William Tennent pulls off shocker over CR North in District 1-AAAA first round

NEWTOWN — William Tennent is still trying to figure out how it got itself into the District 1-AAAA softball playoffs. And after Monday’s first-round game against Council Rock North, it’s now probably wondering how it’s moving on.

The 23rd-seeded Panthers stunned the No. 10 Indians 4-0 on an unseasonably chilly day played under overcast skies.

“I think we came out excited because we didn’t think we’d be in the playoffs,’ Tennent senior second baseman Sara Keeny said.

To call Tennent’s playoff run unlikely would be an understatement. The Panthers opened the season with six new starters, three freshman. The road wasn’t smooth to say the least.

Tennent struggled through the tough Suburban One League National Conference losing to CR North twice in the regular season and finished five games behind with a 5-9 conference record to the Indians’ 10-4. But Panthers got big wins at the right time, like a 10th-inning win over Abington early this month.

“It’s hard to beat somebody three times,’ Tennent coach Biz Keeny said. “I know nobody wanted us in the tournament because we played well down the stretch. I sat and said, ‘How did we get into something like this?’ But they call them ‘quality wins.'”

Something that plagued the Panthers early in the season was defensive consistency. Some days they were a highlight reel and others a train wreck. Monday was most definitely the former as the infield comprised of first baseman Liz Marucci, second baseman Keeny, shortstop Jackie Heim, and third baseman Jocelyn Flores made every play it was asked to make and then some.

The best play of the day came when Council Rock North laid down a bunt, Tennent pitcher Kalisi Taufalele threw the ball to Keeny who was covering first base who then snapped a throw to Heim covering second to catch the lead runner Sabrina Crane off second for a beautifully executed double play.

“We were terrible early (in the season),’ said Biz Keeny of the defense. “I needed time. People don’t understand I lost six kids from a year ago. I needed a little time to put the pieces in the right place.’

While the defense for Tennent was outstanding the performance of Taufalele on the rubber was equally as impressive for the Panthers. Taufalele earned a complete-game shutout win, scattering seven hits over seven innings and striking out only one hitter. Taufalele’s pitching style proves that a pitchers does not have to be dominant, just consistently effective.

“She’s got late movement on the ball,’ Keeny said. “I know it doesn’t look over powering (but) she’s got late up movement on the ball.’

Tennent didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. It entered the District One tournament at the No. 23 seeded team, the lowest seed in the tournament. The Panthers really didn’t even have to prove that they deserved to be in the dance. They didn’t have to prove anything, but did anyway.

“I think we’re just excited to play and (want to keep playing),’ Sara Keeny said. “There’s not much too it. We were all really excited to be here and winning this game was huge and I think we’ll take it with us to the next game.’

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