UNIVERSITY PARK — After a pandemic-shortened 2020 season, things were back to normal in a number of ways for the Penn State softball team and Punxsy product Kylee Lingenfelter, who recently completed her junior season as a pitcher for the Nittany Lions.
Of course, there were also still plenty of things that were different about this past season, including numerous protocols in place, but the season — Penn State’s first under new head coach Clarisa Crowell — went off with no major issues reported.
“It was great to get back out there, and everyone was so eager to get out and play again after having our season taken away from us (in 2020),” Lingenfelter, a 2018 Punxsy grad, said in a recent interview. “We were all working hard from Day 1, because we just wanted to get out and play, and I remember our first games in Florida we were very excited to get out and play in the nice weather and everything.
“Then, getting to play at our home field was just awesome, because about half the girls on our team hadn’t played at home yet because our season was canceled before the freshmen could even play at home last year, so we were all eager to get back out there and play together with and for each other.”
There were lessons for many of us amid the pandemic, and Lingenfelter said one thing she learned was that she shouldn’t take anything for granted — even something that feels as solidified as a softball season.
“You never know when it’s going to be over,” she said. “Obviously, we were able to play this year, but we still knew it could be over before we knew it. Our motto this year was ‘leave it all out on the field,’ because last year got canceled and we never knew when we’d have to miss a game because of COVID or something crazy would happen. So we were just playing for each other and leaving it all out there, working together to be the best that we could be.”
Overall, Lingenfelter finished with a 2-12 mark and an earned run average or 4.22. In 63 innings of work, she struck out 39, walked 18 and allowed 81 hits for the Nittany Lions.