State College, Pa. - Monday marked the end of the Penn State University Athletic Conference softball season at Beard Field and along with that conclusion came the announcement of the PSUAC's 2018 All-Conference Team. Three Hazleton players earned conference awards on Monday, but it was junior Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) who earned the top honors in the sport being named the PSUAC's player of the year.
Varela earned a nod as the league's top utility player as the junior was plugged into the lineup as a designated hitter, corner outfielder and first baseman throughout the season. Adding to her resume, Varela served as Hazleton's ace from the circle, starting 11 games for Hazleton in 2018 and finishing the year with a 3.57 earned run average. The junior's versatility and value both defensively and at the plate proved unmatched when compared to competitors around the league. In her third season with the Lady Lions, the junior slugged 10 home runs in just 28 games, hit .481 at the dish and drove in 35 runs. On April 17, Varela hit three home runs to pass former United States Collegiate Athletic Association All-American teammate, Andrea Quillman as Hazleton's all-time leading home run hitter ending the season with a career total of 24 round trippers.