A state championship title was not meant to be for the Bordentown Regional High School softball team this season.
But the team’s successful run could be a sign of positive things to come for the program.
In a year where the Scotties earned an overall winning record of 20-7, a sectional title and a bid in the state championship final, the 2019 squad set the bar for future Bordentown teams as it stands as the high school softball program’s most successful showing to date.
Bordentown’s efforts to win the Group 2 state tournament title came to an end when Ramsey High School pulled off a 2-1 victory over the Scotties in the championship game on June 1 at Kean University in Union.
In her first season at the helm of the Bordentown softball team, coach Nicole O’Leary was optimistic after the game about the future of the program due to the positive example set by this year’s squad.
“Bordentown softball has been really great for a little while now,” O’Leary said. “Just knowing that we have made it through that hump of getting past the sectional title into this journey, and knowing that we have such a good group of underclassmen, hopefully we will be able to return here in the future.”
Although O’Leary is confident in the program for upcoming years, she also took a moment to reflect on the talent of this year’s lineup as well.
While the season’s final result was not what Bordentown may have hoped for, the season’s multiple accomplishments were not lost on the head coach after the championship game.
“I’m so proud of them,” O’Leary said. “This is the furthest Bordentown’s softball team has ever gotten, and I’m happy that I could be a part of it and bring them here.
“No matter what the outcome was, they had a great season, and they played very well,” O’Leary added.
With a lineup led by cleanup hitter and senior catcher Makenza Goleniecki, she revealed that this year’s team reached several new plateaus.
Goleniecki paced the offense this year with a batting average over .400, while she recorded 30 hits, drove in 24 runs, scored 25 runs and hit five homers, including a solo shot in the state championship game, the lone run scored by the Scotties.
Alongside this year’s offensive standouts, outfielder Angelina Marino who batted .476 from the leadoff spot and shortstop Brianna Fischer who batted .429, Goleniecki was backed by a lineup that could strike at any moment one through nine in the order.
Whether it was the Scotties championship victory at the 2019 Rancocas Valley Elite Softball Tournament, their sectional title or their run toward the state title, Goleniecki not only gave plenty of reasons for her squad to hold their heads high, but said that this was a year of multiple firsts for the program.
“This team getting into the state championship game for the first time ever is something that I hope sets the bar high for our future teams,” Goleniecki said. “We won the Rancocas Valley Tournament our opening weekend and broke history that time, we won a sectional championship and broke history that time too and we made it to a state championship, so this team is indescribable as to how amazing each and every player is.”
While this year’s team may have had a hand full of bright talent, one of the squad’s most premier players was junior pitcher Annabella Pisapia.
With the starting ace role locked down in the circle all season long with 119.1 innings pitched, Pisapia earned an overall record of 14-5, allowed only 20 earned runs and struck out more than 200 batters in 2019.
There’s little doubt that if Bordentown aims to make a run at the state title again next season, Pisapia will be a driving force in leading the team back for a coveted state championship.
“The team chemistry in this group is amazing,” the coach said. “The girls get along really well. I have been fortunate to be with these seniors for four years, three of them as the assistant [coach], and just the bond we have created is definitely going to sit with me forever knowing this was my first year as head coach and that we have made it this far – they are all going to be well-off next year.”