Seven-Run Second Ignites Penn State Offense
April 17, 2012
By Laura Finley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Indiana's Lora Olson released the pitch, ball one. Olson threw another one.
One hit was all it took for the sophomore to score the first grand slam of her career, extending Penn State's lead 8-1.
"I just wanted to get a base hit and score some runs," said Hatfield. "Anything to help [Marissa Diescher] out and give the defense a little bit to relax about. I just wanted to hit. I don't think it hit me that it was a grand slam until later."
With the help of Hatfield's grand slam and five RBIs, the Penn State softball team ended a three game series against Indiana on Sunday winning 9-4. After splitting a doubleheader on Saturday, the Nittany Lions immediately established their lead with a home run in the first by junior Cassidy Bell, her sixth of the season.
This was only the beginning for Penn State, who collected seven additional runs in the second. Senior Danee Collett started the streak bringing in three runners and extending the lead 4-1. Head coach Robin Petrini attributed this hit to be a major factor in the game.
"One person opens the door and it takes the pressure off of everybody else," said Coach Petrini. "Everybody else can relax. You drive the ball to the alley and you get multiple people scoring on it. Kasey's just seeing the ball really well. She crushed it. After cracking the bat there was just no hesitation that the ball was going out."
Following Collett's success, Hatfield dealt another blow to the Hoosiers with a grand slam, closing out the second with a Penn State score of 8-1. With this lead, Penn State settled down the rest of the game, holding on to their lead with relative ease.
"Everyone was just relaxed because we had confidence that our defense could make plays," said Hatfield. "Having that cushion especially for [Marissa Diescher] is a big thing. We had such a big lead that we could allow a few runs here and there. We knew we split the runs the first time so we could score them again."
Indiana made an attempt at a comeback, scoring a run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth, but freshman pitcher Marissa Diescher kept calm with reassurance from her catcher, Hatfield.
"I had a lead so it wasn't bad," said Diescher. "Once I had the runs come in, I just had to settle down and get back to just getting ground balls and taking outs one at a time. That's exactly what Kasie said to me. `Just keep pitching, you're doing great'."
With Diescher and her team able to hold off the Hoosiers another inning, Hatfield came up with another hit to score junior Kailyn Johnson and increase the lead 9-4. The win was well within the grasp of the Nittany Lions with only one inning left in the game. Indiana had nothing left for Penn State, however, as Diescher ended a complete game, allowing only one hit in the seventh.
"Our defense is handling the ball really well," said Coach Petrini. "Late in the innings one of the things we talked about was just to get outs. We're still learning and growing, but our offense put up tremendous numbers and Diescher pitched well."
Penn State hopes to continue producing on offense as the team heads back on the road this week against Wisconsin and Kent State.
"It has been really nice to be at home because we had been on the road for so long," said Coach Petrini. "But it doesn't matter whether [we're] here or someplace else; seeing the ball big is seeing the ball big. I just feel like our offense is starting to fire on all cylinders."