Form, function come together at plate for Salisbury's Aley

State notebook

April 03, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Margie Knight, coach of Salisbury, the nation's top-ranked Division III softball team, doesn't hold back when she talks about the swing of Rosie Aley.

"Rosie has the most beautiful and perfect swing of any player I've coached in eight years at Salisbury," said Knight. "She has perfect rotation of her hips, an incredible knowledge of the strike zone, great discipline at the plate, uses the entire field, and the ball just jumps off her bat."

The left-handed-hitting first baseman, a senior, tops the Sea Gulls (21-4) in seven offensive categories and is second in two others. She is first in batting average (.477), home runs (four), slugging percentage (.785), on-base percentage (.568), hits (31), walks (13) and total bases (51). She ranks second on the team in RBIs (19) and doubles (8).

"If Rosie would swing at inside pitches a few inches off the plate she could at least have twice as many home runs," said Knight.

Aley has helped lead the team to two straight Division III World Series. Salisbury finished fifth and second, respectively, the previous two seasons.

"We're a different team this year from last," said Aley who is hitting third in the lineup after batting fourth the previous two seasons. "We're younger and have more speed. All we need to develop now is team chemistry."

So just where did that sweet, left-handed swing come from?

"I've been doing a lot of T-drills, working on using my hips, improving my discipline and getting my entire body into a swing," she said. "It makes me feel good to have everybody talking about my swing because I have spent a lot of time on it."

Another cog in the Sea Gulls' attack this season has been sophomore shortstop Kristy Shaffer (North Carroll), who leads the team in runs scored (21), is second in walks (10), is 8-for-8 in stolen bases, and fourth in RBIs (14).

Hurley on Hogan list

Navy senior Billy Hurley continues to be one of the nation's most celebrated collegiate golfers, being named to the 2004 Ben Hogan Award watch list.

The Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II, III or NAIA golfer.

Hurley was previously chosen to represent the United States on the prestigious Palmer Cup team that competes annually in a Ryder Cup-style competition.

He's moved up seven spots to No. 24 on this week's Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. He has won four of the eight tournaments he has played this academic year.

Et cetera

Johns Hopkins is 19-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation in the American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Division III poll. Senior right-hander Matt Righter was named the Centennial Conference's Pitcher of the Week last week after posting a 2-0 record and a 0.90 earned run average.

Towson freshman right-hander Jillian Kiley pitched a one-hitter to turn back UMBC, 3-1, in softball last week and raise her record to 5-1.

Former Salisbury pitcher Cory Willey has signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox and is expected to be assigned to one of the team's Single-A teams this season.

CCBC-Essex (6-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country in national JuCo lacrosse) will take on No. 3 Nassau tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Essex

The Johns Hopkins men took fifth place in the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, marking the fifth straight year they have finished in the top five. Leading the Blue Jays were sophomore Tyler Harris and seniors Scott Pitz and Kyle Robinson.

The UMBC women's tennis team has won six straight matches to improve to 7-4, with the latest victory coming by a 6-0 score over Georgetown. The Retrievers' Nos. 1 and 2 players, Tia Kaasalainen and Ale Pedergnana, both won their matches against the Hoyas.

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