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Baseball victory against Lafayette, final score 3-0. Connor Cuff pitching. Credit: Michele Ozer , Michele Ozer

Austin Bossart is hoping the fourth time’s a charm.

Through three years as the Red and Blue’s starting catcher, Bossart has enjoyed one of the most impressive careers in recent Penn history, but he is eager to get his hands on a championship this final time around.

Both an offensive and defensive stalwart, Bossart was integral to the Quakers’ impressive run last season, which ended abruptly with a playoff loss to Columbia.

Several preseason changes were critical to Bossart’s contributions to a surprisingly successful Penn season in 2014.

For one, Bossart jumped from the six-spot in the lineup to the two-hole and didn’t miss a beat.

The O’Fallon, Illinois native improved his on base percentage to a team-leading .397, batted a solid .297 and finished second in the club in both hits (47) and runs (29).

Those numbers alone were worthy of Bossart’s first-team All-Ivy selection, but the job he did behind the plate was just as impressive.

The Penn pitching staff pieced together stellar outing after stellar outing last season. Bossart was a constant part of that success, and he fully understands his responsibility on the defensive side of the ball.

“I personally take a lot of responsibility, because a lot of strike calls have to do with how the catcher frames it,” he noted.

Bossart was able to both build off previous experience with veterans like Connor Cuff and Ronnie Glenn, and he quickly established rapport with younger arms such as Jake Cousins and Mike Reitcheck.

Building off of his success last season’s stellar working relationship with the pitching staff, Bossart has put in the work once again this offseason to take control behind the plate.

“We definitely do most of [our work] before the season, just working here in the bubble,” he said of his relationship with his pitchers. ”We’re able to work out the kinks and really work with our pitching coach.”

A big part of Bossart’s success working with the pitching staff can be attributed to the new attitude John Yurkow brought to Penn baseball last season.

The more relaxed and player-centric approach Yurkow established enabled Bossart to improve as a leader and a field general behind the plate.

In his third year as captain and having now proven himself as a performer and a leader, Bossart has — along with the rest of the squad — set his sights on one thing this spring: an Ivy Title.

The Quakers lose some offensive firepower with the departure of Rick Brebner and Mike Vilardo, but the core of Penn’s deep, dynamic pitching staff remains intact.

And perhaps just as critical, Bossart and company now have legitimate experience in win-or-go-home games after last season’s intense play-in series against Columbia.

“We have the capability this year. We have great talent,” Bossart said of the more experienced squad. “And I’m looking forward to great things.”

With their surprise success last season, the Quakers’ biggest challenge this spring could be living up to unusually high expectations.

With Bossart in command, however, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Additional reporting by Tommy Rothman.

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