While State College suffered a snow-filled winter, Cassidy Bell didn’t let that cool off her bat, as the senior hit three home runs in the season-opening Troy Cox Classic.
The starting centerfielder for the Nittany Lions softball team finished the five game tournament in New Mexico with a .600 batting average and nine RBIs on way to earning Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time in her career. The Lions finished the weekend 2-3.
“I wasn’t expecting [earning Big Ten Player of the Week]. I normally take the first weekend to get all the kinks out,” Bell said. “I just try to get back in the swing of things [in opening tournaments].”
Additionally, the Bakersfield, Calif., native extended her current hitting streak to 16 games, registering a hit in every game. But instead of putting her current run in perspective, Bell takes in every plate appearance individually.
“I always just think of it as one hit at a time and don’t focus on anything else. If I can make solid contact most of the time I’ll be happy,” Bell said. “I just focus on getting a nice solid hit.”
In her junior year, Bell certainly made solid contact often, batting .423 on the season, breaking Nan Sichler’s 24-year-old school record. The 2012 Nittany Lion’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player also smashed the Jennifer Tripken's 2002 slugging percentage record of .678 by posting a .784 mark.
The unanimous All Big Ten performer’s hitting prowess has left a memorable impression on teammates and head coach Robin Petrini.
“[Bell] swings harder than any other player I’ve ever coached,” said Petrini, who has over twenty years of collegiate softball coaching experience. “When you swing hard all the time, good things happen.”
Freshman Macy Jones, whose impressive Penn State debut included nine RBIs and the Lion’s first two wins of the season from the mound, said that she looked up to Bell while she was in high school.
“When I was getting recruited I’d watch and be like ‘Cassidy Bell…she’s amazing,’ ” Jones said. “My dad tries to tell me I’m the next ‘Cassidy Bell’. I look up to her a lot and she’s such a great player it would be amazing if I could ever be as good as her.”
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