College Set to Open Women's Softball Season Under New Coach
In a sense, the Pennsylvania College of Technology women's softball team is starting over this year.
The Lady Wildcats return only three players from last year's squad, which posted a 14-10 record, and are under the leadership of a new coach. But that doesn't mean they won't be competitive during their Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference season, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Northampton County Community College.
"I have a great pitching staff that is backed up by a great defense," said coach Roger Harris.
"They're a very positive group of girls and I'm very thrilled and honored to be able to coach at the College this year. I'm thankful that the College gave me the opportunity to do something, so hopefully I can build a strong program for them," continued Harris, who is assisted by Charley Kiess and Paul Steppe.
Returnees include sophomores Lindsay Riglin, a pitcher from Bellefonte; Stacy Tittle, a shortstop from Middleburg, and Jenice Palachnek, a left fielder-pitcher from Southern Columbia.
Other starters are Evva Gohn, a freshman catcher from Red Lion; Lynn Hirphler, a freshman first baseman from Council Rock; Jackie Morone, a freshman third baseman from Warrior Run; Sarah Frantz, a freshman right fielder from Pine Grove; Julie Reppert, a sophomore second baseman from Lebanon Catholic, and Beth Thomas, a freshman center fielder from Downingtown. Gohn, Riglin and Tittle are the team's tri-captains.
Also on the team are sophomore Jennifer Willit, a pitcher-center fielder from Philipsburg-Osceola, and freshmen Nicole Stiner, a left fielder from Montgomery; Kari Shoemaker, a catcher-left fielder from Columbia-Montour; Angel Sweet, a left fielder from Harrisburg; Kristin Morris, a third baseman-right fielder from Wyalusing, and Dawn Kaelin, a right fielder from Geneva, N.Y.
Although this is his first collegiate coaching experience, Harris has been a youth coach for the last six years at various levels with Amateur Softball Association, National Softball Association, PONY League teams and as an assistant coach for three seasons at Lycoming Valley Middle School in the Williamsport Area School District. He also owns The Cages, an indoor batting and pitching facility in Cogan Station.
Eventually, Harris hopes to get a fall program started at the College.
"I want to build on a strong set of values for the program, one built on sportsmanship and education for the kids . . . I don't want to coach for me, I don't want to be in the spotlight. I'm coaching for the girls to be in the spotlight. I'm about making them look good, and if I do that, that will be a reflection on me," Harris added.
Penn College plays its home games at Elm Park. Each date is a doubleheader.