Softball misses playoffs
LADY LIONS FINISH A GAME OUT IN FIFTH PLACE
“Help me, Cassius, or I sink.” -- William Shakespeare,
Julius Caesar: Act I, Scene 2
Alas, the Penn State New Kensington softball team had no Cassius around while swimming in the Tiber of the PSUAC conference standings.
After losing five of their final six Penn State University Athletic Conference regular season games, the New Kensington Lady Lions sank from second place to fifth place in the standings, a game out of fourth and the last playoff berth. The team needed the help of a Cassius, which would be Penn State Worthington Scranton, to split with Penn State Hazleton in the season-ending doubleheader, and pull New Kensington into a tie with Hazleton. Like Julius Caesar, Scranton succumbed, 1-0, and 14-0, dashing the hopes of Lady Lions.
Coach Mike Marsili’s squad ended the 2103 campaign ranked 16th nationally in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association with a 9-7 PSUAC record and a 10-12 overall mark. With a blend of clutch hitting, power, and speed, the team batted .285 with 14 home runs (fourth in the USCAA), 95 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. The pitching staff combined for two shutouts, 118 strike outs and a 2.91 ERA.
Individually, the Lady Lions were led by junior pitcher Tarra Oravec of Kiski Township. Oravec was among the USCAA national leaders in five hitting and pitching categories. She was second in home runs, 8, fourth in RBIs, 29, and 11th in average, .444. She was also seventh in strike outs, 86, and 12th in ERA, 3.27. She picked up numerous awards throughout the season including national pitcher of the week. She was a three-time PSUAC pitcher or player of the week. At the campus’ annual student awards ceremony April, 26, the Kiski Area graduate was named Female Athlete of the Year.
Freshman catcher Rachel Lojas (Norwin High School) was second on the team in home runs (4); hits (24), runs (16) and RBIs (11). She was third in batting average with .353. Freshman first baseman Sabrina Johns was second on the team in batting average at .359. Rojas was seventh nationally in home runs.
The outlook for next season is encouraging as senior outfielder Katie Colbert (Fox Chapel), a four-year starter and the team’s leading base stealer, is the lone casualty of graduation. Colbert earns a bachelor’s degree in Business May 4 at Spring Commencement. Marsili returns eight starters, including three seniors – Oravec, pitcher/outfielder Jenna Swank and second baseman Sarah Kutchko.