The Pasco-Hernando State College women's softball team opened their 2017 season competing against Illinois Central College and Puerto Rican National Team for a double header tournament at Eddie Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater on January 27.
Teams from all over the country participated in the JUCO Classic Tournament. It’s an opportunity to compete against a diversity of talent and build skills.
“(We) really to try to get everyone in the mix and generate a team concept,” Head Coach Ryan said.
Thomas Ryan first coached softball at Dade City High School before being hired as Head Coach for the first women’s fast-pitch softball team, and has been doing so for 22 years.
“Big challenge, the game is a bit faster, the players definitely more athletic and the pitchers throw the ball harder,” Coach Ryan said of the difference between the high school and college levels.
PHSC took over the game after the 1st inning against Illinois gaining a 6-4 win. Then they dominated the Puerto Rican National Team during the second tournament game with a 10-0 victory.
Hernando High graduate Ericka Lewis in her sophomore year at PHSC helped bring the team from falling behind in the second inning with offense coordination against Illinois Central College.
“Coach Bittinger was probably one of the most favorite coaches I ever had… and he really challenged me and I think that really helped me transition here,” Lewis said.
The athletics program at PHSC is limited for students only exceeded two years. As many athletes have received athletic scholarships to four year programs.
Although the athletes at a two year college have a shorter turnover cycle, Coach Ryan said, "We like to see the sophomores graduate and go off to four year colleges and that gives us a lot of satisfaction.”
"It’s an awesome challenge…that’s the beauty of competition, every day is a challenge,” Coach Ryan said.
Assistant Coach Christina Dushane, also a Hernando High graduate is in her second year of coaching for PHSC.
The ladies' upcoming home game is 2pm, February 3 at the Pasco campus against South Florida State College.
Meanwhile in Tallahassee, PHSC Baseball team began their 2017 season with a rough start losing against Tallahassee Community College over the weekend 2-7, 3-9, 3-4. Next home game is February 5 at 12pm against St. Pete College.
Basketball update: PHSC owned Ava Marie University’s court with a 106-54 win on January 22nd. On Saturday Jan. 28th, their winning streak continued against Webber International University with a 105-91 victory.