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Ex-Citrus star finds niche with Eckerd, on islands

Published July 12, 2006

Last year, Mettina Maggiore was having second thoughts about playing softball. The 2003 Citrus graduate had played two successful seasons at Young Harris (Junior) College in Georgia. She debated trying to walk on at UCF and if things didn't work out, becoming just a student.

But Maggiore had talked to Eckerd and decided her final decision would come after a phone call with Tritons softball coach Kristie Delk. By the end of the conversation, Maggiore had orally committed to Eckerd.

"It's nice because I'm not having to constantly worry about where I'm going," Maggiore said. "Because at junior college I felt like I had to get all these tools and now that I'm here I just need to use it all."

Eckerd's young team was happy to have an experienced transfer.

"She has a silent poise," said Eckerd utility player Amy McGathey, who is one of three seniors returning this season. "And is a very positive uplifting teammate. "

"She's a strong defender," Delk said, "But offensively, she struggled. She could be our lead-off hitter because she has great speed, she just needs to find a way to get on base."

Maggiore, who batted .158, hopes to hit more consistently next year, but has tried to refocus and retool during a five-week Campus Crusade for Christ mission trip in the Caribbean.

"It was funny," she said about her stay on the islands of Barbados and Trinidad. "Nobody knew what baseball was. They always ask what are you doing with that thing on your hand because all they knew was cricket and soccer."

In the mornings, Maggiore would throw her softball for 15 or so minutes. Then she'd run a mile from the University of West Indies campus to a local horse track.

"There was a lot of exhaust from the cars and it was noisy but you get used to it," she said. "They honk all the time because honking your horn means 'Hi' and 'Thank You.' "

While people played soccer in the grassy infield, Maggiore ran sprints on the dirt track. Maggiore followed her run back to campus with surfing, snorkeling or playing softball.

Maggiore taught locals how to play softball by explaining the difference between cricket and baseball.

"In cricket, the ball is the same size of a baseball, but the way you throw it is with a running start and you catch with two hands," she said. "So I first tried to teach a boy who tried to catch the ball two handed and it hit him in the chest. But by the end he was able to throw a knuckle ball, curve ball and change up."

"It was," she added. "The best experience."

[Last modified July 11, 2006, 23:20:25]

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