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If Penn softball is to seize its first Ivy League title since 2013, its talented class of six freshmen will unquestionably have to step up in key spots late in the year.

Credit: Ananya Chandra

In the revolving-door world of college sports, teams know that even their best players are only around a bit longer. However, given the strength of its freshman class, Penn softball has nothing to worry about.

This year, the Quakers (6-6) have welcomed in six new faces to the program, each with her own unique background set of skills. An interesting note on that recruiting class is the range of positions spanned, bringing in a pitcher, catcher, two infielders, an outfielder, and a utility player. This should help to integrate the freshmen as a unit, as one day, they can all take the field side by side.

Currently leading the freshmen in batting average with a noteworthy .375, is Jennifer Brann, who actually does most of her work in the circle. Having just picked up her first win, Brann has tossed 9.2 innings and fanned seven with only a single walk. Although she trekked to Philadelphia, Brann has a twin sister playing for the UT Dallas program, so perhaps down the line the schedules will call for a family reunion.

Up next is the power-hitting Raven Houck, who set high school records for most home runs in a game and consecutive plate appearances. Her production is already paying off, scoring twice on her two hits in seven at bats this season.

Catcher Corey Burrough likely already feels at home with the team, thanks to her past playing Texas club ball with current junior third baseman Molly Oretsky. Having already gone 1-for-4 at bat, Burrough will look to increase her workload and settle in behind the plate as the season goes on.

An L.A. Daily player to watch in high school, infielder Julia Duarte is looking to make a bigger impact with the Red and Blue, already scoring a run and making five put-outs in the field. Although a first baseman by training, Duarte may look to increase her versatility to find a spot in the talented Penn infield.

Another player with the sport in her veins, Berit Batterton shares her skills with her cousin John Ryan Murphy, who now applies his craft for the Minnesota Twins. The first team All-County utility player from her hometown in Maryland will be aiming to get familiar with a handful of roles in the Penn system, having played shortstop, first base, and outfield in the past.

A three-time first-team AAA All-State outfielder in Pennsylvania, Clare Sebastianelli is already making her mark by crossing the plate three times. Recognized as a skilled fielder, Sebastianelli will hope to work her way into the roster more consistently and build upon her three putouts this year.

This talented group will be working to move themselves up in the depth chart as the season progresses, constantly striving to adjust to the speed and caliber of the collegiate D1 game. With each game that goes by, these young ball players will grow and improve, inching closer to one day being the faces of the program.

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