By Bob Behre 

Seniors Megan Hanily, Kaylee Colantano and Dewey Grundhauser are the latest Finch’s Aces to make a verbal commitment to play softball in college.

Hanily, the catcher on North Hunterdon’s 2018 NJSIAA Group 4 championship squad, has committed to Moravian College in Pennsylvania. Colantano, a talented catcher for Voorhees, has given her verbal to Wesley College in Delaware. Grundhauser, a shortstop from Easton Area High School in Pennsylvania, will play her college ball at Caldwell College in North Jersey.

Hanily, Colantano and Grundhauser join Kylie Gletow, an early Monmouth University commit, as the first of the Finch’s Aces Class of 2019 to come to a college decision. Gletow is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher and middle-of-the-lineup hitter for Hunterdon Central. 

“I focused on schools where I could study nursing and play softball,” said Hanily. “Moravian became the best option for me because of coach (John) Byrne’s focus on his players’ education and future along with their softball career. Knowing that I had found a place where I could do both things I wanted was very exciting and pushed Moravian to the top of my list.”

Byrne is in his 26th season at Moravian and boasts a 786-234 career record.

Hanily had a terrific summer with the Finch’s Aces 18U Premier team. She batted .430 with four doubles, a triple and a home run to go with 18 RBI. That followed a magical high school season in which Hanily joined a top-notch battery with talented lefthander Maggie Swan, now at NYU.

Hanily batted .326 for a North Hunterdon squad that went 25-6 last spring. She had 26 hits, including four doubles, two triples and 14 RBI.

“Megan is one of the hardest working kids I have coached,” said Aces 18U Premier coach Jackie Spina. “She is powerful and quick and has done an amazing job for us.”

Colantano is another talented catcher and one who has been with the Finch’s Aces program since she was 14 years old. 

“I chose Wesley because I wanted to attend a school a good distance from home but one that wasn’t too far,” said Colantano. “I really like the Wesley coach (Juli Greep) and I wanted a small school that had a compact campus. When I visited, something just clicked.”

Colantano has started behind the plate for Voorhees since her sophomore season. She batted second in the Vikings’ batting order last year. She was fourth on the team in RBI and second in doubles. Voorhees finished second in the Skyland Conference Valley Division.

“Our big win was upsetting fourth-seeded Delaware Valley in the first round of the state tournament,” said Colantano. “They were 16-2 and we were the 13thseed.” 

Colantano says the Aces have been a second home for her.

“Kaylee is one of our longest running Aces,” said Spina. “She is a loyal and dedicated player. She’s done an amazing job behind the plate.”

Like Hanily, Grundhauser has chosen nursing as her course of study to go with what should be an outstanding softball experience at Caldwell College.

Caldwell is a beautiful campus and has great athletic and academic programs,” says Grundhauser. “The softball program is great and I love coach Dean Johnson. More importantly, Caldwell has an incredible nursing program.”

Grundhauser has had a remarkable scholastic career at enormous Easton Area High School. She’s batting .392 for her career entering her senior season. Her 80 hits have her comfortably on track for 100 career hits. She’s scored 67 runs to go with 66 RBI and 20 stolen bases. Grundhauser has a .488 on-base percentage and .937 fielding percentage in the middle of the Easton infield.

Grundhauser’s older sister goes to Caldwell College. “I’ve loved it ever since her freshman year,” she said. “I went to a couple softball camps like Penn State, St. Joseph’s, Delaware but I wasn’t really looking at any other schools.”

Spina has been thrilled since Grundhauser joined the Aces.

“Dewey was a fantastic addition to our squad last year,” said Spina. “She is a leader by example and her work ethic is second to none.”

Grundhauser’s short stay with the Aces has left an indelible mark on her softball experience. 

“My experience with the Aces has been tremendous,” said Grundhauser. “Coach Jackie does a great job helping us throughout our season. My teammates are amazing and the overall Aces program is fantastic. I’m very grateful to be apart of such a great group.”

Hanily’s take on her Finch’s Aces experience perhaps says it all.

“I love playing with the Aces because of the high level I get to compete at all year round,” said Hanily. “Travelling to Colorado, California and St. Louis were all great experiences and competing with teams from across the country is something you do not get the opportunity to do everywhere. 

“This is my third year playing for coach Jackie and she has helped me develop in every aspect of the game. My time on the Aces is a huge part of where I am now.”