Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, March 3, 2006
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Softball Seeks Return to Playoffs

For the 2006 season, the Muhlenberg softball team has adopted the slogan “Extra Effort, Not Extra Innings.”

“Last year we played extra innings a lot and played a lot of close games,” explained senior Lindsay Ruhling. “We made it a
Missy DeFrain
DeFrain leads active Muhlenberg players in career hits (57) and RBI (40).
goal not to do that this year. We want to put in the extra effort all the time so we don’t have to go to extra innings.”

The extra effort has showed in the preseason for a team that is determined to turn things around. The Mules went 14-19 last year and missed the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time. They went 6-10 in CC games, with three off the losses coming in extra innings and three others by one run.

Muhlenberg’s strength should be its pitching. Junior Nicole Washburn earned second-team All-CC honors, finishing with a hard-luck 5-8 record and a 2.93 ERA. Sophomore Katie Vecchione was impressive as a reliever and spot starter, leading the team with a 2.38 ERA and winning four of five decisions.

The Mules will go with a combination of veterans and newcomers in an attempt to kickstart an offense that was shut out nine times last year. Ruhling, the starter in left, had her best offensive year in 2005, hitting .283 with eight doubles. Juniors Katie Olson (second base), who led the team with 18 runs scored and four stolen bases, and Hilary Marinchak (centerfield), who hit .270 in her first complete season, will look to set the table. Senior first base Missy DeFrain (team-leading 20 RBI) and junior third base Tina Roth (team-leading nine doubles) will try to drive them in.

The team will also need extra effort to compensate for the loss of Tara DeMarzo, the starting catcher who was involved in a serious automobile accident in the fall. Although she has recovered well and is expected to be on the sidelines for most of the games, including those on the team’s season-opening trip to Florida, her leadership and positive influence on the field will be missed.

“We’re a close group,” said Ruhling. “And we’re just going to have to pull a little more for each other because we are missing that link without Tara.”

Two catchers are among a talented freshman class that is expected to make significant contributions immediately. If all goes well, the extra effort could lead to extra games – postseason games – at the end of the year.

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Last updated March 3, 2006