Northern Tier Sports Report
Towanda graduate Maddie Maynard didn’t know what to expect going into her first year at Penn State-Altoona, but by the end of the season she was a conference champion.

Maynard played a key role for PSU-Altoona as they won the AMCC title, and even made the NCAA Division-III Tournament. However, she didn’t know that would happen when she first step foot on the campus.

“Being a freshman in a college when it comes to athletics can be really scary,” Maynard said. “It’s like the first day of high school all over again, but this time you’re in a bigger environment with a bunch of people you have never met before, so, getting used to everything was hard at first. But the girls on the team were very welcoming, and helped me adapt to everything.”

Right off the bat Maynard felt a good vibe being on the team.

“I think from our first couple practices I knew that this year we would be very successful,” she said. “We got along, and it was always so fun to be around.”

Maynard would get a starting role, appearing in 39 games and having 112 at bats. She finished with a .259 average to go with eight doubles, three home runs, and 24-RBI.

“Playing as a freshman was a huge accomplishment for me as an athlete,” she said. “It’s not every day that you see college freshmen touching the field, or even getting any playing time at all. It was a bit of an adjustment for me, there was a lot of great athletes we played against, and the college level is so different from anything I have ever played before.”

After an up-and-down start - PSU-Altoona was just 7-9 come mid-April - they found their stride with a 10-game win streak that stretched from April 11 to April 27.

“Honestly, I don’t think we really payed attention to the 10 game win streak,” remarked Maynard. “Yes, it was great, but I think we just knew that we need to keep winning games to try to keep that number one seed spot to host the AMCC Tournament. I think we just went out on the field, and played ball like we all know how to.”

They ended up playing the tournament at Penn State-Behrend, an arch-rival of PSU-Altoona. They lost their two games to PSU-Behrend 6-3 and 7-4 during the regular season, and would end up playing them for the conference title.

They turned the tables quickly, winning both games 10-2 and 9-4 to claim the title.

“Penn State-Behrend is a great team, they have really good players, and I think the first time we played them we were all worked up because we were on that win streak, and we had that number one seed spot, and I think we let that get into our heads too much,” explained Maynard. “I would also say they’re one of our biggest rivals, and so there was just a lot of emotions going on at once. So when it came to the AMCC Tournament we knew we had a job to do, and we weren’t going to let them win. It was kind of like a pay back moment.”

They won their tournament opener 8-0, but then lost their next game 5-3. After that they won five straight, all with comfortable margins of 9-1, 6-0, 7-1, and then two finals against PSU-Behrend.

“Playing in the AMCC Tournament was a great experience, there was a lot of heart that was going into winning these games,” said Maynard. “A lot of people doubted us, and so I think that helped push us. We wanted that title so bad, and I think as a team we came together, and got the job done.”

They went 0-2 in the NCAA Division-III Tournament, but the success this year just sets the bar even higher for next season.

“We had a successful season this year,” said Maynard. “I think as far as goals, I’m looking to improve personally, and taking the next step in my softball career to stand out in the collegiate level. I think, as a team, we are definitely looking to defend our AMCC title, and get back to the regional tournament, and hopefully win some games there.”

Regardless, the 2023 season will be one to remember for Maynard, for the games, and everything in between.

“I definitely think our bus rides are something that always make me laugh when I think about them,” Maynard said. “But, honestly, I don’t think I could pick a favorite memory because the season was great.”

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