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Speedy Mackenzie Favero, a graduate of Kiski Area, is making a significant impact as the leadoff hitter for the Saint Vincent softball team

Mackenzie Favero takes pride in being organized. As a college athlete who is also pursuing a nursing degree, her talent for being efficient and orderly is useful.

Mackenzie Favero takes pride in her organization skills as a college athlete and aspiring nurse, which helps her manage her busy schedule effectively.

Despite her ability to thrive in chaos, the Kiski Area graduate excels in creating chaos for the opposing team as the leadoff hitter for the Saint Vincent softball team.

Favero, known as a 'slapper,' has a .424 batting average and gets on base at a .525 clip in the Bearcats' first 16 games by finding gaps in the defense and using her fast feet to reach first base.

After getting on base, she quickly advances back home.

Senior Olivia Persin acknowledges Favero's speed and emphasizes the importance of getting the ball in play to capitalize on Favero's base running abilities.

Coach Nicole Karr recognizes Favero's speed as a valuable asset, enabling her to steal bases and take extra bases on hits by teammates.

Favero is accustomed to being a leadoff hitter, a role she often played in travel softball and with the Cavaliers, which has helped her adapt to the position for the Bearcats without feeling stressed.

Entering her freshman season, she had no expectations other than to leave a positive impression.

During Saint Vincent's first 16 games, Favero, who appeared in 14 and started 12, led the team with nine stolen bases and ranked second in runs scored, with 14, behind Persin.

In her first six games, Favero struggled but then improved by going 9 for 15 with 10 runs scored in the next five games, coinciding with four consecutive wins for Saint Vincent.

Her standout performance during the week of March 11 earned her the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Week recognition, as she showcased impressive hitting and base running skills in doubleheader sweeps of Penn State DuBois and Penn State Beaver.

Once she settled in, Favero utilized the same aggressive approach at the plate that had served her well in high school and travel ball.

Favero has been reliable in the field, committing only two errors in her first 53 chances and forming a strong defensive partnership with shortstop Persin.

When at the plate, Favero adopts an aggressive mindset to get on base, aiming to capitalize on any opportunity.

Favero and Persin have established a strong relationship, both in the batting order and in the field, forming a quick connection defensively.

It's noted that defensively, Favero and Persin have formed a solid middle infield combination, further demonstrating their effective teamwork.

"It has definitely gotten better since we were in Florida," Persin said, referring to the team's first games in the Sunshine State. "We'll glance at each other to ensure we're in agreement. … I believe it's an unspoken connection when we're on the field. It's just exchanging knowing looks while we're out there."

Favero expressed: "I really appreciate having her at shortstop with me. It's someone to admire, and even if I have inquiries, I can always turn to her and she's always someone I can admire and get assistance whenever I need."

Favero belongs to a 10-member group of freshman that has had an immediate impact for the Bearcats (10-6, 6-2 PAC). Many of them regularly play in the lineup, including Favero, Shayna Perigo (14 starts), Alyssa Henderson (15), A.J. Arnal (10), April Earnest from Apollo-Ridge (13), and Anita Szymoniak (seven).

Henderson leads the team in RBIs (19) and hits (26). Perigo has a batting average of .378. Earnest ranks second on the team with four stolen bases.

Favero mentioned that having so many young players on the roster — there are also five sophomores — has lessened some of the pressure of adjusting to the college game.

"We are all pretty close, so it's nice to be able to talk to people who are in the same situation that I'm in," she said. "I think we all thought it was such a surprise that we were able to make such a difference on the team just with the stereotype that freshmen don't really play."

Favero would like to break the perception that Saint Vincent is a middle-of-the-pack team in the PAC. The Bearcats were predicted to finish fifth in the 11-team conference behind Geneva, Allegheny, Westminster, and favorite Waynesburg.

Maybe the voters were influenced by the number of young players who dominate SVC's roster. Favero stated she doesn't believe the Bearcats should be underestimated.

"That motivated us to prove everyone wrong," she commented on the preseason ranking. "I believe we're all quite determined to make a difference in the PAC, and we're a better team than everyone thinks we are."

As for Favero, she seems to be just beginning to tap into her potential. Persin anticipates big things from her in the future.

"It's definitely nice — especially knowing she's only a freshman — seeing how well she has done so far," Persin commented. "She's definitely going to advance Saint Vincent as she continues playing."

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