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Penn College Softball Team ‘Should Be Tough’

Although roster numbers are down somewhat this year, the optimism for the coming women’s softball season expressed by Pennsylvania College of Technology coach Roger Harris is as high as ever. The Wildcats, Harris’ eighth edition, open their season Tuesday at Penn State Harrisburg.

“Last fall and early this spring, when I started looking at who we had, I was optimistic,” Harris said. “I think we’re going to have a good hitting team and I think, all-in-all, we’re going to be tough. I think our chances of making the playoffs again are very hopeful.”

Under his guidance, the program has turned a corner over the past three seasons with a combined 57-19 record that includes a Penn State University Athletic Conference championship two years ago and a second-place finish last year, when the team posted a 21-5 record.

The keys, Harris said, are quality players and more individualized coaching.

“One of the biggest things is that Penn College has a big draw as far as the quality and ability of players coming to the college,” he said “Because of the resources, the academic programming, more girls are coming who are just exceptional ballplayers.”

“Before, we would get ballplayers who may have played high school ball, or maybe they hadn’t played since junior high. But now, we’re getting girls who have played constantly. They have played travel ball, they have played throughout their high school careers,” he continued.

“I also have a coaching staff that has enabled us to break down our team into individual groups. Now I can have an outfield coach, a pitching coach, a hitting coach. Now we can work with the girls individually to hone their skills,” Harris said.

Harris’ paid assistant is Roseann Walsh. She is joined by volunteers Paul Steppe, Bill Bannon and Jerry Ulsamer.

Tiffany Deihm (junior/Mohnton) returns as the ace of last year’s pitching staff. She will be joined on the mound by Kristin Bernard (senior/Mifflin) and Heather Ball (senior/Mansfield). Bernard also will see action at first and second base and Ball will see some time at second base.

“Our pitching staff is solid. I think we’re going to have a good pitching staff,” Harris assessed.

Lisa Miller (senior/Cogan Station) returns at third base, as does Samantha Mills (senior/Harrisburg) at catcher. Jayme Mease (sophomore/Elizabethtown) will be at shortstop, with Lauren Fuller (junior/South Williamsport), Stacey Rupp (freshman/Gettysburg) and Trisha Moser (sophomore/Watsontown) in the outfield.

Also expected to see time in the outfield are Chelsea Emel (junior/Snow Shoe) and Laura Weist (senior/Fredricksburg).

Defensively, Harris said the infield should be “incredible” and he called his outfielders “strong and speedy.”

Hitting normally is a strength and it should continue this season.

“We’ve got a lot of them (good hitters) back,” Harris said, pointing out he plans to work Deihm’s bat into more games this season as a designated hitter.

(Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site . For more information on the PSUAC, visit on the Web ; more about the USCAA also is available online. )