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La Roche Preseason Favorite to Win AMCC Softball Title

PITTSBURGH — La Roche College is the favorite to win a fourth consecutive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title according to a recent preseason vote by the league's head coaches.

The Redhawks received four of seven first-place votes to edge 2003 AMCC Tournament runner-up Penn State Altoona, which earned three first-place nods.

Pitt-Bradford was a solid pick for the third spot.

Only the top three teams were listed.

There was no consensus on a Preseason Player of the Year, but La Roche had three different players nominated for the honor — senior first baseman Casey Byerly, senior outfielder Kristy Phister and sophomore Nikki Kress.

Penn State Altoona junior Amanda Rourke was voted the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

Frostburg State juniors Richelle Foor (Everett, Pa./Everett) and Stephanie Zych (Slingerlands, N.Y./Guilderland) were named among the players to watch in the AMCC this season.

Foor earned first-team All-AMCC honors at third base in 2002 after hitting .382 with 18 RBI, a .513 slugging percentage and a .453 on-base percentage.

Zych hit .333 with eight doubles, 13 RBI, a team-high 26 runs scored and a .440 on-base percentage.

"The voting came out how I expected," said Bobcat first-year head coach Chris Starke. "La Roche brings back a lot of talent and experience, and they're still the team to beat.

"Penn State Altoona has a great pitcher in Rourke and took La Roche to a final game in the AMCC Tournament last season, so they'll be tough. And, Bradford is always a strong threat.

"Our goals are to finish in the top four of the regular-season standings and get a berth in the AMCC Tournament. If we can get there [to the tournament], we feel it'll be anybody's to win."

Frostburg State, which was forced to cancel its first two doubleheaders of the year due to heavy snow on its field, will open the season against Randolph-Macon on Friday, March 14 at 9:00 am in the Ferrum Invitational Tournament to be held at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780