Sophomore Brooke Nicander gives Radnor big lift on Senior Night

For an underclassman there is no better feeling than sending the seniors out with a victory on senior night. For the Radnor softball team, Senior Night is typically an emotional night that poses an additional challenge for the upperclassmen.

Fortunately, in previous years the underclassmen have stepped up and sent the seniors’ home victorious on senior night. Monday night was no different as Brooke Nicander delivered the best performance of her young career hurling a complete game allowing only four hits and one walk while striking out a career-high 15 in a 6-1 victory over visiting Harriton High School.

“Brooke was tremendous tonight,’ said Radnor coach John Schaefer. “Senior night is typically a tough night for our seniors and we usually need our underclassmen to step up. Brooke set the tone tonight striking out the first seven hitters.’

“Mr. Schaefer told us that senior night is typically tough for seniors because it’s an emotional night,’ said Nicander. “He said the underclassmen have to pick the team up. That’s what I tried to do.’

Holding a slim 1-0 lead, the Raiders also received a big lift from sophomore Sarah Rosenblum and junior Amanda Davis who delivered key hits in the bottom of the fifth to give the hosts a little breathing room.

From there, Nicander took over allowing a lone run in the final two innings. Harriton loaded the bases in the top of the seventh before Nicander struck out Shannon Finegan to end the game.

“I went out to the mound and just told Brooke to forget about the runners and concentrate on the hitter,’ said senior catcher Holly Pachella. “I told her to throw strikes and her defense was behind her.’

The win came on the heels of an impressive 12-6 victory over Marple Newtown, a team they had lost to just a week earlier. Although the Raiders entered the season returning six seniors from last year’s PIAA District One Class AAA squad, they came in having to overcome the loss of Caitlin Connor and Anna Russo, out with injuries along with coach Jess Verguldi Scott, who decided to step down for personal reasons.

With new faces, the Raiders were able to enter the campaign to a friendly face with assistant coach John Schaeffer being named head coach.

“It definitely helped that Mr. Schaeffer was named head coach, ” said Pachella. “We knew what to expect so with new players combined with returning players playing new roles it definitely helped having a coach we are familiar with.’

Schaefer agreed, “Definitely. The girls knew what to expect coming in. They know [how] we practice, how we defend so most people were happy.’

While the underclassmen stepped up on an emotional senior night, the senior class has also played a pivotal role, leading the way for the younger players. Despite having eight seniors, many had to adjust to new roles including Katie Jordan who moved from first base to shortstop, Michaela Parish, who moved to first base and Brooke McClatchy who moved to centerfield.

Radnor definitely took their lumps early but seem to be coming together at the right time with the district playoffs on the horizon.

“It took time but we are coming together,’ said Schaefer. “While it does not appear we will win the Central League we have a chance to make the district playoffs and that would be a big confidence booster for this team.’

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