penn State is a beau­ti­ful cli­max to her last sea­son of scholas­tic ball.

“I’m so ex­cited and amazed by it. I can’t wait to be on that field and see all the peo­ple there.”

All her ded­i­ca­tion and sac­ri­fice has def­i­nitely paid off.

Diana LaPolombara gets a good swing in re­cent PIAA pair­ing.

Se­nior hurler Lau­ren Quense gets ev­ery­thing into the pitch.

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