After Long Delay, Hawks Get into the Swing of Things
The College of Southern Maryland Hawks softball team has gotten out to a respectable start in Becca Collins' first season as head coach. Their record stands at 5-4 overall and 4-2 in MD JUCO, good for fifth in the MD JUCO standings.
Sophomore catcher Haylee McClanahan has been swinging a hot bat, posting a .609/.654/1.130 slash line with 16 RBIs and three home runs. Her batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage all rank first among MD JUCO players.
McClanahan said she wants to break her home run total of six from last season, and with roughly a third of the season played, she is on pace to do so. If she continues at her current rate, she will hit 10 home runs this season.
The Hawks have won some lopsided games, including their 26-0 and 15-6 victories against Allegany College of Maryland and their 22-1 beatdown of Southside Community College.
Collins said getting those first wins under her belt has been "relaxing. The nerves are calming. The girls have fun and I have fun so it makes it a little bit easier. When it gets tense, it gets hard, but staying loose and being confident makes it a lot easier for me."
In CSM's first win of the season against Allegany College, McClanahan went 4-4 with a home run and six RBIs. Freshman Skylar Clark pitched five innings, gave up only two hits, one walk, and struck out eight batters. She also went 3-6 at the plate with four RBIs.
The Hawks won the first game of their doubleheader against Anne Arundel Community College but will have to resume the second game in the fourth inning at a later date due to the fact that there was not enough light to continue playing. Nevertheless, Collins was still proud of her team's effort. "I think we worked together and everybody did something. They all contributed the whole time, so going forward it showed how we have to compete and what our mentality has to be from here on out."
The most important idea that Collins wanted her team to take away from their work during the offseason has already been put into practice on the field. "The teamwork is amazing. When we miscommunicate, the girls get together, they call timeout, and I don't have even have to tell them what they did, so they're really mixing very well and everything's very positive. Anything I ask of them, they're doing. They're doing an excellent job."
Collins said having the first six games of the season - all at home - postponed because of weather might have made her players too eager when they came out in their first games against Hagerstown Community College. "We didn't hit the ball very well, and I think a big part of that was we had cancelled those first six games that were home and they were so anxious to get out and swing the bat we were overswinging. After those two games we went to Allegany and we got the bats going and it was a lot better. Even when we went and played Louisburg the bats were there. The score was not representative of how I believe we played and competed against them."
Collins is optimistic for the rest of the season and is even encouraged by what she sees in the losses. "I think our losses are against good teams but we've learned from each game, from each play, from each pitch and that's big for us, so going forward hopefully we continue to do that."