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Nearly halfway through its 1999 season, the Penn softball team begins Ivy League play this Friday at Princeton. That's a good thing, right? Not so fast. Although many Penn teams look forward to the Ivy League portion of their schedules, the Ivy League did not treat Penn too kindly in the softball world last season. For starters, the Quakers went 0-12 in their six Ivy doubleheaders -- only Columbia does not have a varsity squad. What was more astounding was Penn's inability to manufacture runs. In the Quakers' first four Ivy games, they were held scoreless by Cornell and Princeton. "We would be really sporadic getting baserunners," sophomore tri-captain Kari Feinberg said. "We also had a hard time getting timely hits with runners in scoring position." In its third Ivy League doubleheader, Penn finally scored after 28 innings without a run. Nevertheless, the Quakers managed only one run in each of the next four games en route to a total of nine runs in 12 Ancient Eight contests. "We had a hard time scoring runs throughout the season," coach Carol Kashow said. "We struggled both inside and outside the Ivy League." Last season, Penn averaged 2.16 runs per game entering Ivy League action. This year that number has climbed to 3.53. "We've proven we can score runs and put hits together," Kashow said. "We're more confident whether we're on defense or in the batter's box. "Last year we played afraid and we lost sometimes because we were afraid. I don't think anyone's afraid anymore. They all want to compete." So if this season's increased offensive output is a relevant indicator, the Quakers should be more successful against their Ivy League foes. · Although Penn only scored nine runs against the six other Ivy League varsity softball teams, the Quakers pounded Columbia who, alas, is only a club team. Last year, Penn swept its double header against the Lions with 10-2 and 23-0 victories. The Lions were supposed to enter the Ivy League with a varsity program this year but the process was delayed and Columbia will play its inaugural varsity softball season in 2000. · Kashow is only in her second season at the helm of the softball program but her presence is already being felt. Building a competitive program takes time and Kashow is pleased with the progress her troops have made the last two seasons. "The program is better in many ways," Kashow said. "First, there's the team on the field. This year's version is much better." Another important facet Kashow alluded to is recruiting, which she feels has gone very well for both the classes of 2002 and 2003. The effects of Kashow's first freshman class are obvious. Three of the four players who have started every game thus far for the Quakers are freshmen third baseman Jen Moore, leftfielder Clarisa Apostol and second baseman Jamie Pallas. Moreover, Apostol and Moore lead the team in batting with .364 and .333 averages, respectively. Moore also leads the team with a .569 slugging percentage and is tied with senior shortstop Sherryl Fodera for the team lead with 13 runs batted in. "They're willing to work hard and have great athletic ability," Feinberg said. "I look forward to next year's class because the quality of this class shows the kind of player Carol [Kashow] can bring in." In her two-year tenure, Kashow has also worked to re-establish relations with softball alumni and her players have made a huge effort during the offseason to fundraise for the team's spring trip by selling concessions at football and men's basketball games. "I'm pleased with the steps we've taken and we're starting to see results," Kashow said about the success of the softball program since she came to Penn. "You have to learn to walk before you run," Kashow said. "Last year, we were at a crawl. Now we're walking."

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