G-A’s Ward to play for Penn State

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Mary Ward signed a ceremonial letter of intent last week. She was joined by her parents, Lisa and Dennis Ward, and former coach Jamie Richardson, standing. Ward received a scholarship to play softball at Penn State University.

Playing softball for the past 13 years has paid off. Mary Ward, 18, a senior at Greencastle-Antrim High School, signed a letter of intent to attend Penn State University where she will play for PSU’s head coach Robin Petrini.

Advancing from G-A Blue Devil to Nittany Lion was pretty exciting, said Ward.

"It hasn't set in yet. It will when I get there."

Ward was on the Blue Devil varsity team as a freshman under then-head coach Jamie Richardson, and played outfield for him for three years.

"I could tell from the get-go she would make an impact," he said.

He found her dedicated to the sport, a hard worker and fast. That made her a good fit for the NCAA Division I school which plays in the Big Ten.

Ward had some choices as she planned her college career.

"Penn State was the most interested in me," she said. "I had offers from Rutgers and Cornell, or walk-ons with others. I've always been a Penn State fan."

The coaching staff noticed her at PSU camps, and watched her at high school softball tournaments, and at play with the club team Lady Orioles Gold from Glen Burnie, Md. Ward was part of District 3 Mid-Penn Conference and Colonial Division championship teams with the Devils. She was named to the Mid-Penn Colonial Division All-Star first team as a junior.

The daughter of Lisa and Dennis Ward, she has two siblings, Matthew, 16, and Elizabeth, 15. In high school, she has also participated in cross country and track. She is a Distinguished Honor Roll student and attends Early to College classes at Penn State Mont Alto. She is employed at Brothers Pizza. At PSU, she was accepted into the engineering school.

Perini welcomes Ward to the roster. "She is a true triple threat at the plate and can cover tremendous ground in the outfield. She has fire, spunk and a competitive spirit that will push everyone around her.

"Mary is the latest in a long line of Penn State camp success stories. Mary has always dreamed of becoming a Penn Stater and defines excellence in the classroom and on the playing field. I am looking forward to seeing her compete throughout her career."