Honors went to Warminster’s Sara Keeny and Levittown’s Cheyenne Jones, both recent graduates of Kutztown University, where they played softball for the Golden Bears
By Samantha Bambino
Sara Keeny, a Warminster native and William Tennent alum, was casually scrolling Instagram earlier this month, mindlessly scanning past memes and the faces of her smiling friends. But one photo forced the recent Kutztown University graduate to stop and do a double take.
It was a post by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), and Keeny saw her own name next to the coveted words “East Athlete of the Year.” Naturally, Keeny was in disbelief.
“I think it’s super exciting,” she told The Times. “It’s a cool accomplishment because there’s definitely a lot of really good players I’ve played with.”
Keeny, who was a part of Kutztown’s Golden Bears softball team for four years, is the school’s first “Athlete of the Year” since 2013. But when taking into consideration her standout season as an outfielder, this honor makes perfect sense.
The criminal justice major finished the season ranked atop the PSAC in batting average (.518), on-base percentage (.561), hits (100), runs scored (62) and triples (7). Her 100 hits were the most by a Kutztown player in a single season and rank third in the PSAC all-time. Keeny was also second in the conference in stolen bases (45), third in doubles (15) and sixth in both slugging percentage (.684) and walks (23). She posted a career-high 29 RBI and ended the season on a 12-game hit streak.
“I think I had just a good year overall. I’m pretty fast, so I worked a lot of bunting, even infield hits,” Keeny said. “I really started to hit the ball this year, and that helped me because I was able to use that tool with my bunting.”
Beyond this season, Keeny left her mark on the program, etching her name in several record books. She is Kutztown’s all-time career hits leader with 289, tied for the most triples with 14, is second in career batting average at .440, and ranks second in both program and PSAC history with 134 stolen bases. The 289 hits are the third-most in PSAC history, and the most since Bloomsburg’s Erica Miller finished with 310 from 1998–2001. Keeny played in 190 career games, starting every one.
This is Keeny’s fourth PSAC recognition during her time as a Golden Bear, with other titles including “East Freshman of the Year” in 2016, and “East Athlete of the Week” in March 2016 and February 2018.
For Keeny, who fell in love with the game at the age of 8, being recognized for doing what she loves most has been a thrill. Though she plans to pursue a career in law enforcement working with juveniles, she hopes to someday coach softball.
“I’m already definitely missing the game,” she said.
In addition to Keeny, a number of other Golden Bears were recognized by PSAC. Freshman Bridget Bailey of Norwood was named “Freshman of the Year” (the first at Kutztown since Keeny won the award in 2016). Landing spots on the distinctive list were freshman Katelyn Ostaszewski of Philadelphia, sophomore Jenna Lipowski of Nanticoke, and seniors Tamara Jennings of Philadelphia and Cheyenne Jones of Levittown.
Jones, a Harry S. Truman alum, is now a two-time All-PSAC performer. She posted career-high numbers in hits (61), RBI (47), runs (22), batting average (.353) and slugging percentage (.561), starting 54-of-55 games this season. Her 47 RBI rank fifth in the PSAC.
She finished her Golden Bears career with 125 hits, 87 RBI, 51 runs and 15 home runs, batting .320.
As a whole, the team finished its season with a 36–20 overall record, the ninth-most wins in program history. The girls went 3–2 in the PSAC Tournament, defeating Edinboro, Bloomsburg and West Chester, and finishing third.
“I think we did pretty good,” Keeny said. “We started off a little rocky. We have two freshman pitchers, so they stepped up and made their role noticed, because obviously pitching is a really big part. We had four seniors, and we have a bunch of hitters on our team, so once the pitching and fielding was under control, we were really able to win games because we were able to hit, field and pitch, and that helped us, especially toward the end.”
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org