Penn State Softball Struggling With Young Infield, Early Struggles Fielding

Penn State softball’s struggles during its first three tournaments of the season can be traced to one main recurring issue: defense. During last week’s tournament, the Nittany Lions committed at least one error per game. Their defensive issues have highlighted their slump as they head into the rest of the season.

“We’re trying everything,” head coach Amanda Lehotak said when asked about the team’s struggles.

Lehotak notes that usually the lack of defense is a trend that happens at the beginning of the season, since the team does not practice outside.

“Our best practice for defense is on gameday right now,” she said. “Holuba turf is very different, you know? We’ve played on sand. We’ve played on brick. We’ve played on clay. It’s different.”

This makes sense as the team doesn’t have the best setup for indoor practices. That means that the only time players get to touch the field to practice defense is about a half-hour before first pitch, which really isn’t enough to be thorough with practice.

The other issue, however, is that the infield is mainly composed of freshmen. Third baseman Michelle Leone, shortstop Kaitlyn Morrison, and second baseman L.A. Matthews are all freshmen who are starting for the Nittany Lions. Growing pains are expected when the infield is so young, and that is what fans have seen so far.

Leone leads the team with seven errors, while Matthews is tied for second with three and Morrison is tied for third with two. In total, the team has committed 21 errors.

“[Defense] is something we’ve talked about and it’s something we’re actively working on,” Lehotak adds. “We know that has to tighten up quickly.”

Penn State will return to action and hope to right this issue in the field against Georgia State in its first double-header of the I-75 Challenge on Friday.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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