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HCC looks for same softball fortunes with new coach

March 11, 2004|by JACK HILL III

The key faces are the same, but a new era will dawn for the Hagerstown Community College softball team.

Dave Brooks assumes the coaching duties from Brian Beck, who stepped down to devote his time to being HCC's athletic director.

Brooks takes over a program that is coming off a 20-12 record last season. The Hawks enjoyed success in Beck's seven-year tenure as coach, winning two Region XX titles.

Brooks has returnees who could keep HCC on the winning path. He has an assistant in Amy Sterner, who played on Beck's 1997 championship team.

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"We have got a good group of girls that are hard workers," Brooks said. "They have a good knowledge of the game of softball."

The two keys for the Hawks may be their diversity and pitching.

HCC has a couple of players who could play in multiple positions, which will give Brooks flexible lineup possibilities.

Sophomore catcher Amanda McGhee (North Hagerstown), who was named a second team preseason All-American, can also play in the outfield. Meanwhile, sophomore Brandi Drummond will mainly play shortstop, but can also fill in at third base.

"Amanda McGhee and Brandi Drummond are our returning offensive leaders and they will be the key to the team's success on offense," Brooks said. "I think that Amanda is a great athlete. Her abilities alone can get her to the next level."

The pitching staff is four members strong with sophomores Chelsea Jolliffe (Williamsport), a left-hander, and Ashley Gray (Boonsboro) along with freshmen Rose Cloughley and Megan Simmons (Clear Spring).

Three of the pitchers will play in the infield when they aren't on the mound. Jolliffe plays first base, while Simmons plays second base and Gray plays third base. Gray returns to the Hawks after taking the 2003 season off.

"Our strength is our pitching," Brooks said. "We have four pitchers that are very good. I am not afraid to hand the ball to any of those four."

Sophomore Megan Creek (Clear Spring) will play first when Jolliffe pitches.

Versatile freshman Holli Bowers (Williamsport) will start in center field, but play all of the outfield and infield positions. She will play second when Simmons pitches and will play third when Gray pitches, moving Drummond to third base.

Freshman Amber McKiddy will play right field, while sophomore Heather Wetzel (Boonsboro) and freshman Dee Brown (Broadfording) will share time in left field. Brown will play center when Bowers plays in the infield.

Freshmen Gina Harshman (Linganore), Angela Orsini (Musselman) and Jennifer Carey will also see time in the outfield.

"I believe that all 14 girls can contribute in some way," Brooks said. "I think that we can be a contending team this season."

HCC opens the season today at 1 p.m. with a doubleheader at home against Beaver.

HCC will host the Region XX tournament May 8-9 at the Kemps Mill Softball Complex.

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