Improved Pitching Could Be Key for Penn College Softball Team
Improved pitching, backed by a solid defense, good speed and power hitting, could translate into something very special for the Pennsylvania College of Technology women's softball team this season. The Lady Wildcats are scheduled to open Wednesday with a doubleheaderat Luzerne County Community College.
Sure-handed shortstop Angie Hunter, an all-Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association selection last season, and pitcher Rachel Sledzinsky, an all-Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference honoree a year ago, are two reasons why coach Roger Harris thinks his club will improve on last year's 3-9 record.
"Rachel's pitching has increased tremendously this year. She not only is able to locate her fastball, she's also got the changeup, the dropball and the riseball," Harris said of the sophomore from Wayne. "Angie (a sophomore from Williamsport) brings not only very talented hands to shortstop, but a lot of speed. And, they both can hit the ball," the third-year coach continued.
Other starters will include sophomore Stacy Cochran (Williamsport) at third base and freshmen Danielle Hubler (West Branch) at second base, Jennifer Racho (Hazleton) at first base, Hillary Stewart (Lewistown) catching and Mandy Thompson (Bellefonte), Kristen Proctor (State College) and Theresa D'Andrea (Weatherly) in the outfield.
Also expected to see action are sophomores Jennifer Willett (Philipsburg-Osceola), Erin Derr (Williamsport) and Lucia Martarano (Columbia-Montour) and freshmen Cindy Aungst (Bald Eagle Area), Jenny Berry (Souderton) and Heidi Duke (Alpha, N.J.).
"Last year we had a strong defense, but we were lacking in pitching. We didn't have a dominant pitcher and I was relying a lot on defense, but the defense can only do so much. This year we have four throwers who can get the job done (besides Sledzinsky they are Willett, D'Andrea and Proctor)," said Harris. "That pitching, combined with the speed and power that we have, will allow us to be able to manufacture runs."
If you asked Harris what direction his program is heading, the only answer you would get is "up." And the reason for that is the addition of new assistant coach Lynette Murray, who played high school softball at South Williamsport before competing one year at Penn College and three at Lock Haven University.
"She brings a lot to the team. With her as an assistant coach I look to be able to build a good program at Penn College. We hope to start taking the team, over spring break, to Florida to get them a little playing time before the season actually starts," said Harris. "If we can do that, I think it's going to bring more girls out for the team. Penn College has a lot of talent at it."