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This spring he guided the Bears to first place during the regular season in the Centennial Conference with a shiny 15-1. Ursinus was the top seed for the conference playoffs it hosted this past Saturday and Sunday.

After a 4-1 upset loss to Muhlenberg in their opener, the Bears rebounded to split four games and finish second to undefeated McDaniel in the tournament with a 4-1 loss in the championship game of the four-team, double-elimination set. The Ursinus record stands at 31-9-1, which is outstanding in anybody's book at any level.

What is more impressive, the Bears reached great heights with a young ballclub that carries just three seniors on the roster in first baseman Kristin Galie (Phoenixville), center fielder Denise Cook and second baseman Jamie Ruhling.

In addition, McGowan has a stellar recruiting class headed to Collegeville this fall.

Pitching is so important in softball, and the Bears will return three stalwarts in junior Erin Skinner, sophomore Amanda Wilson and freshman Mallory Greene, whom area followers will recall from her years at Pottsgrove High School.

McGowan, a Phoenixville resident, said he also has a commitment from another top pitcher from New York.

The Bears put up some impressive numbers during the regular season. They allowed the fewest runs (59) in the conference and had a team earned run average of 0.88. Skinner led the circuit in wins (17), ERA (0.65) and strikeouts (120). She threw 16 complete games, including 10 shutouts.

Wilson, who was CC Pitcher of the Year as a freshman, finished 9-3 with a 1.21 ERA and tied for third with 77 strikeouts.

Sophomore shortstop Marci Logan led the offense with a .390 average with 18 runs scored, 13 extra-base hits and 15 runs batted in. Freshman right fielder Mary Reid batted .376 with a league-high 13 doubles. Ruhling (.339) topped the conference in RBI with 27 while sophomore left fielder Ellie Knise (Phoenixville) ranked third in the CC with 25 runs scored.

Galie, a left-handed first baseman, batted third in the order. She was named to the All-Centennial Conference first team for the second year. She batted .277 with 22 runs scored and 11 RBI and had a team-high five triples.

Galie and the other two seniors had a memorable career in watching the program grow.

Next year Galie plans to attend graduate school at the University of Iowa to continue her studies in organic chemistry. She has plans of attaining her doctorate degree. Galie will graduate from Ursinus Saturday, May 15.

She has been able to blend academics and athletics at a Division III college.

"You can do it if you manage your time well," Galie said. "The coaches understand if you have a lab. We practice all year-round. We come together with team bonding at events.

"We have a whole bunch of new freshmen this year. That is when we play well, when everybody is on the same page."

McGowan wants it that way.

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Barry Sankey covers a variety of sports as a staff writer for The Phoenix. He can be reached at sports@phoenixvillenews.com.

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