CRESSON - The Mount Aloysius softball team, coming off of a 26-13 season in 2013 that ended in the second round of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoffs, will look to build off of a strong fall campaign in their quest for another deep run to the conference playoffs this spring.
In fall ball competition, freshman pitcher Heather Picard took the circle against Penn State Altoona, the 2013 AMCC champions. She threw seven innings while allowing just three hits and one unearned run in a 1-0 loss. Offensively, the Mounties outhit the Lions 7-3.
"Heather came out strong and once she was comfortable got even stronger as the game went on. What she did against Altoona was amazing against their lineup," said coach Carl Teeter, who is entering his seventh season with an overall record of 145-84.
The Mounties followed that up with a 5-1 victory over Lycoming in their second fall game. Kelsey Ickes, a Claysburg-Kimmel graduate, was dominating in the circle, pitching seven innings while giving up two hits and one unearned run and registering eight strikeouts.
Freshmen Chelsea Engeholm and Bridgit Yothers, a Chestnut Ridge graduate, led the offense in both games. Engeholm went 4-for-7 at the plate in the two games with four doubles and two RBIs, while Youthers went 4-for-7 with two doubles.
The 2014 Mounties will mix strong leadership and experience from their upperclassmen with a talented freshmen class.
"This is by far the best team we have ever put on the field as a whole," said Teeter, who has guided the Mounties to two AMCC regular season championships. "We are four pitchers deep with a number of players who can play a lot of different positions, without sacrificing talent and ability."
Ickes will lead a deep pitching staff. She was named AMCC Second Team All-Conference last season.
In 24 games, she compiled a 14-6 record with a 2.47 earned run average. Ickes also pitched the program's first perfect game while adding a no-hitter in 2013. Rounding out the pitching staff will be Picard, Taylor Mansfield and Yothers.
The infield will be anchored by 2013 AMCC First Team All-Conference selection Lindsy Sammarco, a Bishop Carroll graduate, at third base.
Engeholm will hold down the shortstop position with Emilee Gearhart at second base. Alexandria Teeter and Mansfield will see time at first base while freshman Hayley McGowan and sophomore Kaleigh Roop along with freshman Alyssa Wills, a Cambria Heights graduate, will share duties behind the plate.
The outfield will prove to be a strength with a combination of speed and powerful arms that will make runners think twice about taking an extra base. AMCC First Team All-Conference pick and Flinton native Jalisa Westover will patrol center field and will be surrounded by two-time all-conference selection Danielle Hart, Yothers, Central Cambria graduate Kiersten Lorditch, McKenzie Moore and Brandie Mott.
Following trips to the Roanoke Softball Bash in Virginia and the Snowbird Softball Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Mounties will have their home opener on March 20 against Waynesburg University.
AMCC play is set to begin on March 29 as the Mounties host Pitt-Bradford.