LYNDHURST, NJ- Former Arthur L. Johnson High School varsity softball standout Stephanie Donah, now a junior at Felician University, accomplished the milestone of 100 career collegiate hits on Friday, April 13 in the Golden Falcons’ 8-0 win, in the first game of a doubleheader against Chestnut Hill College at Lyndhurst Recreation Stadium.
After closing in on the milestone with a solo home run in the second inning, Donah achieved the accomplishment with an infield single in the bottom of the third inning.
“My general reaction to hitting my 100th career hit was pure joy and happiness,” Donah said. “I worked so hard for this and it’s finally paying off for my team and myself.”
On the season, Donah sports a .310 batting average with 31 hits (seven of them doubles), five home runs, 18 RBIs and ten walks, along with scoring 23 runs.
“Steph is one of those players who always goes all-out,” Felician University softball head coach Alexis Durando said. “She’s never a kid you question when she’s going to compete or not. She’s been a pleasure to have as the assistant [coach] her first year, then I was head coach the past two years.”
“She’s a great kid and it’s a pleasure to watch her play,” she added.
Donah’s passion for the game of softball drives her not only to excel on the field, but also when preparing for action.
“It’s just the fact that everyone shows a lot of heart,” Stephanie said. “Everybody wants to win and do good. It makes me want to come out and do good for everyone else, besides myself.”
She was a part of the 2013 and 2014 ALJ High School teams that reached the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 Semifinals, a duration of her varsity career which featured 57 wins in those three seasons (44 of them combined in 2014 and 2015).
Her high school career featured a .398 batting average, 98 hits (15 doubles, two triples), five home runs, 62 RBIs. She also stole 11 bases in her career as a member of the Johnson Crusaders.
“During the time when we really turned the corner towards becoming a Top-20 program, Stephanie was the leader and the most competitive on that team,” her high school softball head coach Mike Mancino said. “Just a tremendous drive [and] tremendous heart and a great leader. She became a mentor to some of the younger players that did things for us later on in their careers.”
Her younger sister Lauren is currently a senior in at ALJ, who saw some time on the team when her sister was one of the leaders.
“I’m very proud of her hard work and dedication,” Lauren Donah said. “I always looked up to her from the moment I picked up a softball. I love watching her achieve her goals and seeing her happy. I couldn’t be any happier for her.”
Stephanie adds that her success wouldn’t have been possible without a few important people who watch almost every single game to cheer on.
“I feel that throughout my career here at Felician University my parents were my number one supporters and my sister,” Donah said. “Overall my whole family, my teammates, my two coaches, and my boyfriend, Corey Telfer, have really been behind me pushing me to be better.”
Her parents have been a big supportive system for her and were beaming with excitement after seeing her work extremely hard towards everything she’s accomplished.
“It’s an amazing feat since she missed it by [two] hits and everything she’s ever had, she’s always gotten on her own will and determination,” her father Tom said. “It’s just amazing to see how much she progressed in her career, especially in each level, she’s gone up more and more.”
“She’s just been thriving so much in playing softball more than she ever did. I’m just very proud of her,” her mother Caryn said.
Donah was part of a large freshman class when she began college, which allowed her to see playing time in her three seasons.
“Freshman year was pretty good. I got to play because we came in with 13 freshmen,” she said. “In [my] sophomore year, we were building it up and this year, we’re really showing through. We lost a couple of girls this year to injuries, but we fought through that adversity and we’re coming through strong.”
Stephanie says she learned a major lesson through her collegiate softball career as she made the transition from high school.
“It was not being one of the top players, like knowing in my senior year [of high school], I was,” she said. “Going through it and knowing I wasn’t going to be the number one [player] really helped me to fight through every adversity.”
Stephanie has her eyes set on goals for the future during her remaining time at the college.
“I just want to get through this year to get to the playoffs, seed high in the standings and maybe take home a title this year and do it again next year.”
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