Penn College Hosts PSUAC Softball Playoffs Starting Wednesday
In its last chance to qualify for postseason play, the Pennsylvania College of Technology softball team split with Penn State Fayette on Monday, while Penn State Greater Allegheny dropped two games to Penn State Beaver. The results lifted the Wildcats into the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs for the fourth straight season.
But there is little time to celebrate as Penn College returns to the field at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Elm Park, along West Fourth Street, against No. 1 seed Penn State Beaver.
Heather Ball (Mansfield) tossed a three-hit shutout in Penn College's critical 1-0 win Monday over Penn State Fayette. Amanda McCoy (Jersey Shore) went 2-for-3 at the plate in that game and drove in Erica Logan (Montoursville) in the second inning with what proved to be the game-winning run. Jamye Mease (Elizabethtown) and Logan each went 2-for-4 in the second-game loss.
"We knew going down there it was going to be a crucial game for us," coach Roger Harris said. "We only went with one pitcher. We kind of limped down there with a broken wing, but we managed to hold our own and come out with one win."
After claiming the conference crown in 2007, Penn College finished second last year. Going into the playoffs as the fourth seed this year, it has its work cut out.
The Wildcats are 13-11 overall and 11-7 in PSUAC games, including 6-0 and 6-1 losses to Beaver last Thursday. Penn State Beaver brings records of 23-16 overall and 17-1 in conference games into the playoffs.
"There is no doubt that Beaver has a good team. We just need to play solid defense. We need to execute. We have been struggling a little bit with our hitting all year long, but I think we will be OK," said Harris, who is in his eighth season.
Also Wednesday at 5 at Elm Park, No. 2 seed Penn State Hazleton (20-16, 16-2) faces No. 3 seed Penn State Schuylkill (13-9, 12-6). The double-elimination tournament continues with games at 7 p.m. Wednesday and at noon and 2 p.m. Thursday. Should an "if" game be needed to decide the champion, it is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Penn College split against both Penn State Hazleton and Penn State Schuylkill during the regular season, but the key throughout the tournament, Harris said, "is just a matter of who is going to show up and play ball. Are we going to have the hitting girls that we had?
"We haven't been hitting the ball like we have the last two years. Last year, we hit .500 as a team and now we're down to around .295 as a team. One game we have 14 hits, the next game we have three hits. We have to be consistent."
Tiffany Deihm (Mohnton) is expected to take the mound against Penn State Beaver, with Samantha Mills (Harrisburg) behind the plate. Erin Bannon (Williamsport) will be at first base, Ball at second base, Mease at shortstop, Lisa Miller (Cogan Station) at third base, Logan in right field, Lauren Fuller (South Williamsport) in center field and McCoy in left.
"I told the girls that we ended up where we ended up (fourth seed) because we struggled," Harris said. "We just need to execute offensively and make sure that we don't have that one bad inning that has haunted us from time to time."