Three Local High School Graduates Sign Letters of Intent to Play Women’s Softball at CSM

From left and sitting Haley Hands and Laila Brooks sign their letters of intent to play softball at the College of Southern Maryland. Standing from left are CSM Women's Softball Coach Becca Collins and Hawks Assistant Coach Amber Whelan.

College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Women’s Softball Coach Becca Collins and the CSM Hawks softball program announce the signing of three players to the team for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Haley Hands, of Morganza and Chopticon High School; Laila Brooks, of Leonardtown and Leonardtown High School; and Aleah Davis, of Brandywine and Gwynn Park High School recently signed their letters of intent to join the Hawks.

Hands has played catcher, third base and shortstop. According to maxpreps.com, she had a .393 batting average, .426 on-base percentage, and hit three home runs and 26 RBIs as a senior at Chopticon. She said she chose to play ball at CSM because it is a good fit.

“It’s the best bet for me and this is a good softball program,” Hands said. “It just seemed right for me. I’m very excited [to get started]. I love softball so much. I’ve been playing it all my life, so I’m excited.”

Brooks is an infielder. According to her maxpreps.com standings, she posted a .379 batting average, .455 on-base percentage, four home runs and 23 RBIs in her senior season at Leonardtown High School.

Gwynn Park High School Graduate Aleah Davis signs her letter of intent to play softball at CSM while her family and coaches looks on.

Davis has played shortstop, third base and catcher.

“I decided to come play at CSM because it helps me develop my skill as a softball player, and I can transfer after two years to another college,” Davis said. “I’m very excited. It’s a good opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to working with all the players.”

Collins said it feels good to finally have her first signing class. Since joining CSM as head coach last August, she missed the majority of last year’s recruiting season and was unable to get commitments by the November signing period.

“I think we’re taking a step in the right direction,” Collins said. “The girls seem really energetic and excited to get started. A lot of them want to start working out and they’ve actually been working out together. And they’re inviting the new girls so that’s great, too, because they’re all getting to know each other. All three of them will be huge assets for CSM.”

Collins said she wanted to get these players on her team because of their attitude.

“They are team players,” she explained. “Laila plays third but if I put her somewhere else, I know she’ll do her job there. That’s a big part of recruiting these days – finding somebody who’s willing to put the team ahead of themselves. The other thing, too, is they all want to progress further to play at four-year universities. That’s another benefit of community college. Come here for two years and get your degree. It’s less expensive and then head out to a four-year school.”

becca collins
Coach Becca Collins

Collins referenced former Hawk Lori Sturgill as an example of what she is trying to accomplish with her program. Sturgill played at CSM in 2015-16 while Collins was an assistant coach on the team and Sturgill went on to play for Shepherd University in the NCAA Division II Super Regionals. Shepherd is also one of the schools Collins said she is trying to play exhibition games against in the fall, along with University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Bowie State University and Virginia Union University.

“I’m excited to see what we have this season,” Collins said. “I think we have a lot of utility players so it’ll be interesting to see where everybody finds a home on the field. It’ll also be interesting because they all have heart. They want to be here and they want to play. I think we’re having a great time.”

The job is not done yet, though, Collins said. She still has more recruiting underway and is looking at players from other area high schools.

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