No. 9 hitter sparks rally in quarterfinal win; team ready for sectional finals May 31

Photo courtesy of Robbinsville High School Felicia Schumacher, the only freshman on the Robbinsville High School varsity softball team, promises to be a spark plug for the Ravens for the next three seasons.

Photo courtesy of Robbinsville High School
Felicia Schumacher, the only freshman on the Robbinsville High School varsity softball team, promises to be a spark plug for the Ravens for the next three seasons.

In the face of big pressure, Felicia Schumacher stays calm, cool and confident.

It’s what one would expect of a senior, but Schumacher is only a freshman on the Robbinsville High School softball team.

With the spotlight brightest, Schumacher played beyond her years. She led off the third inning with a hit and scored the tying run, then singled to start the fifth inning as the top-seeded Ravens rallied for a 4-1 win over No. 8 seed Manasquan in the Central Jersey Group II quarterfinals May 23.

“She’s so cool,” said Robbinsville head coach Christine Cabarle. “That’s also her personality. She’s not very loud, she’s pretty laid back. When she’s up at bat, it doesn’t seem like anything is fazing her. I think that’s the key to her success.

“I think all of offense is about your head. It’s about what you’re thinking. If you’re a head case, you’re going to strike out. You’re swinging without believing. Felicia believes she’s getting a hit when she’s up.”

Though she bats ninth in the Ravens batting order, Schumacher is someone that gives her team confidence when she hits, and she did it again in their state win. Manasquan had just forged a 1-0 lead in their half of the third inning when Schumacher led off the Robbinsville third.

“There’s definitely some pressure, but there wasn’t any extra pressure,” she said. “We were talking that we needed someone to lead us off. I thought I could be that person. We were down one and we needed to pick it up.

“Getting that leadoff hit, it definitely changes the momentum. We were kind of dead at first, but when I got a hit, everybody started getting hits and picking each other up at the plate.”

Schumacher would score on a sacrifice fly by Lauren Fischer to tie the game, 1-1. Then in the fifth, after one out it was Schumacher’s turn again to ignite the offense.

“I’m mostly calm,” Schumacher said. “I try to get up to bat and clear everything out of my mind and try to hit it. I try not to be nervous or anything.”

Schumacher singled followed by a single by Leanna Gearhart and a walk to Christine Levering. Rebecca Freeman drove home the winning run with a sacrifice fly to score Schumacher, then Fischer followed with a two-run double.

“Our 9-1-2 loaded the bases twice,” Cabarle said. “When you’re batting 3-4, you have to get them in. I give Lauren all the credit in the world, but the girls ahead of her did their job so she could do hers. They haven’t done that consistently this season, so I was happy about that.”

Fischer did the rest on the mound. She permitted just one hit in the final four innings to hold Manasquan at bay. After defeating A.L. Johnson 3-2 on May 29, the Ravens are set to play in their third straight sectional final, set for Friday (May 31) at 2 p.m. at home against Raritan High School. It’s the big target left for a Ravens team that was disappointed to fall in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals.

“The state tournament is definitely big,” Schumacher said earlier this week. “It’s our seniors’ last year. We definitely want to win it for them. We’re definitely more pumped because unfortunately we lost in MCTs. We definitely want to come out and win states.”

The Ravens only have three seniors – Fischer, Freeman and Levering. Gearhart is the lone junior to start and Schumacher the only freshman starting on a team with aspirations to make another final. They don’t know any differently.

“Sometimes I think Becca and Fish and Christine are going to will it to happen,” said Cabarle, whose team was 21-2 after the win over Manasquan. “They are a determined handful of seniors.”

Robbinsville, however, needs more than motivated seniors. And with Felicia Schumacher, they have a spark plug for this year and for three seasons to come.

“I thought I could contribute,” Schumacher said. “When softball first started for school, I just wanted to try my best and show them how good I could be.”

 

 


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