New Kensington softball team’s playoff fate in the hands of opponents

A pair of conference doubleheaders in the Pennsylvania towns of Schuylkill Haven and Hazleton will determine the playoff fate of Penn State New Kensington. And the Lady Lions will not be on the field.

After a regular season-ending doubleheader loss April 21 at home against Penn State Mont Alto, 4-3 and 8-2, coach Mike Marsili’s team dropped from second place to fifth place in the Penn State University Athletic Conference with a 9-7 record. The team chances of advancing to the four-team playoffs hinge on two losses April 24 by Penn State Schuylkill, 9-5, to visiting Penn College, 6-6, or a split April 25 by Penn State Hazleton, 8-6, with visiting Penn State Worthington Scranton, 0-14. However, two losses by Schuylkill will elevate Penn College into the playoff hunt. The Wildcats have two games remaining on April 27 at Penn State Greater Allegheny, 2-10.

The New Kensington Lady Lions lost five of six games during a four-day span last week to forfeit control of their destiny. A doubleheader sweep April 18 by Penn State Fayette started the downward spiral that included a split at home April 20 with Schuylkill.

Despite the slide, junior pitcher Tarra Oravec continued to rack-up conference awards. For the third time in April, Oravec was named PSUAC Pitcher of the Week, April 15-21. The Kiski Area High School graduate won two games against Hazleton and Schuylkill, going 12 innings and allowing two runs while striking out 15. She helped her own cause at the plate, hitting .600 (9-15) with 3 homers and 9 RBIs.

The do-it-all Oravek is among the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s national leaders in five hitting and pitching categories. She is second in home runs, 8, fourth in RBIs, 29, and 11th in average, .444. She is also seventh in strike outs, 86, and 12th in ERA, 3.27.

Freshman catcher Rachel Lojas has cleared the fences four times, good for seventh place in the USCAA. As the team, the New Kensington Lady Lions are fourth in the nation in home runs with 15.

The top four teams in the nine-team league advance to the double-elimination PSUAC championship. The tournament begins May 6 at Penn State Mont Alto.


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Last Updated April 24, 2013