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All-County Softball -- Seniors Garnand, Giffin shine bright

June 12, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

It's been quite a spring for Smithsburg pitcher Bethany Garnand.

She recently graduated as valedictorian of her class, but not before leading the Leopards to a 13-6 season -- Smithsburg's best in several years -- with her pitching and hitting prowess.

"This year going into the season I had a lot of hopes for us," Garnand said. "I knew we were going to be strong. We had our rough spots, but we worked through all of them and by the end of the season we were hitting and playing great."

Garnand pitched every game for the Leopards, finishing with a 1.78 ERA. She allowed 92 hits and 45 walks while striking out 195 in 129 2/3 innings, and finished her career with 672 strikeouts.

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Garnand is The Herald-Mail's 2009 All-County Softball Pitcher of the Year.

"I tried to move the ball around a little more this year," Garnand said. "There were a lot of strong-hitting teams in the conference and I didn't want to just throw a fastball, I wanted to move it around. I needed to do that to be able to play travel-league ball as well."

Offensively, Garnand hit .338 with 11 doubles, 16 RBIs and eight walks. She had seven more extra-base hits than any other Leopard.

"She was a double-threat player. She controlled the game on both sides, offensively and defensively," Smithsburg coach Brian Getz said. "When you have a pitcher that's dominating like she is in the circle and the batter's box, that's a plus."

Garnand will take her talents -- athletically and academically -- to Lycoming College.

"I'm really excited to start the next chapter of my life," Garnand said. "I know I'm not going to make Team USA or anything, but it's nice to have softball there. I do love it."

* South Hagerstown senior Desiree Giffin knows all about highs and lows.

As a sophomore in 2007, Giffin hit .431 with nine doubles and 17 runs and made The Herald-Mail All-County First Team.

As a junior, she hit .344 with just four extra-base hits, 18 runs and 10 steals, and had to settle for an All-County Second Team nod.

Giffin's final season in the Rebels' green and white was one to remember. She hit a county-best .536 with five doubles, two triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs and 25 runs.

Giffin is The Herald-Mail's 2009 All-County Softball Hitter of the Year.

"My hitting on my travel team (Tri-State Thunder) helped me a lot," Giffin said. "I was working on not dropping my shoulder, that was a big problem of mine last year, and not extending my front elbow. This year, I've been hitting a lot to the other side of the field.

"I had confidence in myself the whole year. There was never a time I wondered if I could handle it."

Giffin moved from catcher to shortstop to fill the void left by last year's graduation of two-time All-County Hitter of the Year Brittany Hyatt. Giffin filled it admirably.

"I was excited because I play shortstop for the Thunder," Giffin said. "I enjoy doing both positions but my favorite is shortstop. I feel more comfortable there."

"It was her senior year and she was just really focused," South coach Angie McQuillen said. "She plays year-round and that kind of helps, but she really wanted to make her senior year the best. She stepped into the role and took over. She realized she kind of had to. ... I think we'll miss her a lot. We'll miss her leadership. She wears her heart on her sleeve, goes hard and has a passion for the game that will be greatly missed."

Giffin will play softball and volleyball for Salem International beginning this fall.

Garnand and Giffin are joined on The Herald-Mail's 2009 All-County Softball First Team by:

Caroline Rosenthal, Jr., P, St. Maria Goretti -- Rosenthal went 10-12 for the Gaels, who struggled defensively, and she led the county with her 1.57 ERA and 254 strikeouts. She also hit .288 with 12 RBIs, 15 runs and eight walks.

Kelly Beard, Sr., P, Williamsport -- Last year's All-County Softball Pitcher of the Year was hurt by a lack of run support in finishing 4-5 this year, but her 1.91 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 59 innings proved she held up her end. She also hit .300 with three doubles, a triple and a homer.

Hannah Leizear, Jr., C, Clear Spring -- Leizear hit .436 with nine doubles, 18 RBIs and 13 runs for the Blazers, who finished 12-5.

Shayla Murray, Fr., IF, Smithsburg -- Murray was the catalyst for the Leopards' offense, hitting .529 and scoring 17 runs from the leadoff spot.

Breanne Lohman, Jr., IF, Boonsboro -- Lohman hit .367 with three doubles, four homers, 19 RBIs, 21 runs and 11 walks for the Warriors, who finished second in the MVAL Antietam.

Destanie Agee, Jr., IF, South Hagerstown -- Agee hit .407 with two doubles and three triples, had eight steals and eight walks and scored 26 runs from the leadoff spot for the Rebels.

Elisabeth Sharpe, Jr., OF, South Hagerstown -- Sharpe hit .340 with three doubles, walked 13 times and scored 15 runs for the Rebels.

Jessica Manuel, Sr., OF, Boonsboro -- Manuel hit .315 with four doubles, 15 RBIs and 17 runs for the Warriors.

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