Softball Seniors Shine in Final Home Game

Amanda Kahn gets a hit on Senior Day – Sports Lowdown photo

The Florida Tech Panthers wrapped up their regular season Friday with a 7-1 win over the Lynn Fighting Knights at Nancy Bottge Field in Melbourne.

Jessica Callahan, Makayla Palmer, and Amanda Kahn all had hits in their final day at home plate as Panthers, and McKenzie Krutsinger pitched the sixth inning, giving up one hit and striking out one. She also got an at-bat late in the game.

“It is hard when you’re playing for a postseason bid, to get to play everyone and we were able to do that,” said Panthers coach Val Silvestrini. “This was a really special senior class, they were three different recruiting classes but I feel that this group really gets it.

“I love the way that they took leadership this year and made it fun, while representing our program with integrity, with respect and loving each other,” she continued. “This whole group is a lot of fun thanks to the seniors. They led by example and made us have a great team.”

The Panthers (32-21, 16-14 SSC) got on the board early, with a run in the bottom of the first against Lynn starter Kayla Sheffield. Xiarysse Emerenciana walked and went to second on a sac bunt by Mikayla Wessel. She came home on a triple by Palmer, her first three-bagger in almost two years.

Palmer got another RBI in the third when her single brought home Wessel, who led off with a bunt single and stole second. Vanessa Rubio also doubled in the inning, but she was left stranded.

Melanie Murphy allowed her first hit of the series in the top of the fourth, when Elizabeth Diaz took the ball over the left field wall, making it 2-1. With that, Murphy’s bid for a second no-hitter was gone as well. She had pitched 10 innings of softball without allowing a hit, to that point.

Florida Tech put the game away with a five-run inning in the bottom of the fourth. Emerenciana singled home Rachel Kraak and the Panthers got two-run doubles from Callahan and Alexus Smith, giving the home team a commanding 7-1 lead.

Kahn pinch hit for Shanysse Emerenciana in the bottom of the fifth and ripped a single to left field. She finished her senior season batting 1.000.

“She has hit for us before, especially in the Fall. She was just having fun there and got a hold of it and got a hit,” Silvestrini said of Kahn’s single. “That was a lot of fun.”

Krutsinger came in to pitch the sixth and Kahn pitched the ninth, striking out Shayle Arenson to end the game.

For more info: Lynn @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers will now wait to see if they are selected to go to the NCAA Tournament. They are currently ranked seventh and if they remain seventh they will be in, but a lot depends on the Gulf South Conference tournament.

“If someone wins the tournament that’s not ranked ahead of us, they’re gonna take our spot,” Silvestrini said. “We just need Valdosta, North Alabama, or Alabama-Huntsville to win the tournament and we should be in.”

The NCAA Selection Show will take place on May 7, at 10:00 a.m. The show will stream on NCAA.com.