Preview: Softball Looks to Tap In to Championship Potential

Thursday, February 28, 2013
 

As part of its preparation for the mental aspect of the game, the Muhlenberg softball team has been practicing “tapping,” a technique of tapping energy points on the body to relieve stress and anxiety.

And when the Mules finally take the field for the first time on Saturday at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla., they’ll be tapping into a great deal of talent and potential.

Angie Sisco
Sisco ranks 11th on the program's all-time list with 49 career appearances, including three shutouts.
Muhlenberg lost only two players from a 2012 squad that went 19-19 overall and 10-6 in the Centennial Conference. The Mules tied for third place in the CC but missed out on the playoffs on tiebreakers in a race that came down to the final day of the season.

Of the team’s six CC losses, four came by one run, and the Mules hope that greater mental focus will turn some of the close games around.

“One thing we’ve really been focusing on is the mental game – being mentally tough and confident,” said senior outfielder Jessica Costa. “We do the tapping, and we also working on breathing and clearing our minds, so when you get in the batter’s box you’re focused on one thing.”

One thing Muhlenberg should be good at again is scoring runs. The Mules hit .304 as a team last year and scored at least nine runs in 12 games. They set a school record for home runs in a season, and their totals in runs (217), doubles (61) and extra-base hits (90) were topped only by the 2011 CC championship squad.

The all-junior infield of Kelly Kline (first base), Erica Wenzel (second base), Colleen O’Donnell (shortstop) and Chelsea Benjamin (third base) contributed greatly to the offensive fireworks.

Jessica Costa
Costa is second among active Muhlenberg players with 15 career stolen bases.
Kline was named CC player of the year after hitting .478 and setting a host of school records, including most home runs in a season (12) and career (15). Wenzel hit .369 to earn a spot on the All-CC first team, while O’Donnell batted .280 with three home runs and a team-leading 37 runs scored, and Benjamin hit .333, a 95-point improvement from her freshman year.

In the outfield, senior Devon Barber, a career .302 hitter with 49 stolen bases, is back in center field, where she earned All-CC honorable mention last year. Costa, an excellent defensive player who had a career-high 19 hits last year, will contend for time in the outfield along with sophomores Jaimie Klotz (.302) and Alyssa Schell (.295).

Senior Elizabeth Sullivan takes over behind the plate, and the Mules have a strong group of freshmen who will push for at-bats.

Senior Angie Sisco and sophomores Kelsey Jones and Heather Porrini will split the innings in the circle. Sisco is poised to have a big final season after going 6-5 last year. Jones emerged as one of the top pitchers in the CC as a freshman, going 9-9 with a 2.86 ERA and setting the school record for strikeouts by a freshman (91). Porrini pitched in 13 games and picked up three wins.

“Even though we have a young team, we looked great in the fall,” said Costa. “We all work well together. I’ve never met a group of girls who get along as well as we do.”

That strong team dynamic could go a long way as Muhlenberg tries to win the CC championship for the third straight odd-numbered year.

“One thing we always say is, Do the little things right,” said Costa. “If we do the little things right, the big picture will take care of itself.”