NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — During a six-game swing through Florida, which opened the Penn State New Kensington softball season, Allison Nicklas hit for a .533 average, which is tops in the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC), and third in the nation in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).
Nicklas, a second-year student in the Radiological Sciences program, went 8 for 15 with two extra-base hits, walk, RBI and stolen base. The Seneca Valley High School product also scored a team-leading five runs.
“Allie had a great week at the plate in Florida,” said Mike Marsili, beginning his ninth year as head coach. “The pitching we faced down there was pretty good, but she sprayed line drives all over the field and was constantly on base.”
A consummate leadoff hitter, Nicklas reached base nine times to set the table for the number three and four hitters. Freshman catcher Morgan Williams (Bermudian Springs H.S.) and sophomore centerfielder Madison Graham (Butler) supplied the power with each knocking in three runs on four hits. Williams (.286 average) had two doubles and Graham (.267) had the team’s lone home run.
The multifaceted Nicklas is equally adept on defense, whether she is handling the hot corner or patrolling the outfield. She split her time between third base and left field during the Florida trip.
“We moved her around at different positions on defense, but it didn't affect her focus at the plate,” Marsili said.
The spring break trip was the first time on a field for the New Kensington Lions. The players had the chance to face live pitching after two months in the campus Athletics Center going against a pitching machine in a batting cage. Although they went 0-6, they came together as a team, which will serve them well in the regular season.
“I think they found out that individual talent doesn't always produce success on the field; you have to work hard as a team,” Marsili said. “If you believe in yourself and your teammates, good things will happen.”
After the cancellation of four home games due to the lingering snow that made the field unplayable, the 2017 season gets under way at home on Friday, March 24 with a 2 p.m. doubleheader against Penn State Greater Allegheny at Alcoa Field in Upper Burrell, Pennsylvania. The game is the PSUAC opener for both teams.
Marsili's team is set to play six home doubleheaders at Alcoa Field, located a few miles from campus at the intersection of state Rt. 780 and White Could Road. The schedule features 20 conference games.
For the full schedule and roster, visit Softball
After a seven-year hiatus, baseball returned to intercollegiate competition on March 5 in Vero Beach, Florida, home of Historic Dodgertown. First-year coach Jim Perry’s squad lost their six games, but gained valuable playing time. Like their softball counterparts, the players were outside for the first time in Florida.
Baseball also opens its PSUAC schedule on March 24 with a 2 p.m. doubleheader versus Greater Allegheny at Valley High School in New Kensington. The field serves as the home for the baseball team. The team will play five home doubleheaders and 18 league contests, overall.
For more information, visit Baseball