To Owls' Backof, team comes 1st, and that's just where it finishes Player of the Year


June 04, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

It didn't take Westminster coach Kathy Hodgkins long to realize what a special player she had in outfielder Julie Backof.

Three springs ago, Hodgkins and the Owls needed a left fielder. That's where Backof, then a freshman, came in.

"She had the job long before we were even through with tryouts," Hodgkins said.

Backof has improved every season as her role has become more prominent. After a steady freshman year, she hit .419 last season before switching to center this year and taking on an even bigger role.

Defensively, the junior was responsible for moving around fielders as the anchor in center. On offense,the Owls lost a number of their top hitters from the year before, putting more pressure on Backof to get on base and drive in runs.

She responded in a big way, leading the Owls to an 11-7 record and their first county championship since 1989.

Her numbers -- both defensively and offensively -- speak for themselves. One error all season in center. A .500 batting average with three homers, five triples, six doubles, 20 RBI and 25 runs scored.

That is why Backof has been chosen The Baltimore Sun's 1993 Softball Player of the Year in Carroll County.

A generally quiet person, she worked hard to become a team leader and also showed she'll do whatever it takes for the team, as evidenced by her 13 walks this season.

"She's just the ultimate team player. Ability-wise she improved, but she really came into her own as a leader this year," Hodgkins said.

"She knows the game very well and can produce in different situations. There were a couple of times she had sacrifice flies when we had a runner on third and needed a run. There were other times when we needed base runners and she got on base with walks."

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