MONT ALTO, Pa. – After finishing the 2017 season on the outside looking in to the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) Championship Tournament, the Penn State Mont Alto softball team have a renewed focus in hopes of returning to postseason play.
Under the direction of 2nd year head coach Heath Newell, the 2018 season will feature eight non-conference games including four contests against NCAA Division III opponents. After their season-opener against Trinity Washington on March 17, Mont Alto return home for a doubleheader with Christendom College on March 20 and open its conference slate against Penn State Beaver with a home and away series the weekend of March 24.
Mont Alto will travel to Christendom College for a road doubleheader on March 20 and the team will play 16-straight Penn State University Athletic Conference games before finishing off the regular season with a home twinbill against Trinity Washington on April 24.
"The team has set forth high expectations going into the season," said head coach Heath Newell. "It's our goal to win more games than we did a year ago and make a run towards the top of the Penn State University Athletic Conference."
Leading the PSUMA pitching staff once again is senior Cassidy Feaser (Shippensburg, Pa. / Faith Tabernacle). Feaser has appeared in the pitcher's circle 35 times during her collegiate career owning a career record of 13-13. Sophomore Mackenzie Brymesser (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) will aim for more time in the circle following a productive preseason.
Penn State Mont Alto hit a combined .263 a season ago and will look to swing hot bats from the onset of the 2018 season. Junior Krista Feaser (Shippensburg, Pa. / Faith Tabernacle) and sophomore Helayna Stanko (Biglerville, Pa. / Biglerville) highlight the returning letterwinners. Feaser hit .302, had six RBIs and tied a career-high with 16 runs scored, which landed All-PSUAC Honorable Mention recognition.
Stanko accumulated 16 hits, hit .296, and tallied seven RBIs. Her four extra-base hits tied for first on the team. The Nittany Lions also added nine first-year player's to this year's squad.
"We recruited well by finding players that fit well in our system," said Newell. "I'm very excited that my position players are able to play multiple positions so that gives me a plethora of different combinations to work with throughout the season."
Leading the group of talented freshman is infielder Brooklyn Wagner (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) who was voted a team captain along with senior Cassidy Feaser (Shippensburg, Pa. / Faith Tabernacle). Other newcomers to the PSUMA program include Sydney Binner (Port St. Lucie, Fla. / St. Lucie West Centennial), outfielder Brittney Wilson (Saint Thomas, Pa. / James Buchanan), infielder Tabetha McIe (Baltimore, Md. / Patapsco), outfielder Abby Ebersole (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro Area), junior Dara Murray (Greencastle, Pa. / Greencastle Antrim), and junior catcher Monica Fleshman (Gettysburg, Pa. / Gettysburg).
The Penn State Mont Alto softball team open the 2018 season on Saturday, March 17 when the Nittany Lions travel to Trinity Washington University for a their season-opening doubleheader.