ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend women's softball team was chosen to finish in first place in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC), according to the preseason voting by the league's head coaches.
The Lions are looking to defend the AMCC title for the fourth consecutive season after being declared champions last season due to the cancellation of the championship resulting from poor weather conditions. Medaille and Penn State Altoona, who both tied for second place one year ago, are expected to fill the second and third spots, respectively, in the upcoming season.
Senior infielder Alexa Bupp (Warren, PA/Warren) was named Preseason Player of the Year while AJ Nichols (Pittsburgh, PA/Shaler) was selected Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Bupp, the reigning AMCC Player of the Year, recorded a team-best 17 doubles, finished second on the team in hits (45) and RBIs (32), and posted a .360 batting average for Behrend. Bupp also tallied a conference-best four saves and three wins on the mound, allowing just six earned runs in 34 innings pitched while striking out 40, tabbing a team-best 1.24 ERA. She was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) third team all-East Region honoree and First-Team All-AMCC.
Nichols joined Bupp on the First-Team All-Conference and the NFCA third team All-East Region squads as well. She notched the most runs batted in in the conference with 34, while also tallying the second-highest batting average in the AMCC (.411). The pitcher sat down a total of 71 batters, and tied for the most wins in 2017. Nichols posted a 2.29 ERA in 20 appearances and posted two-shutout victories. She finished her sophomore year leading the team in hits (58), runs scored (34), and triples (3).
The AMCC tournament will be held May 4-6 at the site of the #1 seed, with the winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
1. Penn St. Behrend (1)
2. Medaille (T2)
3. Penn St. Altoona (T2)
4. Mount Aloysius (T5)
5. Pitt-Greensburg (4)
6. Pitt-Bradford (7)
7. Franciscan (T5)
8. D'Youville (8)
9. La Roche (10)
10. Hilbert (9)