Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land soft­ball sport­ing up­graded fa­cil­i­ties

Hawks held cer­e­mony April 20

Maryland Independent - - Sports -

The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land soft­ball team, coaches and fans joined to­gether April 20 at the Dugouts and Di­a­monds cel­e­bra­tion on the La Plata cam­pus to thank sup­port­ers for their ef­forts in up­grad­ing the prac­tice and play­ing fields with new dugouts, re­con­di­tioned turf, an up­graded sound sys­tem and a higher out­field fence.

“The team would like to say thank you to ev­ery­body who is out here to sup­port us to­day and es­pe­cially to those who built this field,” said co-cap­tain Diana Cruz of Lex­ing­ton Park at the event. “If you have a good field, you know you are go­ing to have a great team to play on it. This is my last year here [at CSM] and it’s great to have a nice field, it’s def­i­nitely a last­ing im­pres­sion for my last year here.”

“We value our ath­letes,” said CSM Pres­i­dent Dr. Brad Got­tfried. “They rep­re­sent the col­lege at so many dif­fer­ent venues and when­ever there is an ath­letic ban­quet the first thing I say is ‘Thank you,’ be­cause I am aware of the im­mense amount of time that they put onto the field or courts to rep­re­sent us and I can never thank them enough. What they get from [par­tic­i­pat­ing on a col­le­giate team], the team­work, the life­long friend­ships, is just amaz­ing.”

Soft­ball at CSM be­gan in 1979 with Danny Wil­liams coach­ing the first four years. Over the pro­gram’s his­tory, the teams have earned six Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion na­tional tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances, eight Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege cham­pi­onships and seven Re­gion XX cham­pi­onships. The pro­gram ranked na­tion­ally among the top15 in 1986, 1990 and 1991 un­der coach John Crea­turo and in 2004 placed sev­enth in the na­tional tour­na­ment un­der coach Tom Mor­ri­son.

Coaches have earned eight Coach of the Year awards, while soft­ball stu­dent-ath­letes have earned state, re­gional and na­tional recog­ni­tion, with eight All-Amer­i­can Awards. In re­cent pro­gram his­tory, Mike Garner took over as head coach in 2009 and brought the team to five straight win­ning sea­sons. Jim Cleary took the helm as head coach in 2014.

“I have heard about this pro­ject for many years,” said Got­tfried, who re­called that Cleary would make a pitch for up­grad­ing the team’s fa­cil­i­ties ev­ery time they met.

In ad­di­tion, Got­tfried pointed to CSM Vice Pres­i­dent of Ad­vance­ment Michelle Good­win who worked on fund­ing the pro­ject.

“It was a one-two pitch,” said Got­tfried of the en­cour­age­ment he re­ceived to con­sider the pro­ject.

Dugout spon­sors in­cluded Amer­i­can Door Com­pany, Chaney En­ter­prises, Jim Cleary, Clin­ton Fence, Com­plete Land­scap­ing, G&B In­su­la­tion, Grif­fith Ma­sonry, La Plata Cam­pus Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion, Lowe’s of La Plata, Per­spec­tive Crafts­men LLC, R&D Cross, R&F Met­als and Ron To­ward.

“We are all about stu­dents. That’s what this is all about and if this makes our stu­dents’ ex­pe­ri­ence that much bet­ter, if we’re putting them in a safer en­vi­ron­ment that’s what we need to be do­ing,” said Got­tfried.

CSM sup­ports 12 ath­letic teams with more than 150 stu­dent-ath­letes.

For photos from the Dugouts and Di­a­monds cer­e­mony, visit http://csm­photo.zen­fo­lio.com/ soft­ball­dugouts. For more in­for­ma­tion on CSM’s ath­let­ics pro­grams, visit http://ath­let­ics. csmd.edu/land­ing/in­dex. For video of the Dugouts and Di­a­monds cer­e­mony, visit https:// youtu.be/F1h5Sfj3VN0.

This re­port was sub­mit­ted by the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land

“I don’t know about the other girls, but this is my first time play­ing for a team that re­ally has a nice dugout fa­cil­ity. It re­ally makes our field look very, very pro­fes­sional ... You can come down here and say, ‘Wow, that is a nice fa­cil­ity — that team must be re­ally great.’ And we are. We de­served to have a field that rep­re­sented how our team is and the tal­ent that we have,” said soft­ball co-cap­tain Diana Cruz of Lex­ing­ton Park at the April 20, Dugouts and Di­a­monds event cel­e­brat­ing the new ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties at the La Plata cam­pus. Cruz is wear­ing the sash she was given as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam dur­ing the 2016 Cherry Blos­som Fes­ti­val in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Soft­ball co-cap­tains Corrine Fer­nald of Me­chan­icsville, left, and Diana Cruz of Lex­ing­ton Park, right, present a plaque ex­press­ing the team’s grat­i­tude to CSM Pres­i­dent Dr. Brad Got­tfried for his sup­port to up­grade the field and cre­ate dugouts for the soft­ball team.

PHOTOS COUR­TESY OF COL­LEGE OF SOUTH­ERN MARY­LAND

CSM head soft­ball coach Jim Cleary, left, and as­sis­tant coach Bill Hitte, gather the team to­gether be­fore the start of a dou­ble­header against Ce­cil Com­mu­nity Col­lege on April 20.

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