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Penn College Softball Team Young, but Talented

After his team posted a winning record and reached the playoffs last season, Pennsylvania College of Technology women’s softball coach Roger Harris looks for even more success this spring despite a freshman-loaded lineup.

The Lady Wildcats are scheduled to open their season at 2 p.m. Thursday, in a doubleheader against Northampton County Community College.

Starters in the first game are expected to be junior Theresa Witherson (DuBois) in center field, sophomore Marly Sampsell (Julian) at third base and freshmen Samantha Mills (Harrisburg) at catcher, Lisa Miller (Cogan Station) in right field, Michelle McNett (Canton) at shortstop, Lauren Fuller (South Williamsport) in left field, Renee Craig (Millville) at second base, Melissa Berrier (Mifflin) at first base and Kristin Bernard (Hastings) on the mound. Witherson and Sampsell are returnees from a year ago when the team went 13-8, along with Ann Marie Prosser (junior/Elizabethtown) and Chelsea Lyons (sophomore/Howard).

Also on the roster are freshman outfielders Alyssa Covas (Pottsville), Melani Grady (Youngsville), Jessica Vasquez (Manassas Park, Va.), Kristin Winslow (Carlisle) and Jen Delosa (Bellefonte) and catcher-third baseman Jasmine Elmore (Dover).

Even though he is starting seven freshmen, and 13 of the 17 on his roster are first-year players, Harris isn’t concerned.

“We have some younger girls, but they have all played the game for a long time. . They’ve played ASA (Amateur Softball Association), they’ve been involved in softball circles since they were 12 years old so they’re not afraid to go up to the college level and be able to play and perform at that level,” Harris said.

The fact that Harris, in his sixth year as coach at the college, has as many players as he does also is a reason for his optimism.

“This is one of the first years that I’ve had three very qualified pitchers, three very good catchers, and a roster where I can pick and choose and have replacements that I don’t have to worry about. All 17 of these girls are girls that I’m not afraid to put into any position in the starting lineup,” he said. “They’re all team players and dedicated individuals.”

Commenting on his team’s offense, Harris said, “We have some great hitters and a lot of speed on the team. . I think they’re going to be great. I look for them to be very strong.”

Defense, Harris said, also should be a strength.

“I really don’t know of a weak point that I have on the team. If we find one, it just takes a couple of adjustments to get the right girl in that spot.

“We’re looking to go farther in the (Penn State University Athletic Conference) playoffs than we did last year. . I’m looking forward to the year, I really am,” Harris added.

(Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site.)

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