Softball vs. Saint Francis, Weber (41)

Destiny Weber (41) jumps on home plate after hitting a home run during the softball game against Saint Francis at Beard Field on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. The Red Flash defeated the Nittany Lions 17-13.

As Penn State ushers in a different era of softball, new head coach Clarisa Crowell will be at the forefront of significant changes to the program.

Formerly the head coach of the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks for the last eight seasons, Crowell was named the 2019 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year for leading her team to a 35-16 record, including a 16-4 finish in conference play. 

Crowell’s pitching staff shut out the opponent 11 times in the 2019 campaign.

Albeit cut short in 2020, the RedHawks were off to a 12-8 start on the heels of some excellent pitching performances. In just 20 games, Miami’s defense and pitching staff held its opponents to two or fewer runs 11 times.

While Penn State’s pitchers were 120th in the nation with a 3.38 ERA in 2020 before having the season cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Miami pitching staff compiled a 2.57 ERA collectively. 

The RedHawks finished the shortened season 62nd in the country in the category.

A graduate of Virginia Tech, Crowell was a four-year letterwinner in softball and a three-time all-conference player.

She excelled on the diamond as a pitcher, a third baseman and as an outfielder.

After hanging up her spikes, Crowell began to establish herself in the coaching ranks for her pitching expertise.

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She spent six seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma State and worked primarily with the pitchers and catchers.

During her time in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Crowell helped lead the Cowgirls back to postseason play as Oklahoma State returned to the College World Series for the first time since 1998.

Crowell was part of a coaching staff that was named the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year. 

After finishing up her time in the Midwest, Crowell helped develop pitchers for the RedHawks. 

Though serving as the team’s head coach at Miami, Crowell also held the role of pitching coach.

A pitcher who improved under Crowell’s tutelage is the RedHawks’ Amber Logemann. As a senior in 2016, Logemann paced her team as its ace and finished the year 27-11 with a 1.93 ERA.

Logemann’s 27 wins tied her for the second-most single-season victories in Redhawks’ history.

Despite strong pitching, Crowell’s forte in the coaching department does not come from the batter's box. In 2020, her RedHawks hit .247, good for 212th in the country. 

Meanwhile, Penn State hit .226 as a team and finished in 254th for this category.

While the Nittany Lions started the 2020 season at a middling 11-15 record before having their spring season cut short, an improvement in the runs scored department should be at the top of Penn State’s priority list.

Crowell brings a proven track record of pitching improvement and success which led to both victories and NCAA tournament births, like Miami’s 2016 appearance.

If she can bring her pitching expertise to life at University Park, the Nittany Lions may have a more successful campaign on the diamond whenever the next softball season does start.

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