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Softball Credit: Muyi Li , Muyi Li

The Penn softball team has plenty of reasons to be proud, not the least of which includes the Quakers’ new home field at Penn Park.

The Red and Blue showcased their new stadium this weekend when they hosted the Rocci Pignoli Memorial City Six Championship. The local Division I tournament included neighboring Drexel, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

The tournament honors the late Rocci Pignoli, former head softball coach at Temple.

Because the players are not yet officially in-season, the City Six tournament was intended merely as a preseason exhibition. For the Penn players, however, it was their first opportunity to show off their new home field to their Philadelphia neighbors.

“We love it,” sophomore outfielder Elysse Gorney said. “We love being able to play there, and we love the atmosphere.”

Gorney said she and her teammates also felt inspired and motivated by the number of fans who came out to support the Quakers over the weekend and in regular practices.

“We love having people watching our practices now — I feel like it really makes practice and games more enjoyable and it gets us pumped up and ready to play.”

Although that motivation did not carry Penn to an overall tournament win, it did bring a 5-2 victory over Temple, before the Quakers were knocked out of the tournament in an 8-1 loss to Drexel.

Villanova ultimately defeated the Dragons in the tournament final, 13-3.

Georgia Guttadauro, also a Penn sophomore, was not dissuaded by the Quakers’ results.

“While we may not have won the tournament,” she said, “I do think we stepped up our game as a way of rising to the occasion of playing in our new, professional-feeling facilities.”

The Red and Blue will play 12 of their 19 games at home in Penn Park once their regular season begins in the spring, and both Gorney and Guttaduaro expect great performances from both themselves and the team. For Guttaduaro, the new field is not only motivation, but also a reflection of the Quakers’ capabilities.

“We work hard all year long to play the best softball we can for Penn, so the new facilities feel like the ultimate reward for all of our hard work,” she said.

An auxiliary benefit is the effect the new field will have on the team of the future, not just the present. Gorney said she was “excited” to show potential recruits the stadium. She said it felt as though new players would want to be a part of Penn even more because of the improved facilities.

Gorney agreed.

“We have seen a lot of fields in our travels, and we feel privileged to have the very best,” she said.

Both players also emphasized how much they now feel a part of the Penn community — and the larger Philadelphia community. Warren Field, the Quakers’ previous home, was much more isolated and not as much of a focal point of Penn’s campus.

But with the new field, both players said they feel like they are now at the center of the action.

“We really feel like we are in the heart of the athletic community and campus with all of the fields and sporting events surrounding us,” Guttaduaro said. “But we also feel like we are in the heart of the city with the view of the skyline just ahead of us.”

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