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Penn College Softball Team Opens With Top Seed in National Tournament

The Pennsylvania College of Technology softball team earned the last available spot and is seeded No. 8 entering the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships Friday in Akron, Ohio, but that doesn’t mean it can’t win.

“I think we’ll be very competitive. I don’t think we’re going to get blown out or anything. We’re going to go out there and I think we’re going to win some games,” said Roger Harris, who is in his 10th season as coach.

The Wildcats (14-13 overall) will begin play at 2 p.m. Friday against top-seeded Rochester (Mich.) College (11-22). In the same bracket, No. 4Penn StateBeaver (21-11) will meet No. 5 Spalding University of Louisville, Ky. (17-13) at 4 p.m. Friday. The winners of those games will square off at 8 p.m. Friday, as will the losers. All games are being played at Firestone Stadium, home of the Akron Racers, a professional softball team.

In the opposite bracket, second-seeded St. Mary of the Woods, Ind. (14-17) will face No. 7 Judson (Ala.) College (17-27) at 10 a.m. Friday and No. 3 St. Joseph’s, N.Y., College (25-7) will play No. 6Penn StateMont Alto (15-3) at noon. Play continues Saturday and Sunday for all teams in the tournament. Winners in the two double-elimination brackets will meet in a best-of-three series to decide the champion beginning at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Penn College’s projected lineup includes Trisha Moser (Watsontown, .292 batting average, 16 runs batted in) at catcher, Tiffany Deihm (Mohnton, .290 BA, 10 RBI, 6.20 earned run average, 5-7 record) pitching, Erin Bannon (Williamsport, .320 BA, 10 RBI) at first base, Sabrina Reynolds (Muncy, .345 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI) at second base, Amber Eck (Williamsport, .246 BA, 7 RBI) at shortstop, Lacy Lose (Avis, .268 BA, 11 RBI) at third base, Desiree Buffington (Pillow, .302 BA, 6 RBI) in center field, Michelle Goodling (Renovo, .235 BA, 8 RBI) in left field and Alison Beitz (Millville, .235 BA, 2 RBI) in right field. Chelsea Hewitt (Shippensburg, .300 BA, 3 RBI) is the team’s primary designated hitter, batting in place of Beitz. Also expected to see action on the mound is Lose (5.17 ERA, 5-4 record).

“We know now that we can be competitive,” Harris said after his team finished third in last weekend’s Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs. Over the past five seasons, the Wildcats finished first in the PSUAC in 2007, came in second in 2008 and 2009 and placed third last season.

“The girls are very, very excited to be able to go out there (Akron). For my seniors Moser, Deihm, Eck and Bannon I’m very excited for them. They have worked so hard and it’s like a dream come true to end their softball careers at the collegiate level by being able to go to nationals,” Harris continued. “They’ve earned the right to be there.”

“We had high hopes the last five years we’ve entered the playoffs and every year the girls have been very competitive. Based on that, I’m just hoping that we can go out to nationals and make a good showing,” the coach continued. “They’ve finally reached the ultimate goal.”