Disappointing finish can’t tarnish Hawks’ success

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — The J.P. Stevens High School girls softball team finished an incredible year with two crushing defeats.

The first defeat came at the hands of Old Bridge in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament. Old Bridge walked away with a 2-1 win in the quarterfinals after 13 innings.

A day later, Westfield High School topped the Lady Hawks 1-0 after 12 innings in the sectional finals of the state tournament.

"I feel that the girls didn’t deserve the ending we had," Stevens head coach Pete Catenacci said. "Within 24 hours the entire season came to an abrupt halt."

Despite the back-to-back losses, Catenacci’s team finished the season 19-5 and winners of the GMC Red Division. Seniors Kendra Goss and Stephanie Marciano, and junior Becky Garibotto, were named to this year’s all-GMC team. The trio was joined by teammates Kristina Feltz and Caitlyn Seamster as selections to the all-GMC Red Division team.

Garibotto led the Hawks from the pitching circle this season, finishing an impressive 18-5 with an ERA of 0.41.

"Becky only gave up three runs in a game once this season," Catenacci said. "And the three runs were unearned."

Garibotto was also selected to the all-county team alongside Marciano. Marciano is this year’s scholar athlete at Stevens and is headed to Yale University, New Haven, Conn., next year. The two-sport athlete will be a member of the Bulldog basketball team next season. She batted .365 this season with 23 RBIs.

"Stephanie is an outstanding athlete," Catenacci said. "She was voted the best athlete in the school this year among males and females. It’s rare to have a player of her caliber. She excelled in two sports and could have excelled in more if she wanted."

Marciano and Goss were the lone seniors, and the team will surely feel their absence. Goss will continue her softball career at William Paterson College.

"I told the coach at William Paterson that I don’t think Kendra’s reached her full potential yet," Catenacci said. "She has a great career ahead of her, and she is expected to play some outfield and third base in college. She had a perfect season defensively without committing a single error."

Goss finished the year with 10 RBIs and a batting average of .325.

Helping to fill the void left by Goss and Marciano will be the bat of Seamster. The freshman finished the season hitting .351 with 22 RBIs and seven doubles.

"Caitlyn received some serious recognition this year," Catenacci said. "She was intentionally walked three times this year as a freshman. I can’t begin to imagine what she’ll be down the road."

Feltz returns with a .338 average and 12 RBIs.

"If you can hit over .300, you’re a good hitter," Catenacci said. "Kristina had a good season both offensively and defensively."

The Lady Hawks should be in contention to defend their GMC Red Division title and make another run at a state title.

"We have some really good eighth graders coming up," Catenacci said. "The future is definitely bright."