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Brandenburg filling large spikes for Cougars

April 22, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

First, Shawna Wilkes. Then, Sam Weaver. Now, Alicia Brandenburg.

For a Class 1A school, Catoctin sure does crank out star softball hurlers.

Wilkes was the 2003 Herald-Mail Player of the Year, going 13-0 and striking out 141 in 92 innings while allowing just one earned run.

Weaver earned the 2004 Herald-Mail Player of the Year honor in part by going 10-1 with a 1.08 ERA, though her single-season state records for home runs (11) and RBI (49) were even more impressive.

Brandenburg is continuing the tradition in style. She has won each of her last nine starts and has not given up a run in any of them.

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Perhaps watching Wilkes and Weaver taught Brandenburg a thing or two about domination.

"Between watching Shawna and Sam, she's learned a lot about how to step up and be a leader," Catoctin coach Amy Hunt said. "It's an expectation of being a Catoctin pitcher, and she's trying to fill that role."

"I learned the most from Shawna," Brandenburg said after shutting out South Hagerstown 5-0 on Wednesday. "She always went out with her game face, but she always had fun."

Brandenburg, a junior, has taken full advantage of her turn in the spotlight, knowing there are plenty of team and individual goals to aim for.

"Because I'm a junior, it's time for me to start focusing in on college," Brandenburg said. "This season means so much to me, I have to go out and do my job."

"She's a perfectionist in terms of her expectations and her team goals, and she wants to reach those goals," Hunt said.

· Brandenburg wasn't the only impressive pitcher toeing the rubber at South Hagerstown on Wednesday. Rebels senior Jamie Fowler - who will play for Mount St. Mary's beginning next year - allowed six hits and two earned runs in going the distance. Fowler has a 1.57 ERA in 58 innings and has struck out 70 this season.

"(My players) thought she had the most pitches they've seen in terms of variety," said Hunt of Fowler, who used a rise, drop, change and curve with equal effectiveness. "They said she was the best they've seen."

· In terms of eye-popping numbers, however, no area pitcher has been better than Greencastle junior Sarah Signore.

Signore already has two perfect games this season - one in a four-inning game won by the 15-run rule. She is 8-1 with a 0.44 ERA and has struck out 97 in 48 innings without walking a single batter. As if that's not enough, she's also batting .514 this season.

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