News Release, College of Southern Maryland
La Plata, MD- Head coach Becca Collins and the College of Southern Maryland Hawks softball program announced the signing of three players to the team for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
Haley Hands of Morganza, Md. and Chopticon High School, Laila Brooks of Leonardtown, Md. and Leonardtown High School, and Aleah Davis of Brandywine, Md. and Gwynn Park High School signed their letters of intent to join the Hawks.
Hands has played catcher, third base, and shortstop. According to maxpreps.com, Hands had a .393 batting average, .426 on-base percentage, and hit three home runs and 26 RBIs as a senior at Chopticon. She said she chose to come to play at CSM because “it’s the best bet for me and this is a good softball program. It just seemed right for me at the time. I’m very excited [to get started]. I love softball so much. I’ve been playing it all my life so I’m excited.”
Brooks is an infielder. According to maxpreps.com, Brooks posted a .379 batting average, .455 on-base percentage, four home runs, and 23 RBIs in her senior season at Leonardtown. She chose CSM because “I want to get comfortable with college ball … before I go out somewhere. I’m excited to meet new people and get a feel for the college.”
Davis has played shortstop, third base, and catcher. “I decided to come to play at CSM because it helps me develop my skill as a softball player, and I can transfer after two years to another college,” Davis said. “I’m very excited [to get started with the team]. It’s a good opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to working with all the players.”
Collins said it feels good to finally have her first signing class. Since she joined CSM as head coach last August, she missed the majority of last year’s recruiting season and was unable to get any commitments by the November signing period.
“I think we’re taking a step in the right direction,” Collins said. “The girls seem really energetic and excited to get started. A lot of them want to start working out, and they’ve actually been working out together, so they’ll all get in a group chat, work out together, and they’re inviting the new girls so that’s great too because they’re all getting to know each other. They definitely want to buy in. All three of them will be huge assets for us.”
Collins said she wanted to get these players on her team because of their attitude. “They are team players. Laila plays third but if I put her somewhere else, I know she’ll do her job there. That’s a big part of recruiting these days, is finding somebody that’s willing to put the team ahead of themselves. The other thing too is they all want to progress further to play at four-year universities, and that’s what a junior college does. We need to get back to pushing four-year universities. Come here for two years, get your A.A.; it’s cheaper, no student loans, and then shoot out off to a four-year school.”
Collins referenced a former Hawk, Lori Sturgill, as an example of what she is trying to accomplish with her program. Sturgill played at CSM in 2015-16 while Collins was an assistant coach on the team and just played for Shepherd University in the NCAA Division II Super Regionals. Shepherd is also one of the schools Collins said she is trying to play exhibition games against in the fall, along with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Bowie State University, and Virginia Union University.
“I’m excited to see what we have,” Collins said. “I think we have a lot of utility players so it’ll be interesting to see where everybody finds a home on the field. It’ll also be interesting because they all have the heart. They want to be here and they want to play. I think we’re having a great time.”
The job is not done yet though, Collins said. She still has more recruiting to do and is looking at players from Bowie High School, La Plata High School, and Huntingtown High School.
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