MELBOURNE, Fla.-The Florida Tech Panthers (31-16, 15-9) finished their season on a high note taking both games of the double header coming out ahead
winning two out of the three Sunshine State Conference series against the Tampa Spartans (19-28, 6-15) today at the Varsity Field. The Panthers won game
won 3-1 and shut down the Spartans 4-0 in the night-cap. The victories were a great send off for the five departing seniors including Jennifer Salls
(Madison, Fla.), Megan Hube (Bel Air, Md.), Karen D’Alberto (Cape Coral, Fla.), Courtney Harless (St. Cloud, Fla.) and Kelly Darden-Pollak (Orlando, Fla.).
Along with honoring the two seniors from the University of Tampa including Nicole Fenno (Tampa, Fla.) and Jenny Luis (Kendall Park, N.J.).
In game one, the Panthers were lead by senior D’Alberto and junior Katie Naumoff (Poland, Ohio) who both went 2-for-4 with D’Alberto plating junior Laura
Chisena (Ocoee, Florida) in the bottom of the second inning to score the eventual game winner.
In the first inning, Naumoff scored the first run of the game off an RBI single up the middle by fellow junior Kristen Fettes (Deltona, Fla.). Fettes who
for the series was the only consistent hitter, was moved to the clean-up spot during the double-header.
Tech scored their final run in the third, when senior Darden launched a floater to centerfield to reach first base. Darden advanced on a ground-out by
senior Harless. Darden then advanced to third on a fielding error by the Spartans third baseman, after sophomore Dana Buccelli (Melbourne, Fla.) lined it
down the left line. Chisena then proceeded to tally the final RBI bringing Dardne home on a shot through the right side.
Buccelli was the only other Panther to hit safely in the first game. Junior hurler Judith Husband (Wewahitchka, Fla.) tossed the complete game win for her
final record of 8-4 for the season. She allowed only three his on one run, while walking two and fanning three batters.
“Judith pitched the best game of her one year career with the Panthers today,” stated Head Coach Ellie Hanover. “She stayed ahead of the count and made the
Spartans battle for the day.”
In the final game of the regular season for the Panthers, sophomore, Apopka native, Amber West went out with a bang shutting down the Spartans 4-0
finishing the 2006 campaign with one of the toughest records in the twenty year history at 19-11. She was two shy of the all time record of 38 appearances
by Terri Blanton in 1992. Also with the win she becomes the All-Time Leader with wins pushing ahead of the previous record of 18 held by Erin Baird (1995)
and Christine Custer (2001).
West allowed only six hits and struck out three for the game. For the game, West showed her honor of former head coach Nancy Bottge with the number 14
sprayed into her bright orange hair with paw prints as well.
Once again, Fettes led all Panthers going 3-for-4 with one run. D’Alberto and Naumoff again each went 2-for-4 with D’Alberto notching two runs and Naumoff
Senior Hube led in RBI’s plating two Panthers on her solo shot down the left line scoring D’Alberto and senior Salls in the bottom of the 4th inning.
Buccelli finished with one hit for the night cap.
For the season, Naumoff concluded the year batting .409, while Hube was close behind at .351 for the year. Chisena and Naumoff tied for runs scored at 38,
while Hube finished with 52 RBI. D’Alberto worked her way up the hitting .349 which was third on the team, and Harless and Fettes both finished the season
above .300 batting .328 and .316 respectively. Harless and Hube stayed tied at 10 homeruns. Naumoff led in doubles with 12 with Buccelli and Harless
trailing at nine for the year. The two other members of the homerun club for the year with a Panther tally of 26 was Buccelli and Chisena each notching
three for the 2006 season. Naumoff and Salls finished up one and two for sacrifices with Naumoff effectively putting up 10 bunts and 2 sac flies, while
Salls put down six bunts and one sac fly.
All in all, the Panthers could only finish in fourth position in the Sunshine State Conference standings and depending on the outcome of the upcoming week
may move ahead of Saint Leo for the third place finish. Either way, this is the best conference finish in the 20 year history of the program.
During the half-time festivities the following bios were read about the five departing seniors and two Tampa seniors along with a final farewell to Coach
Bottge when the team released red and black balloons with the #14 on them and watched them float to the heaven.