RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For the second consecutive summer, Felician College rising junior Ciera Clark (Granite Bay, Calif./Del Oro) is a member of an Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) national championship team.
Clark and her USA Comets teammates captured the 2013 ASA Women's Fastpitch 23U Pacific Northwest National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on June 29-30. The event was held at Wallace Marine Park in Salem, Ore. Clark hit a home run in the Comets' 12-3 championship game victory over the Oregon Reign. The Comets won the same title in 2012.
"We all had such a great feeling of accomplishment," Clark said. "The high level of competition that I'm playing with and against is such an exciting thing. It's nice when you put so much effort into something and come out on top."
The 23U USA Comets consist of Division I and II college players from the greater Sacramento, Calif., area. The team trains together in the summer and plays a shortened tournament schedule.
"It would be easy to take the summer off and say you need a break," Clark said, "but in reality, if you want to come back strong for the fall and spring college season, you've got to stay on the field. I'm on the same field as numerous girls who played in the Women's College World Series, and it pushes me to perform to the best of my ability."
In the Comets' four victories in the NIT, Clark, a 5-foot-7 first-baseman, went 7 for 16 (.438). She had three extra-base hits and drove in six runs.
"I hadn't seen live pitching since the end of the Felician season in late April, so I was a little nervous getting back in the batter's box," Clark said. "But it all worked out well! Our next tournament is in Los Angeles against some of the best teams in the country, so I'm looking forward to some intense games."
The Comets will next compete in the Southern California NIT in late July.
Felician College is a coeducational, liberal arts, Catholic college, enrolling 2,300 students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Arts and Sciences, Business and Management, Teacher Education, and Health Sciences and Nursing. A Division II member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Felician College competes in baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, cross-country, men's golf, women's volleyball, and cheerleading. Founded in 1942 by the Felician Sisters in the Franciscan tradition, Felician College is located on two campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey.