Softball at home this weekend; conference title on the line

Sandwiching an eight-game winning streak between two losses, the Penn State New Kensington softball team concludes its regular season schedule April 20 and 21 with a four-game conference homestand at Wolf Pack Park in Lower Burrell, Pa.

The New Kensington Lady Lions, 8-2 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and 9-7 overall, play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, against Penn State Schuylkill and turn it around the next day at noon versus Penn State Mont Alto. The conference title and playoffs seeding are on the line for all three PSUAC teams.

Coach Mike Marsili’s squad, ranked 17th nationally in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, sits in second place in the PSUAC standings (prior to April 18 doubleheader at Penn State Fayette). Mont Alto, 7-1, and Schuylkill, 6-2, are in first and third place, respectively. The top four teams in the nine-team league advance to the double-elimination PSUAC tournament.

After a conference opener loss to Penn College in the first game of a doubleheader, the New Kensington Lady Lions reeled off eight consecutive victories, including sweeps of Penn State Beaver, Penn State Greater Allegheny and Penn State Worthington-Scranton, before falling April 15 in the nightcap of a twin bill at fourth-place Penn State Hazleton. In the first game at Hazleton, junior Tarra Oravek hit and pitched her way to a 9-7 extra-inning win. At the plate, Oravek had 6 RBIs, going 3-4 with a double and home run. On the mound, she picked up her team-leading fifth victory, going nine innings while allowing two earned runs and striking out eight. Oravek’s hitting proficiency increased her batting average to .468, which moved her to 10th nationally in the USCAA.

During the winning streak, Oravek and catcher Rachel Lojas earned conference awards for the week of April 1-7. Oravek, an administration of justice major from Kiski Area High School, was named PSUAC Pitcher of the Week for going 18 innings and giving up two runs, a 0.76 ERA. She picked up two wins while striking out 19.

Lojas, a freshman nuclear engineering major from Norwin High School, was named PSUAC Player of the Week.  In wins over Beaver and Penn College, she went 8-15, a .533 batting average. The power-hitting catcher had 2 doubles, a triple and a home run, 4 RBIs and scored 7 runs.

On the year, the battery mates are supplying a majority of the team’s offense. Oravek leads the team in average, RBIs (21), triples (2), and home runs (5). She is tied with sophomore shortstop Bridget Fisher (Burrell HS) in stolen bases with 4. Lojas tops the squad in runs (17) and doubles (4). She is second in average (.393), RBIs (10) and home runs (3). On the mound, Oravek is 5-4, with a 2.62 ERA and a shutout. She has 56 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.

New Kensington, undefeated at home, 4-0, faces two national ranked opponents. Schuylkill is 6th in the USCAA and is led by senior outfielder Tia Lyons, .537 average, and sophomore pitcher Bryanna Snowell, .488. Sowell is also the ace of the staff with a 9-4 record and a 2.53 ERA. The ninth-ranked Mont Alto is lead by freshman second baseman Jenna Rhodes, who is hitting .452 and sophomore outfielder Mackensie Trafka at .439.

For New Kensington’s schedule, results and statistics, visit

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Last Updated April 24, 2013