Clarion U. Softball Picked Fifth in Six Team PSAC Central; Local Players Lead Golden Eagles

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Coming off a 6-31 season, the Clarion University softball team is picked to finish fifth in the six-team PSAC Central.

After going back to just an East-West format the last two years, the conference has returned to a three-division format this year that it used from 2009-2013 with the Golden Eagles returning to the Central Division along with Bloomsburg, IUP, Mansfield, Lock Haven and Pitt-Johnstown.

A year ago, Clarion finished last in the PSAC West with a conference record of 5-26. It marked the fifth straight season the Golden Eagles finished last in their division and the ninth time in the last 10 years Clarion finished in last place.

Second-year head coach Cheryl Peterson has a young roster this season with 11 of the 17 players being either freshmen or sophomores with just three seniors.

A few local players should play key roles this season.

Junior shortstop/third baseman Casey Wilcox hails from DuBois High School.

Wilcox hit .301 last year with two home runs, seven doubles and 16 RBIs. In two seasons, she is a .257 career hitter with three home runs, nine doubles and 24 RBIs.

Senior second baseman Ashley Barenchik comes from Punxsutawney.

In 2015, Barenchik hit .211 with two doubles and two RBIs. In three years at Clarion, she is a .201 hitter with a home run, eight doubles and six RBIs.

A pair of sophomores also are looking for increased playing times in outfielder Audrey Hummell from Clarion High School and pitcher Marissa Peterson from Cranberry High School.

Hummell played in 22 games with four starts last year and was 0-for-11 at the plate, while Peterson pitched in two games with a 9.72 ERA.

Another key player for the Golden Eagles will be  third baseman Christina Tressler, who for the first time in her career is also listed as a catcher, leads the senior group. She hit .288 with three home runs, nine doubles and 16 RBIs in 2015. In her three years at Clarion, Tressler is a .314 career hitter with six home runs, 19 doubles and 32 RBIs.

Another key returnee is junior shortstop/third baseman Casey Wilcox from DuBois High School.

The Golden Eagles open their season March 4 against Winston-Salem State in Raleigh, N.C.

NOTES – Clarion hasn’t finished at .500 in conference play since going 10-10 in 2003 when it was 16-20-1 overall. It followed that season up by going 8-12 in PSAC West play and 12-18 overall in 2004. Since then, the Golden Eagles are 55-311-1 overall and 18-204-1 in conference play with five winless conference seasons.

First place votes are in parenthesis

1. Bloomsburg (5)
2. IUP
3. Lock Haven (1)
4. Mansfield
5. Clarion
6. Pitt-Johnstown

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