UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Despite not claiming the top seed out of the Eastern Division, second-seeded Penn State Brandywine left no doubt who the top team in Penn State University Athletic Conference softball was as the Lions slugged their way to a 14-2 victory over No. 1 Penn State Schuylkill at Beard Field on Monday evening, capturing their fourth-straight league title.
Brandywine (25-8-1), the only team from the campus to ever win four consecutive titles, matched the program's single-season victory record, winning its 25th game of the spring under Head Coach Mark Caserta's direction. The Lions will now head to the USCAA World Series in DuBois, Pa., after claiming the automatic bid awarded to the PSUAC champion.
Brandywine hitters put on a show, bashing 15 hits in just four innings, including four that went for extra bases. Four players – Alexa Anderson (West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford), Maddie Malfara (Ardsley, Pa./Abington), Arianna Segich (Ocean City, N.J./Ocean City) and Katy Steffen (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) – all produced three hits. Anderson, who finished a triple shy of a cycle, and Steffen both knocked five runs, while Segich and Malfara each added a pair of RBI. Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) chipped in two hits and scored three times.
Katie DeStefano (Kennett Square, Pa./Kennett) reached 100 career hits, slapping a single during the second inning to reach triple digits. She also went the distance in the circle for the 25th time this season and third time in two days during the tournament, striking out six, while allowing two runs over five innings. DeStefano is the only pitcher in the USCAA with 20 victories this spring.
Brandywine put its offense on display early as the first four hitters reached base in the first inning. Segich led off with a bunt single, moved to third when Rachel Cherubini (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) reached on an error, and scored on Anderson's base hit. Steffen followed with a two-run double, making the score 3-0.
Schuylkill plated two runs in the second, but Brandywine immediately countered with four runs during the bottom of the frame. Anderson and Segich both doubled in runs, while Steffen pushed Anderson across the plate with a base hit.
Brandywine continued to pour it on in the third. DeStefano's suicide squeeze plated Velez and Segich added an RBI single before Anderson put Schuylkill away with a three-run home run, her second of the tournament and seventh overall this spring.
Malfara added a two-run double in the fourth to cap the scoring before DeStefano set down Schuylkill in order in the fifth, striking out Danielle Lilly to set off Brandywine's celebration.
Brandywine received the No. 5 seed in the USCAA World Series earlier in the day and will be matched up with NHTI, the No. 4 seed, during its first game. That contest is scheduled for 2:00 pm on Monday, May 14 in DuBois, Pa.