Nearing the end

The good times and successful seasons are winding down for Seminole seniors Kotchman and Tyson.

Published April 14, 2005

SEMINOLE - Their college coaches won't spout bizarre phrases like the ones they hear daily from Mark DeRuzzo.

The number of games they play likely will double and the pace will be much faster. There will be new teammates, new rules and new uniforms.

That's why Seminole seniors Christal Kotchman and Shannan Tyson are taking in as much as they can now.

Leaving won't be as easy as they once thought. Four years, after all, got here rather fast.

"It kind of just passed by," Tyson said. "It will be sad to leave. We just have so much fun."

Kotchman and Tyson are the only seniors on Seminole's squad to have played all four years. Playing since they were 7, they also are a big reason the Warhawks are again playoff bound. A centerfielder, Tyson is hitting .446 and leads the team with seven doubles and 25 runs scored. Kotchman, the starting shortstop, is hitting .404 with three doubles, 12 RBIs and 21 runs scored.

"They've both been hard workers since their freshman year," DeRuzzo said. "They're not girls that talk a lot - they show by producing."

Tyson, Seminole's leadoff hitter for four years, has committed to play at Manatee Community College in the fall. Kotchman will play at Chipola.

Kotchman's versatility enabled her to start at three positions for the Warhawks. She played centerfield as a freshman, second base as a sophomore and junior, and is now at shortstop.

"Christal is one of those kids you can put wherever and she'll have no problem," DeRuzzo said. "She doesn't have an agenda. She'll play wherever the team needs her."

Tyson, who caught during last year's playoffs for Seminole, is expected to be a catcher at Manatee.

Kotchman and Tyson have won three consecutive district titles, but have seen their playoff dreams end in the first round each of the past three seasons. The Warhawks were ousted by Countryside last year and by Palm Harbor University the previous two. Seminole was 67-15 during those seasons. The squad is 16-4 thus far.

"We've been fortunate to have good coaches that we could learn from," Kotchman said. "I'm going to miss everybody and everything. We are a family here."

--Meyla Hooker can be reached at 727 445-4224 or e-mail mhooker@sptimes.com