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Castiglione, mom connect to end slump

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 21, 2002

INVERNESS -- Darcy Streit had seen enough. Tired of watching her daughter, Citrus third baseman Krissi Castiglione, continually struggle at the plate, Streit decided to step in and give some much-needed advice.

"She kept telling me to relax and watch the ball," Castiglione said. "One night I did that and I went 2-for-3. She knew it would get me going."

Mother knows best. After hitting .220 as a junior (Castiglione said she couldn't remember her average because "it was so bad"), the senior is batting .371 with 6 doubles and 17 RBIs. Last week against South Sumter, Castiglione, a three-year starter and four-year letter winner, had the first four-hit game of her career and drove in four runs.

"I started off pretty rocky, but now it's coming around," Castiglione said. "This is the highest batting average I've ever had. When it came to my batting average, it was always two-something."

Castiglione hits have come with greater frequency and in bigger moments than in the past.

"She's been one of our best hitters," coach Scott Waters said. "She's sparked a couple of rallies, and she's had a lot of key hits. She's come through in pressure situations."

Castiglione's power outage is something new. Her defensive prowess is not. In more than 60 chances this season, the 5-foot-8 Castiglione has a .989 fielding percentage. Her lone error came in the Hurricanes' first game.

"I've always been a good fielder," Castiglione said. "That's never been a problem."

Waters thinks Castiglione's defensive success is easily explained. "She's about as fearless as anybody can be at third base. That girl can get a pop up that's barely out of the batter's box. Sometimes she literally runs into the batter, that's how fearless she is. I've seen her make plays this year that have made me stand around and wonder how she did it."

Castiglione's attitude is another plus.

"She'd run into a brick wall if I told her to," Waters said. "I've never heard her complain. She's never whined. Some athletes, when you tell them something, they whine. But this one is always, "Yes, sir.' I like this kid a lot. I wish I had a team full of Krissis."

Castiglione, a member of the 2000 Inverness Senior All-Stars team that reached the World Series, would like to play in college, but that might not be an option. She will attend Pensacola Junior College this fall and enter the nursing program. To pay for school, she will work part-time.

If time permits and money becomes less an issue, she might walk on in college. If not, her playing days will end when Citrus' season concludes.

"It would be nice to win districts," Castiglione said. "And keep going and going."

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