Leadership that's catching Mother Eagle: Catcher Brittany Deuchler is the player who holds Centennial's softball team together.

April 28, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Brittany Deuchler has applied for a summer internship at the CIA.

If agency officials are smart, they'll say yes.

A National Honor Society member the past two years, the Centennial senior carries a 3.7 grade-point average and has scored 1,250 on the Scholastic Assessment Test. She is in her fourth year of Latin and has received an academic scholarship to major in international studies at Towson State.

Should the CIA accept her solely on the basis of intellect?


But that is only one side to this cheerful 18-year-old. They should come watch her play softball and see how this determined, team-oriented player has earned the respect of her teammates by her actions on and off the field.

Deuchler has been the starting catcher for the Eagles' softball team for three years. She is one of three captains, but make no mistake, Deuchler leads.

"She holds everyone together," said Centennial coach Dale Huting.

"Brittany's like the mother hen," said center fielder Lindsay Von Paris. "She helps the younger kids a lot. They really look up to her."

Deuchler leads the 10th-ranked Eagles in RBIs (13) and doubles (five), and is third in runs (11) and average (.440). But her value to the team goes beyond the numbers.

"She brings a lot of intangible qualities," Huting said. "She's a very positive and steady influence. Nothing ever fazes her. You need a constant out there, and she provides it."

Deuchler's father, Glenn, and mother, Betty Lou, introduced Deuchler to softball at an early age, when they were living in Illinois. The family moved to Ellicott City just before Deuchler started sixth grade.

She joined an HCYP team coached by Jim May and started catching May's daughter, Kim, who became an All-County pitcher at Centennial. Deuchler became a full-time catcher in the seventh grade.

As a freshman at Centennial, Deuchler ran cross country, played basketball and, surprisingly, lacrosse.

"I'd been playing softball for so many years, I just needed a change," Deuchler said. "Lacrosse sounded exciting, so I tried out. It was fun, but I really missed softball and I wanted to come back. I think being away kind of motivated me."

Deuchler has improved every year, and feels "a lot more comfortable" about calling a game and with her throwing accuracy.

The biggest change for Deuchler this season is that she is no longer catching May, who graduated last year. Emily Hall, a junior pitcher, transferred from California last summer and has helped the Eagles (9-3, 6-1) to lead the league midway through the season.

"Emily and I clicked right away," said Deuchler, who can ask Hall for six different pitches in four locations. "She trusts me, and I trust her when she calls me off. I think we work well together."

Deuchler, who calls herself "a ski bum" and likes to mountain bike, hopes the defending county champions can reach the state semifinals this year.

"This is my third year and we've always lost in the region," Deuchler said.

She hopes to continue playing at Towson State.

"I want to place academics first," said Deuchler, who will need to become fluent in two foreign languages as she continues in her major. "If I'm struggling, I won't play. But I think I'll do OK. I definitely want to play."

Deuchler has used hard work and smarts to become one of the county's top catchers. She wouldn't trade her position with anyone.

"I feel in control of the game," said Deuchler, who has an older sister, Kerri, and younger brother, Matt. "You have to think with every pitch. It's a lot more exciting from where I am."

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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