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Marshall helping build Newport

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Sophomore pitcher, also one of team's best hitters, makes young Sailors go.

March 18, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

Hattie Marshall knows that her Newport Harbor High girls' softball team is young this year, with no seniors.

Marshall also knows that the Sunset League, with perennial powers like Marina, Edison and Los Alamitos, is one of the toughest leagues in Southern California for softball.

But neither of these facts really bother her. More than anything, they're motivation for the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.

"I really want to win in the Sunset League so badly," Marshall said. "I just want to beat someone. That's our goal."

The odds are not in the favor of the Sailors, who have lost 32 straight league games since defeating Fountain Valley in 2007. Marshall, a sophomore pitcher, shows a certain maturity on the subject.

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She wants Newport Harbor softball to keep growing and growing. She has helped the Sailors to a 7-1 start, including beating Back Bay rival Corona del Mar last week and finishing fifth in the 20-team Costa Mesa Tournament.

The one loss was to Yorba Linda, 4-2. Marshall doesn't mind that, either.

"You know, we'd been playing easy teams," she said. "Yorba Linda was kind of a peek for the freshman about how the Sunset League's going to be. We're so much more driven now, and we know how hard we need to work. We've been playing easy teams that we were scoring 25 runs on, and it's not going to be like that. We've just got to be ready for the bigger picture, basically."

Marshall is a rising star for Newport Harbor. Through the Costa Mesa Tournament, she led the team with a .632 batting average. On the mound, she was 3-1 with a 2.10 earned-run average.

The travel-ball player with Irvine Sting takes her softball seriously. She's been playing since the first grade. Last year, she helped the Sting 16-and-unders finish fifth in California and 49th at nationals, not bad for a team that was still supposed to be a 14U squad.

In high school, Marshall played a key role as a freshman, batting .390 in the middle of the order and sharing pitching duties with then-junior Alex Bauer. This year, Marshall has shouldered more of the load as Coach Tony Qualin's main pitcher after Bauer decided to quit playing softball and row crew.

"It was her decision," Marshall said. "We can't change it now. It was kind of a disappointment, but you've just got to overcome those obstacles."

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