Penn softball had its season opener this weekend at the Liberty Classic in Virginia.
Eager to finally face its first competition of the season, Penn embarked on a three-day, five-game weekend after a grueling off-season. Penn picked up three wins this weekend against Butler, Hofstra and Elon, but the Quakers were defeated by Liberty and Fairfield.
“It felt really great to finally put all of our hard work and skills against another team,” junior outfielder and captain Kayla Ketring said. “We’ve been scrimmaging ourselves for so long that it was awesome to have everyone on the same team working for each other.”
On Friday afternoon, the Quakers (3-2) played Butler (12-4) and Liberty (7-11). The Red and Blue claimed a win against Butler with a home run from junior infielder and captain Lucy Yang to finish the game. Her homer in the fourth inning was all Penn needed, as it went on to a 1-0 victory. The story was very different later in the day against Liberty, when the Quakers were defeated by a score of 8-1.
“We need to recognize that we haven’t played yet, and we’re playing teams who already have double digits in games under their belts,” Ketring said.
On Saturday, the Quakers faired better against their competition, taking strong wins off of both Hofstra (2-11) and Elon (10-8), not letting their opponents score more than one run each.
Senior captain and pitcher Jennifer Brann was the main energy source for the Quakers. Brann tallied her second consecutive complete game victory in the win against Hofstra. This was the first time she completed such a feat in her collegiate career, solidifying the 6-1 win for the Red and Blue.
Later that afternoon, the Red and Blue made quick work of Elon, only needing five innings before the mercy rule was called. Sophomore outfielder Emma Nedley hit a key triple that cleared the bases in the win against Elon to help secure the 9-1 win.
On Sunday, the Quakers faced off with Fairfield (2-7) for the final game of the weekend.
Although the Red and Blue started off strong with a Brann single and a steal from Ketring, the Quakers could not keep up the good start. They entered the fifth inning tied at two, but two quick runs from Fairfield were enough to have the Quakers fall by a 4-2 score.
“We need to work on keeping our high level of play consistent. ... [It] doesn’t matter who we play or what time we play,” Ketring said.
Despite being impressed with their three wins, the Red and Blue are looking to analyze their losses and learn from their mistakes.
“We had a tough two losses, but we got on the bus and focused on what we learned and how we can improve,” Ketring said.
After an overall positive start to the season, the Quakers have much to look forward to, especially this week’s home opening doubleheader against Lafayette (0-5) on Wednesday. Penn will then spend their spring break in Florida at the Spring Games.
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