More than anything, softball coach Leslie King and her team just want to get out on the field and play.
The Quakers will finally get that chance when they travel to Kissimmee, Fla., to play ten games from March 7-12 as part of the Rebel Spring Games.
“We haven’t even been able to practice on the usual dirt,” King said, referring to Warren Field. “We’ve just had to deal with Franklin Field as a practice field.”
The team’s spring break trip will bring Penn its first games of the season. The team is looking to get out to a quick start in Florida’s friendly weather after what King called “less than perfect” conditions in Philadelphia.
The Red and Blue hope to improve on last year’s performance, when the team went 10-10 in Ivy League play and finished 15-28-1 overall.
“There are reasons to like this team,” King said. “I believe we’ve improved defensively from last year. And we should remain solid on offense.”
Penn had the second-highest batting average in the Ivy League last year, hitting .274 as a team. However, the Quakers only managed a slugging percentage of .366, racking up just 73 extra-base hits in 44 games.
The defense finished in the middle of the Ivy pack last season, with a fielding percentage of .950. But they allowed 61 stolen bases, far more than any other Ivy team.
With 25 players on the roster, including eight freshmen, King expects that the team’s extra depth will help them boost their play in the field this season.
“There are probably about 15 individuals on this squad that would make suitable starters,” King said. “It will be hard to select only nine of them to start.”
Even with this extra strength in numbers, the Quakers’ pitching staff is one of King’s main concerns entering the season.
King expressed that one “key player” will not make the trip to Florida due to illness, but she would not share the player’s name.
“We hope she can join us soon afterward,” King said.
Another notable absence from the pitching roster is junior Jessie Lupardus, who left the team at the end of last season for personal reasons.
Lupardus led last year’s pitching staff with nine wins — more than the rest of the staff combined.
In her absence, Penn will look to sophomores Cailyn Hennessy Chelsea Ott. Ott’s .331 opponent batting average was second on the staff only to Lupardus.
Junior catcher/first baseman Kelsey Wolfe will try to be the defensive vaccuum for this year’s Quaker team that she was last year.
Wolfe led regular starters with a .995 fielding percentage, committing only a single error in 41 games played. She was second on the squad with 183 putouts, and was part of the only double play turned by the Quakers last season.Comments powered by Disqus
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