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Temple's Repsher turns on the power

A lithe blonde with spindly arms, porcelain skin and the look of someone even younger than her 22 years, Adrienne Repsher doesn't fit the description of the most feared slugger in Atlantic Ten Conference softball.

A lithe blonde with spindly arms, porcelain skin and the look of someone even younger than her 22 years, Adrienne Repsher doesn't fit the description of the most feared slugger in Atlantic Ten Conference softball.

Yet, that's exactly what Temple's first baseman becomes when she steps up to the plate, bat held high, ready to uncoil a compact stroke from her lefthanded stance.

"I changed to a more open stance this year and I feel like it's giving me more power," Repsher, a senior, said. "And I think I'm being a little more selective looking for my pitch. The outside pitch used to be my weakness. Now I try to take it to left."

Repsher's tinkering with her stance resulted in one of the country's more remarkable displays of long ball. In April, she batted .575 with nine homers and 20 runs batted in and was twice named A-10 player of the week.

For the season, Repsher has a single-season school record 13 homers in 96 at-bats, an average of one homer every 7.4 at bats. She leads the country in slugging percentage at .969, and is first in the A-10 in hitting and tied for sixth in the country at .458. Her average of 0.36 homers a game is tied for third nationally. She has yet to commit an error this season.

Repsher has started every game, 172 in all, since she stepped onto Temple's campus out of Nazareth High School, where she also starred in basketball and volleyball. She chose Temple over Lehigh and Hofstra, largely because this self-described rural girl from the Lehigh Valley wanted to experience the diversity of an urban campus.

"The city has all these sights and a diverse population," she said. "I think that drew me here. Where I'm from, it's pretty much a homogeneous community. Everything is pretty much the same. I like the diversity."

If there was a poster girl for Temple athletics, it would be Repsher. Along with her softball exploits, she carries a 3.87 grade point average out of a possible 4.0 as an elementary/early-childhood education major.

Last week, she was named Temple's student athlete of the year.

"I want to be a teacher because today there are children with so many problems," Repsher said. "I think being a role model for them and supporting them is a wonderful position to be in."

The Owls (17-19, 9-7) are seeded No. 4 in the A-10 tourney and will play No. 5 seed Charlotte tomorrow at league powerhouse Massachusetts. So Repsher's career is near its finish, which saddens her.

"I can't believe how quickly my time here has gone by," she said. "It's been a great experience. The girls are wonderful and the school has been great. I wouldn't do it any other way if I had the chance."

In a way, Repsher's four years at Temple have been therapeutic as well as enjoyable. She is engaged to marry Justin Kashner, a first lieutenant in the Army who was a first-team all-Patriot League pitcher at West Point. Kashner is stationed in Colorado Springs after his six-month tour in Iraq ended in November.

The wedding will take place on July 14 at West Point, before Kashner's likely return to Iraq for a second tour while Repsher remains in Colorado Springs to begin her teaching career.

Repsher said she tried not to follow events in Iraq because it upset her, and that's been relatively easy to do because of her hectic schedule. She said her teammates and coach, Casey Dickson, helped her deal with her concerns while Kashner was in Iraq.

"When I see things happening [in Iraq], you think 'What if?' and it drives you crazy," she said. "I just try not to get too caught up in it. Playing softball and school have helped me get through it."

Repsher said the guest list for her wedding would be stocked with "softball and baseball people", including some of her teammates at Temple. One guest will be St. Joseph's coach Terri Adams, who recruited Adrienne when she was an assistant at Temple.

After Repsher hit the first of two homers against St. Joe's on April 18, she said, Adams hollered from the dugout, "There goes half of your wedding present."

Repsher said she has had offers to play professionally but that she preferred to concentrate on her future as a military wife and teacher instead.

"I would even think about playing slow-pitch softball, just to have a good time," she said.