Softball Looks to Turn the Corner in 2006

Some things to think about as the Quakers look forward to 2006 ...

• Penn only lost one senior, Kimberly Le, from last season’s team and returns all eight starters.

• The Quakers return seven players who started at least 30 games last season. Six of them are either sophomores or juniors.

• Annie Kinsey and Stephanie Reichert became the first Quakers since 2000 to earn first-team All-Ivy League honors.

• Kaelin Ainley, Brandi King and Jen Nichols were all named honorable mention All-Ivy League.

• The Quakers return three .300 hitters from a year ago, and all of them have at least two years of eligibility remaining.

• In 2005, Kinsey hit .368, which was sixth-best in a season at Penn, and tallied 43 hits for fifth-best in a season at Penn.

• Kinsey and Reichert finished the 2005 season in the top-five in batting average in the Ivy League.

• As a team, the Red and Blue tied for second in the League in batting average with a .261 mark.

• Christina Khosravi, Jen Nichols, Brandi King, Meghan Cowen, Ainley and Kinsey combined for 69.1 percent of Penn’s run production last season.

• Teresa Leyden finished the season second in the nation in sacrifice bunts per game (0.44). She laid down 14 sacrifices.

• Kinsey was the second toughest batter to strike out in the country last season. As a freshman she fanned just twice in 117 at-bats.

• The Red and Blue were the toughest team in the Ancient Eight to strike out in 2005. They went down swinging just 151 times.

• Olivia Mauro and Lindsey Permar, the Quakers’ top returning pitchers, posted ERA’s under 4.00 last season

• Permar holds the single-season record with 112 strikeouts in 2004.

• Mauro was tied for first in the league with 15 games pitched in relief last season.

• Catcher Brandi King threw out eight base stealers in 2005, the second most in the league.

• First basemen Kim May had a .992 fielding percentage a year ago. She committed just one error in 119 putouts.

Quoting Coach Leslie King

On the team’s depth in 2006
“We have a big squad and we will have better team speed coming off the bench. Anna Puglisi can play outfield, second base and catcher. She also switch hits, which gives us a lot of versatility. Ilyssa Coghlan runs well and is a smart baserunner. From that standpoint, we have people who can come off the bench and play those roles.”

The team’s chemistry heading into 2006
“It’s one of our team’s strengths. They work very hard with their conditioning and weight lifting. I think that brings them together. They genuinely care about each other, and when the game is on the line they are going to pull a lot more for each other.”

On what they learned from the 2005 season
“They learned a lot about resiliency—how to show up when they’re tired and still perform. They really honed their mental skills last season.”

On what she learned from the 2005 season
“I need to focus more on the month of April and make sure we’re peaking then instead of in March. I felt like we peaked early last season.”

On her expectations for this season
“My expectations are to play winning softball. I think that is very doable. It’s something everyone wants. The talent level is now here, and there are really no excuses for us not to play winning softball. I really feel like this year is the year we’ll turn the corner.”

On the lineup
“We return all of our lineup from the end of last season. I don’t think we have a lot of holes. At the top of the order, Steph Reichert possesses a tremendous eye at the plate, she draws walks and she has the ability to hit the ball out of the park. Teresa Leyden is great at moving runners. In the middle of our order, Kinsey, Khosravi, Nichols and King are very good clutch hitters and run producers. At the bottom of our order, Kaelin Ainley serves as a second leadoff hitter.”

On the defense
“Our defense is very strong. They have good anticipation and they know where each other is going to be. They played outstanding defense in the fall—getting lead runners, throwing out runners at the plate and communicating. I’m confident that it will continue in the spring.”

On the starting pitching
“Lindsey Permar is our rock, she’s our most experienced pitcher on the staff. From there we have a lot of youth. Michelle Rehm was our number one going into last season before she suffered a stress fracture in her back. We have her back this year and hope she is healthy for the spring. Freshmen Emily Denstedt, Oona Mayo and Lori Lantzy will all compete for starting roles.”

On the bullpen
“Olivia Mauro will continue to pitch in a middle-relief role. She knows her role and she embraces it. Our closer’s role is still up for grabs.”

On playing in California during spring break
“We made a decision to go to California for spring break because we have a lot of kids from California on our team, we have a lot of alumni out there and it’s a big recruiting base. We’re also playing tougher teams. Loyola Marymount went to the the NCAA tournament last year, and Cal State Northridge is a very good Division I program. We’re definitely playing higher caliber teams, and you’ve got to play good teams to get better.”

On matching up in the Ivy League
“The Ivy League has so much parity, I truly believe anyone can beat anyone on a given weekend. Princeton is going to continue to be a powerhouse and Harvard is going to be tough, but it’s going to be a scramble after that. I would be happy to finish in the middle of the table, but you never know what can happen if you get a couple of good wins and get on a roll.”