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Hawks take flight in Arizona

May 17, 2001

Hawks take flight in Arizona



HCC guns for national softball title

By DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

PHOENIX - The heat is on, figuratively and literally, for the Hagerstown Community College softball team this weekend at the NJCAA Division II World Series.

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"Yeah, we had practice today," HCC coach Brian Beck said. "It's about 90-95 degrees at 10 in the morning, the sun's blaring down. This was an adjustment period. We just want to make sure everybody's ready for what the weather could do to us (Thursday)."

The Hawks (28-9) open with Northwest Shoals (Ala.) at 3 p.m. EDT. It's their first trip to a World Series since 1997, when plenty of the Hawks' staff was with the team.

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"They've said how they came out and lost a couple of games," current HCC star Mary Beth Kennell said. "They said how just after that, you wish you were still in it ... How tough it is to lose the first two and have to watch the rest of this stuff."

Therein lies the catch for HCC, how to stay cool in the searing heat of southern Arizona.

"We're excited, but we're nervous," Beck said. "There were a few more errors today at practice, but we expected that."

"At first we were all relaxed, and worked hard," Kennell said. "But I think we're all figuring out why we're here."

That reason is the same for all 10 teams in the tournament - to win. It's a goal the Hawks had to readjust to.

"At the beginning of the year, the ultimate goal was to get here, and we got that," Beck said. "Then we sat down to rethink things.

"Now the goal is to have some fun, but we want to win some games. ... We know some of that is luck of the draw on who you play, but we feel if we play our game - quality pitching and aggressive hitting - we can put some pressure on."

There was only some pressure five years ago, when Beck was an assistant, and assistants Missy Cutchall and Amy Sterner were both players.

"(Missy's) got stories. I've got stories ... between the three of us, we've got plenty to tell on how close we were. And how they shouldn't miss this opportunity."

If Beck and company have told the right stories, the Hawks will be cool, calm and collected in the heat of the desert.

"This is kinda unbelievable," Kennell said. "I set this goal right at the end of last season. We reached that, and now it's changed to win.

"There's a different meaning behind it all now."

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