Time builds character, and Penn State has seen a lot of extra time at Beard Field just this past week.
The Nittany Lions have had two extra-inning games at home, both resulting in wins. It takes a lot for a team to compete an extra hour or two according to Coach Clarisa Crowell.
“They’re just a resilient group that’s playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Crowell said. “No matter what happens they don’t get phased.”
The Nittany Lions battled Pitt, winning in eight innings. Emily Maddock walked it off with a single Tuesday night.
Then on Friday, Beard Field hosted Iowa for nine innings ending with a walk-off home-run from Liana Jones.
Wins and losses come in all shapes and sizes. It may not be the best game strategy to win in extras, but Penn State has proven this wrong.
This is one of the best starts for the blue and white in years. The 2023 team has matched its 1974 predecessor’s record 7-0 start and now ties 2006, the best in program history.
Crowell credited the team for that success.
“First thing, they play together. They stay together no matter what happens, good or bad,” Crowell said. “They just continue to fight.”’
The ambiance and relationship between coaches and players is very transparent. Both sides have expectations, but they go into games wanting to win.
Bailey Parshall just does “what she’s told,” and her coach could not be more proud of her and her teammates’ work on and off the field.
Crowell said her team has grown emotionally and in maturity over the past year. They aren’t phased by a run deficit — they just fight and figure out a way to win.
Penn State has the second most shutout wins in the Big Ten and notched another against Pitt.
Culture at Penn State is about “being tough” and “gritty” according to the head coach. It is a daily phrase used on the softball field in and out of practice.
These longer games are all about “toughness" and “fight” and the Nittany Lions fought to the finish. Both competitions were scoreless or tied for more than half of the seven innings.
“They just fight and they scrap,” Crowell said. “That is what we are about as a program.”
The team doesn’t just center on the results but the process behind it. Parshall notched her 100th strikeout this season on Friday. Her coaches and teammates are proud, but emphasize “focusing on the process.”
The Nittany Lions expect competitive matchups against teams like Pitt and Iowa. Now as Big Ten play has kicked off, these longer games will help develop the grit and resilience.
“We needed that Pitt game that prepared us for tonight,” Crowell said. “I’m incredibly proud and they deserved that win.”
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