By Andy Kuros, GoPSUsports.com Student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State softball will travel to Gulf Shores, Alabama to compete in the Sand Dollar Classic to open its season this weekend. The Nittany Lions will play five games over the course of the three-day tournament, including doubleheaders on both Friday and Saturday.
One of the weekend's games is against No. 15 Ole Miss, which comes with an increased sense of importance for one Nittany Lion. Sophomore catcher Kennedy Legg will not only be playing in her first weekend for the Blue and White, but she will be doing so against her former team.
Legg, who committed to play for the Rebels coming out of high school in Keller, Texas, made the decision to transfer to Penn State after her freshman year.
"I visited the (Penn State) campus before I committed to Ole Miss, so when I decided I was going to transfer, my first thought was Penn State," Legg said. "I talked to coach Tek here and it seemed like a great fit."
Legg credited her Nittany Lion teammates for making the difficult process of transferring schools considerably easier for her.
"When I got back on campus and met all the girls, I just fell in love," Legg added.
Head coach Amanda Lehotak noticed how well Legg has fit into Penn State's program.
"Kennedy's done a great job," Lehotak said. "Transferring is a really hard thing to do if you've never done it."
"I've never seen someone come in and fit in so well right away," she added. "The team took her in as one of their own."
As a freshman at Ole Miss, Legg hit .286 over 12 games despite being used mainly as a pinch hitter and pinch runner. She now has the golden opportunity of getting to defeat her old team.
"Part of me wants to prove them wrong," Legg said. "Either way, win or lose, I'm happy with the choice I made."
The pre-med major looks for an increased role on a Penn State team that is welcoming eight other newcomers to the program this year. With a full season of experience in the Southeastern conference under her belt, she hopes to provide leadership for a rather young squad.
"I feel like I can bring a sense of leadership to the team," Legg said.
"She fits exactly what we expect out of an athlete academically, athletically, and in the community," Lehotak said. "She's provided a tremendous boost to our moral, our team, and our culture."
Lehotak will look for Legg, along with the team's seven other underclassman, to fill the holes left by losing five starters from last season. That new group has made an immediate impact.
"The dynamic has been awesome," Lehotak said. "At this point in the year, we feel like they have always been with us. All the kids who have come in have shown great work ethic."
Penn State will open the season vs. No. 11 Alabama Friday at 12 p.m. followed by a matchup with Virginia Tech later in the day. The Nittany Lions will square off against Ole Miss and Legg's former teammates Saturday at 1 p.m. in their third game of the regular season.