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April 11, 2013
By Sean Flanery, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On what was one of the nicest days in State College so far this year, it was only fitting that one Nittany Lions would join history in the team's 4-1 victory over Saint Francis University (Pa.) on Tuesday night at Beard Field.
The stage was set. With one out and nobody on for the Lions in the bottom of the first, Penn State senior outfielder Cassidy Bell stepped into the box. With the first pitch missing just a bit inside, Bell noticed right away that the opposing pitcher was making a mistake.
"They were coming in on me and normally people don't," said Bell. "I was just excited that they were coming in. So, they were just throwing it in there and at first I didn't think it was going to go over, but it did. I'll take it."
On a 1-0 count, the senior connected on an inside pitch that cleared the wall in right field bringing her homerun count to 16 on the season. Her 16 homeruns this season place her atop the single-season homerun record list along with Jennifer Tripken, who blasted 16 homeruns for the Blue and White in 2002.
"Every time Cassidy steps up to the plate she swings so hard, she gives you a chance," said Penn State head coach Robin Petrini. "She's one of the top-50 players in the country and there's a reason for that. If she wanted to go to the WPF [Women's Professional Fast pitch] then she would have been drafted, but she wants to play in Italy. I mean she's a complete player."
The phrase 'complete player' only begins to describe Bell's success in the Blue and White this season and throughout her career. Her .462 season batting average ranks right at the top of the Penn State record book right along with her .351 career average. The homerun Bell blasted in Tuesday night's affair also brought her career total to 33, which is just one shy of tying the career record as well.
"If you think about it then it's not going to get done," said Bell. "I know I'm close to a few records, but I'm not thinking about it. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, playing out the year and maybe break a few, or a couple. Whatever happens, happens."
However, teams are beginning to catch on to just how dangerous Bell is when she digs her cleats in at the plate. In her second at-bat of the game, Saint Francis pitcher Keterah Devries showed no hesitation in intentionally walking the Penn State star, bringing the number to 10 intentional walks for Bell on the season.
"I'm getting used to it now," said Bell. "I feel like that's just going to be the strategy from here on out. That just means that it gives someone else an opportunity. Like, Macy [Jones] today when she hit the homerun."
With a player of Bell's caliber in the lineup, it works to the Nittany Lions' advantage as long as the players behind her step up with big hits, which has been happening of late for the Blue and White. Penn State (10-23) tallied its second-straight mid-week win with an 11-7 triumph over Pittsburgh on Wednesday before rain in Western Pennsylvania cut the doubleheader short.