By Mar Tsakonas, Assistant Softball Coach
Freeland, PA- On Saturday May 7th the Penn State Scranton women's softball team packed up their vans and traveled to Freeland, PA to play in the open rounds of the 2016 PSUAC Softball Championship Playoff tournament. Following a short delay, due to wet field conditions, the ladies hit the field taking on the number four seed Penn State Mont Alto (9-11 overall, 8-6 conference) for the second consecutive year in the first round of tournament play. Penn State Scranton (6-16 overall, 5-9 conference), the five seed in the tournament, had lost to Penn State Mont Alto early in the regular season by the scores of 2-1 and 8-0. Through the first four innings of play both teams played very well defensively. Neither side gave up a run, until the runners on first and second in the bottom of the fifth inning, Penn State Mont Alto's Alyssa Munns, hit a 3-run home run to center field to give her team a 3-0 lead going into the sixth inning. With their backs against the wall and the game winding down, Penn State Scranton answered with two runs of their own with back to back singles by sophomore, second baseman Lauren Hackett and freshman, left fielder Kelly Richter putting runners on second and third with two outs. Senior, first baseman Kaitlin Calogero stepped into the batter's box and launched a 2-run double to right field just missing a home run by inches, making the score 3-2.
In the top of the seventh inning Penn State Scranton started to heat up at the plate. Following two lead off walks by freshman, center fielder Jordan Peters and freshman, right fielder Emilee West, sophomore, pitcher McKenzie Moore loaded the bases after reaching first base on an error by the right fielder. After a force out at the plate, the Penn State Scranton Lady Lions were down to their last out when Kelly Richter showed good plate discipline drawing a walk to bring in the tying run. With their first round playoff hopes on the line the Lady Lions held Penn State Mont Alto scoreless in the bottom of the seventh inning forcing an eighth inning bringing the international tie breaker rule into play (the last out from the last inning for each team starts the eighth inning on second base). For Penn State Scranton freshman, third baseman Nicole Davitt started the inning on second with the big bat of Kaitlin Calogero stepping up to the plate. With one swing of the bat, Davitt advanced to third and Calogero reached first. Calogero stole second moving into scoring position when Jordan Peters knocked an RBI single to right field scoring Davitt from third moving pinch runner freshman Rachel Johnson to third. Peters stole second and both runners scored from an RBI double from McKenzie Moore giving Penn State Scranton a late 6-3 lead. Despite little rally of their own Penn State Mont Alto only managed to bring home one run. Moore struck out the last batter of the game giving her eight strikeouts for the game and advancing Penn State Scranton to the second round where they took on the number one seed, Penn State Brandywine (22-16 overall, 12-1 conference), immediately following their dramatic come from behind win. Penn State Scranton fell to 1-1 in day one following an 11-1 loss to the top seed. On day two Penn State Scranton took the field against the number six seed, Penn State Schuylkill (12-18 overall, 4-10 conference), following another four hour delay due to poor field conditions from rain. After a close 1-0 game for the first five innings of play Penn State Schuylkill tacked two more runs onto their lead in the top of the sixth inning and another five in the top of the seventh, ultimately bringing the Penn State Scranton Lady Lions season to an end with an 8-0 win.
On May 8th the PSUAC released their list of the 2016 PSUAC All Conference team that featured four Lady Lions from Penn State Scranton, senior Kaitlin Calogero, sophomore McKenzie Moore, sophomore Julie Cardillo and freshman Nicole Davitt. Calogero and Cardillo were in the top 10 in the conference in batting average, Calogero in the three spot with a .444 and Cardillo in the eight spot with a .409 average. Moore ranked 9th in homeruns with two and earn run average with a 4.20 ERA and Davitt ranked 23rd in batting average with a .366 average and 20th in doubles with 15 on the season.