The goal was simple for the 2005 softball team be competitive and make an impact. With the youth of the squad, six freshmen and 12 sophomores took a step in the right direction, notching four more overall wins and three more Ivy League wins than the previous two seasons.
There was a noticeable difference in offensive numbers this season as compared to last year. In three less games in 2005, Penn scored 37 more runs, banged out 30 more hits and drove in 39 more runners. The Quakers team batting average went up 36 points (.261) while opponents’ batting average dropped 25 points to .277. The Red and Blue also had six All-Ivy League selections for the first time since 1994.
It was the group of freshmen that made one of the biggest impacts in 2005. The Red and Blue posted two rookies Annie Kinsey and Christina Khosravi up the middle and put the ball into the capable hands of pitcher Ann Ferracane.
Kinsey, the second baseman who started 38 games, was near the team lead in every offensive category. She finished her first season with a team-high .368 batting average, the third-best in the Ancient Eight and the sixth-highest in Penn history, 43 hits, 16 RBI and 55 total bases. She was third on the team with 15 runs and struck out just twice in 117 at-bats and finished the season ranked second in the nation as the toughest to strikeout. She also recorded nine multi-hit games. Kinsey was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on March 22 after an impressive hitting .455 with 11 total bases and three runs batted in and a run scored. In Penn's 9-4 victory over Lafayette at the Mizuno/Anderson Bash at the Beach on March 18, Kinsey went 4-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. That same day, she went 2-for-3 with a RBI in Penn’s 4-1 win over Saint Joseph’s. Kinsey was named the team’s Offensive MVP and first-team All-Ivy League, becoming Penn’s first second baseman to do so.
Khosravi, who appeared in all 39 games, starting 37 of those contests at shortstop, was also near the top on the offensive side. She finished her rookie campaign with a .301 batting average, 31 hits, 14 runs scored, 12 RBI and four stolen bases.
In the circle, Ferracane was a perfect complement to sophomore Lindsey Permar. Like her predecessor, Ferracane made a definite impression. She went 7-7 with a 2.71 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 95.2 innings of work. She posted four or more strikeouts in 10 of her 23 appearances, while opponents hit just .238 against the righthander. She was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on March 29 after she threw a complete game, three-hitter and picked up a save in Penn’s doubleheader sweep of Rider. She also earned Penn Student-Athlete of the Week honors on April 17 as she was virtually untouchable on the mound posting a 0.60 ERA and 15 strikeouts while walking two in 11.2 innings in the previous week. In Penn's 1-0 Ivy League win over Dartmouth, Ferracane tossed her fifth complete game of the season and her first collegiate shutout by fanning a career-high 13 batters and scattering six hits. She also pitched 4.2 innings of relief in game two against Harvard, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out two batters. Ferracane was named Penn’s Defensive MVP and the Player’s Player of the Year. She also received All-Ivy League honorable mention honor.
A Good Start to the Season
Penn opened its season with its annual trip to the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. The Quakers got out to a bit of tough start drawing Patriot League champion Lehigh twice in its first three games, but the Red and Blue righted the ship winning three of its last four games, including an exciting 12-5 victory in eight innings over Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne. Penn returned to the Northeast with a nearly a .500 record (4-5) for the first time in two years.
The Quakers continued tournament play at the Mizuno/Anderson Bat Bash at the Beach in Georgetown, Del. where they picked up a pair of wins over Lafayette and Saint Joseph’s. Penn gained momentum heading into Ivy League play winning three-in-a-row, including a sweep of Rider by scores of 7-5 and 5-1.
Ivy League Action
Penn drew future Ivy League Champion Princeton in the Ancient Eight opener. The Red and Blue could not master Pitcher of the Year Erin Snyder, falling in game one, 4-0. In game two, the Quakers battled the Tigers with a scoreless game into the sixth inning, but one pitch would be the difference, as Melissa Finley hit a three-run home run to give Princeton the 3-0 win. For its next League match-up, Penn ran into a hot-hitting Cornell and Player of the Year Lauren May, and dropped both contests.
However, the Quakers would not settle as they pulled out a convincing sweep of Columbia on April 10, taking the games by scores of 6-5 and 5-1. In game one, the Red and Blue posted a 6-5 come-from-behind victory sparked by junior Jen Nichols’ home run in the top of the fifth inning. Trailing the Lions, 5-2, Nichols’ solo shot to left center closed the gap to two runs and the Quakers continued its offensive attack for the win. In game two, sophomore Brandi King drove in the game-winning run in the top of the sixth inning with a single to left field to plate Khosravi. Sophomore Olivia Mauro tossed the complete game allowing just one run on five hits and striking out three batters.
Penn won its third-consecutive Ancient Eight game with a 1-0 victory over Dartmouth on April 16. Ferracane fanned a career-high 13 batters and needed only one run of support. The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the second inning as sophomore Kim May delivered a two-out single down the left field line to plate Nichols. Ferracane earned her first collegiate shutout in her fifth complete game of the season, walking only two batters in addition to her strikeouts.
Closing out the Season
After the win against Dartmouth, the Red and Blue hit a bit of a rough patch dropping eight in-a-row. However, the Quakers gave competitors something to think about in the seasons to come, in solid offensive display in its 5-4 win at Yale to close the year. The Quakers pounded out nine hits, including three doubles and a home run. Kinsey finished her red-hot rookie campaign in exciting style, blasting her first collegiate home run in her last at bat of the season. She was one of three Quakers to post a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore Steph Reichert went a perfect 4-for-4 with a run scored, while Nichols went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Quakers earned first-team All-Ivy status for the first time since 2000 as Kinsey and Reichert were selected by the Ancient Eight coaches as first-team honorees. Kinsey became the Red and Blue’s first second baseman to earn the nod. Penn had six All-Ivy League honorees, the most since 1994, as Ainley, King, Ferracane and Nichols earned honorable mention.
Penn earned some recognition on the national level as two student-athletes finished the season ranked in two offensive categories.
Sophomore Teresa Leyden finished the year second in sacrifice hits per game recording 14 in 12 games played (0.44). She led the nation in the category for two weeks from April 17 through April 24.
Kinsey finished the year as the second-toughest to strikeout in the country. Kinsey fanned just twice in 117 at-bats. She sits behind juniors Tiffany Haas of top-ranked Michigan, who has struck out four times in 196 at-bats and Keri Meyer of Robert Morris, who struck-out just once in 143 at-bats this season.
-Written by Kelly McCarthy, athletic communications assistant