Alicea will do anything for the good of the ‘Skins
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.
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.