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Leopard signs with PHCC

Langworthy savors softball scholarship.

By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 9, 2003


BROOKSVILLE -- The moment Kristi Langworthy finally put pen to paper, she had one thought: "I did it by myself."

Langworthy, 17, is the oldest child in her family and oldest grandchild on either side. She didn't follow footsteps or ride coattails. The Hernando senior blazed her own trail, one that soon will take her to college.

Langworthy on Friday accepted a scholarship to play softball at Pasco-Hernando Community College.

She made it official in front of her parents, principal Elaine Sullivan, athletic director Matt Smith, Hernando coach Angie Svagerko, former coach Ernie Chatman and PHCC coach Tom Ryan in the principal's meeting room.

"When you do that and then you end with a scholarship, it makes it all the better," Langworthy said. "You achieved it on your own. Nobody had to pay for anything. I did it by myself."

Langworthy played second base, shortstop and third base in three seasons with the Leopards. She was part of a team that made a state semifinal appearance her freshman and sophomore season. Langworthy batted .308 last year for a squad that went 15-11 and lost to Citrus ina district semifinal.

"She's been a key component for the last three years I was there and will be so again this year," said Chatman, who is coaching track this spring.

"She's very versatile, can play a number of positions, and is one of those that seems to come up with a big hit in a clutch situation," Chatman said. "She's done that a number of times over the years, and defensively, she's very solid in the field, pretty much a natural."

Ryan said he liked Langworthy's versatility and knowledge of the game from the first time he saw her about three years ago. He said she could play anywhere in the infield or outfieldfor PHCC.

"She'll contribute immediately," Ryan said. "She's a very versatile player, she's a hard-nosed kid, and she plays the game the way it's supposed to be played, competitively."

Langworthy attended a tryout at Pasco-Hernando as a junior and returned a couple of months later to watch the Conquistadors play. Her team played there in the fall, but a knee injury kept Langworthy from participating. Still, Ryan stayed in touch and she made the decision just before Christmas to attend PHCC. She also considered North Florida Community College and Florida Southern.

"I really didn't want to go to a university, and NFCC was three hours away," Langworthy said. "I wanted to stay around here."

She said Ryan was another factor in her decision.

"I can relate to him real well," Langworthy said. "He's real easy to talk to, a real nice guy.

"Everybody says he's a good coach, and people I talked to said they don't regret going there, so I figured it might be the place for me to go," she said.

Langworthy is the latest in a long line of former Hernando players to matriculate to PHCC. She will join ex-teammate Becky Ellis and Central graduate Lindsay Grey with the Conquistadors.

"I played with all those girls," Langworthy said. "They all used to go to school around here."

Chatman said so many of his players go to PHCC because Ryan takes an interest in them, he's had success with them, and Pasco-Hernando offers more money than most schools.

"He's very familiar with our program, and he's seen our girls play and knows what they're like," Chatman said. "Obviously, when you know somebody, you're more apt to encourage those types of kids to come."

Langworthy was a three-sport letter-winner at Hernando, playing basketball through 10th grade and earning All-Hernando/Citrus recognition in volleyball. But she plans to focus solely on softball in college.

"I was iffy about it because I did good in volleyball last year and this year I did real good," Langworthy said. "I didn't want to give it up, but I guess that's a choice you've got to make."

Langworthy's knee injury forced her to miss part of volleyball season. But she said the knee feels good, and she's working to strengthen it in preparation for a possible move to catcher this season.

After the season, she will play one more summer in the Hernando Youth League before leaving for college. She hopes to one day return to Hernando to teach physical education and coach volleyball and softball.

"I want to do both," Langworthy said. "They come at two different times, so whatever I can get into, I'll probably do."

-- Frank Pastor can be reached at (800) 333-7505, ext. 1430. Send e-mail to pastor@sptimes.com .

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