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County graduates lead the way for HCC softball

March 14, 2003|by JACK HILL III

Even though Hagerstown Community College softball coach Brian Beck only has 12 players on his team, he says each is a quality player.

They could turn out to be the dandy dozen for the Hawks this spring, as HCC tries to improve on last year's 12-18 record.

"I think the team will hold its own," Beck said. "All 12 players are talented. All of them can play multiple positions. Versatility will be one of our strengths."

Nine of the 12 players graduated from Washington County high schools.

Sophomore Erin Ross (North Hagerstown) returns to the team after taking a year off and will be the starter at second base. Ross, who can also play third, was a starter on the 2001 team that won the Region XX Tournament and advanced to the NJCAA Tournament in Phoenix.

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Sophomore Ashley Palmer (South Hagerstown), freshman Heather Wetzel (Boonsboro), freshman Amanda McGhee (North Hagerstown) and sophomore Erin Hammersla (Boonsboro) will be competing for the starting outfield spots. McGhee can also play catcher.

Freshman Megan Creek (Clear Spring) will start at first base.

"All five of the returning sophomores bring a lot of game experience to the team," Beck said. "We have pretty good speed, once we get on the bases."

Freshman Chelsea Jolliffe (Williamsport) will toe the rubber in the opener and can also play first. Palmer and Wetzel will also pitch for the Hawks.

"We're very young pitching-wise," Beck said. "The only pitcher coming back from last year with a little bit of experience is Ashley. ... I think that our pitchers have a lot of potential. I expect big things from Chelsea."

Freshman Tiffany Cobb (North Hagerstown) is the utility infielder, while freshman Autumn Parson (North Hagerstown) will see action in the outfield.

The only three non-county players are sophomore Trish Douglas (Southern Fulton, Warfordsburg, Pa.), freshman Brandi Drummond (Strasburg, Va.) and sophomore Adriane Mallow (Fort Hill, Cumberland, Md.). Douglas will start at catcher and can also play in the infield. Drummond will start at third, while Mallow will start at short.

"Adriane was one of the top five hitters in the region last year," Beck said. "We should be able to score some runs this year. We have got solid gloves at all of the positions."

"We are all anxious to get outside and get playing. We'll be in the mix. We have the talent to be one of the teams fighting it out at the end for the championship."

HCC opens its season this weekend in a tournament at the College of Southern Maryland, before hosting Mohawk Valley in a doubleheader Monday at 2.

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