Five join CSM soft­ball

Hawks look­ing to con­tinue win­ning ways in 2018

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­ Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

In the weeks since the 2017 sea­son ended, Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land head soft­ball coach Jim Cleary has stayed busy re­cruit­ing lo­cal play­ers into the mix to fill va­can­cies left be­hind by re­cent grad­u­ates and last week the Hawks had five play­ers com­mit who should fill the void.

The CSM soft­ball team went 25-13 in 2017, one year after the squad went 25-17 and reached the Re­gion XX cham­pi­onship round. In each of the past two sea­sons, Cleary had a dif­fer­ent ace in the cir­cle.

In 2016, it was Lori Sturgill, a 2015 McDonough High School grad­u­ate who then trans­ferred to Shep­herd Univer­sity in West Vir­ginia for her sopho­more sea­son.

In 2017, Chloe Day, a 2015 Great Mills High School grad­u­ate who spent her fresh­man sea­son at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege in Caro­line County, re­turned closer to home to han­dle most of the pitch­ing chores for the Hawks. But after two sea­sons of ju­nior col­lege soft­ball, Day has trans­ferred to Mary Wash­ing­ton (Va.), to pur­sue her bach­e­lor’s de­gree and two more sea­sons of soft­ball. She was the CSM fe­male ath­lete of the year for 2016-17.

So Cleary’s first mis­sion was to fill the pitch­ing void that Sturgill, Day and Am­ber Whelan, a North Point High School grad­u­ate who served as a ca­pa­ble No. 2 pitcher in the ro­ta­tion the past two sea­sons, left be­hind.

And he has done so in se­cur­ing the ser­vices of in­com­ing fresh­men Alyssa Case, a grad­u­ate of Bishop McNa­mara in Prince George’s County, and Lind­sey Wood, who grad­u­ated from Leonard­town High School where she pri­mar­ily played short­stop while se­nior ace Kait­lyn Beasley-Polko con­trolled the cir­cle.

“It would have been great hav­ing Lori and Chloe both on the same staff,” Cleary said. “That would have given me ba­si­cally two num­ber ones and a stronger bat­ting or­der be­cause both girls could re­ally hit. Am­ber did a good job for me the last two years, so now it will be up to the in­com­ing fresh­men to step up and be there for me the next two years. Lind­sey did not get many chances to pitch at Leonard­town, but she pitches for her travel team.”

In ad­di­tion to Case and Wood, who will share the pitch­ing chores, Cleary also signed in­fielder Kai­ley Can­non (a Hunt­ing­town High School grad­u­ate from Hunt­ing­town), catcher Michaela Guy (a St. Mary’s Ryken High School grad­u­ate from Leonard­town) and catcher/in­fielder Haylee McClana­han (a Patux­ent High School grad­u­ate from Lusby).

After hav­ing Diana Cruz be­hind the plate for two sea­sons, CSM jug­gled sev­eral catch­ers last spring, in­clud­ing in­fielder Cor­rine Fer­nald, a Chop­ti­con High School grad­u­ate from Me­chan­icsville who had never played the po­si­tion be­fore her sopho­more sea­son and Sa­man­tha Sum­mers (a Chop­ti­con High School grad­u­ate from Me­chan­icsville).

“Last sea­son we re­ally had to keep mov­ing play­ers around,” Cleary said. “When Diana grad­u­ated, that left me with­out a catcher and we had some girls who stepped right in and did a good job. But we were also short­handed much of the sea­son, so none of the girls could re­ally get any time off to heal. By the end of the sea­son, our lack of depth re­ally caught up to us. I’m hop­ing that won’t be a prob­lem the next two years.”

While the CSM soft­ball team grad­u­ated Day, Fer­nald, Whelan, Al­li­son McLane (a Chop­ti­con High School grad­u­ate from Me­chan­icsville) and sev­eral other twoyear play­ers, the Hawks will re­turn sopho­mores Cailtin Peters (a Calvert High School grad­u­ate from Prince Frederick), Sum­mers, Sa­vanna Pvkov, Emily Gib­son (a Calvert High School grad­u­ate from Lusby), An­drea Kline (a La Plata High School grad­u­ate from Hugh­esville) and Megan Cun­ning­ham (a McDonough High School grad­u­ate from La Plata) next spring who, along with the first group of in­com­ing fresh­men, should give the squad plenty of sta­bil­ity for the 2018 sea­son. All but Cun­ning­ham played in all 38 games last spring for the Hawks.

Peters bat­ted .292 with 41 runs scored and 31 more driven in, Sum­mers hit .377 with 44 runs and 21 RBIs, Pavkov bat­ted .369 with 42 runs scored and 28 RBIs, Gib­son hit .419 with one home run, 36 runs scored and 16 RBIs and Kline bat­ted .385 with 35 runs scored and 30 RBIs and she was 1-0 in six games in the cir­cle. Cun­ning­ham bat­ted .182 in limited ac­tion with four runs scored and three RBIs in seven games.

“Sign­ing these young ladies was a pure de­light,” Cleary said. “They will be a great ad­di­tion to our pro­gram and help re­place the sopho­mores we are los­ing from last sea­son. We have a strong re­cruit­ing class com­ing in for the 2018 sea­son. We have solid play­ers in ev­ery po­si­tion, plus play­ers that will al­low us to play through tough times when key play­ers are in­jured. The in­com­ing class is also strong aca­dem­i­cally and we are look­ing for­ward to a great 2018 sea­son.”


The Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land soft­ball team had five play­ers com­mit for the up­com­ing 201718 school year. Seated, from left, are Leonard­town High School grad­u­ate Lind­sey Wood, St. Mary’s Ryken High School grad­u­ate Michaela Guy and Patux­ent High School grad­u­ate Haylee McClana­han. Stand­ing are CSM as­sis­tant soft­ball coach Bill Hitte, left, Bishop McNa­mara grad­u­ate Alyssa Case, Hunt­ing­town High School grad­u­ate Kai­ley Can­non and CSM head soft­ball coach Jim Cleary.

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