MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – With the team currently enjoying spring break in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Penn State Harrisburg is ready for its impending 2019 season. After making an appearance in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Tournament for the first time in program history a year ago, the Lions are primed to improve upon that milestone this spring.
In The Circle
Coming off a 14-18 season, the Lions are led by senior pitcher Allison Hartman. Hartman powered the Blue & White to 10 wins inside the circle last season, posting an ERA of 2.81 while recording 74 strikeouts. The Lions' pitching staff is also bolstered by sophomore Kaylee Simon who came on strong at the end of last season, holding her own against some of the CAC's best offenses. The program is also excited about the growth of three younger pitchers in Kaylee DeMatteo, Sierra Dixon and Mary-Kate Penczkowski.
At The Plate
The Lions offense returns several strong pieces from last spring's squad, starting with Hartman who hit .325 and recorded 25 hits in 2018. Junior catcher Dominique Emmett, who earned CAC Player of the Week honors last season, enters this year fourth in school history in home runs. Junior outfielder Katie Humphrey returns after finishing second on the team in RBI last season. Seniors Carlee Gochenaur and Nina Bruno will also be major contributors this season. Rising sophomores in Simon and DeMatteo will look to learn from valuable experiences gained during their freshman campaigns in hopes of being regular offensive contributors. They Lions also added transfer junior Sarah Coolbaugh, transfer Sophomore Delany Nevius and freshman Maddie Krantz in hopes that they will provide an instant impact.
Around the Diamond
Gochenaur and Bruno will anchor the left side of an infield that looks to continue to build upon an impressive .956 fielding percentage last season. Catcher Jess Roelli enters the season fourth in school history in runners caught stealing. Harrisburg's outfield will be anchored by Humphrey, Simon, Nevius, Dixon, and Senior Quincy English. The Lions also have added several new faces they hope will continue to propel the team to new heights in 2019.
At the Polls
The Lions were picked sixth in the CAC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll after receiving 11 total points. Nationally-ranked No. 6 Christopher Newport (35) topped the preseason poll, followed by perennial NCAA Division III power Salisbury (32). They are followed by York (Pa.) (25), Mary Washington (19) and Frostburg State (18).
Circle The Dates
March 2 – vs. Cedar Crest, 9:30 a.m.
Penn State Harrisburg will begin its 2019 campaign when the team travels to North Myrtle Beach from March 2-5 to play eight games in four days.
April 3 – vs. York (Pa.), 3 p.m.
The Blue & White host York (Pa.) for doubleheader action on Wednesday afternoon April 3. The Lions will be looking to avenge last season's 10-inning defeat.
April 6 – at Mary Washington, 1 p.m.
The Lions will travel to take on CAC foe Mary Washington on Saturday, April 6 in doubleheader action. Last season, Penn State Harrisburg fell in extra innings to the Eagle before roaring back to capture a thrilling 3-2 victory in game two.
April 20 – vs. Frostburg State, 1 p.m.
The Blue & White will conclude conference play when they host Frostburg State on Saturday afternoon, April 20. The doubleheaders also serve as the Lions' Senior Day.
The Lions open the 2019 campaign against Cedar Crest in Myrtle Beach, S.C on Saturday morning, March 2. First pitch is set for 9:30 a.m.