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Daily Pilot Newport-mesa Softball Dream Team:

Taylor-made for greatness

SOFTBALL: Estancia senior, headed to Cal State Fullerton, is tops in Newport-Mesa area for second straight season.

June 19, 2008|By Matt Szabo

The team’s only senior, McKeon stepped up and pitched many games, even though shortstop is her natural position. She helped the Lightning to a 6-5 league record, good for fourth place. McKeon, a four-year starter and three-year team captain, makes her third straight Dream Team.

She was second on the team with a .333 batting average, which she upped to .412 during league play. McKeon also had 18 stolen bases in league.

“The only senior, so by default you’re the leader, but she would’ve been the leader no matter what,” Gomez said. “She gave stability to a very young team. She was the vocal leader of the team, as well, when we really needed to help the younger players move along and feel successful.“

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AMY HARTWELL

Estancia, sophomore

Hartwell, the Orange Coast League MVP, began the year as the Eagles’ pitcher. Eventually, she got more and more time at third base, where she played solid defense.

On her travel ball team, Hartwell plays catcher.

“She’s the best catcher in our league, and she played third base for us,” Rausch said. “Her softball skills are very polished for a sophomore. She was very aggressive on the base paths.”

Hartwell, also a volleyball standout, batted a Newport-Mesa-area best .623 for the Eagles. She led the team with 41 runs, 47 hits, 10 doubles and eight stolen bases. As a pitcher, she was 7-6 with a 4.73 ERA.

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ABBY KOFF

Estancia, senior

Koff also adjusted for the Eagles. A year after playing left field, the Harvard-bound Koff played first base. With her ability to throw strikes, she also developed into a stopper for Estancia, even if Rausch joked that her slow-moving pitch “defied physics.”

A first-team All-Orange Coast League selection, Koff also shined as the Eagles’ cleanup hitter. She batted .613 with 27 RBIs, six doubles and seven triples. As a pitcher, the three-sport athlete (she also played tennis and basketball) was 4-1 with a team-best 2.54 ERA.

“She threw strikes and she had the mentality of, ‘Let them hit it, and we’ll get them out.’ ” Rausch said. “I couldn’t be happier to coach her in basketball and softball. She’s a great girl to work with. It was so easy to say, ‘Abby, you’re playing first base,’ and it was, ‘OK!’ ”

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HAYLEE WHITNEY

Estancia, senior

A catcher headed to Santa Ana College, she also swung a hot bat for from the No. 5 spot in the order. She batted .394 with 22 RBIs and six doubles, tied for second on the team.

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