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SOFTBALL

Pain-Free Hagen is Hoping to Inflict Damage This Season

March 13, 2001|MARTIN HENDERSON

Marina High third baseman Carrie Hagen strives for perfection and is accustomed to excellence. That is what made last season the most frustrating of her high school career.

Hagen got off to a blistering start, only to cool with an injury. Instead of hitting home runs, she was hitting singles. Instead of driving in runs, she was just trying to get on base.

"I'd come home and be really frustrated with the game or the practice because I wasn't reaching the expectations that I had at the beginning of the year," said Hagen, a senior. "I didn't get depressed, I got more ticked off about it because I wasn't playing the way I knew I could play."

In her first 18 at-bats over six games last season, Hagen batted .667 with three home runs, five RBIs and eight runs scored.

Then she was hit in the wrist by Irvine pitcher Kari Singley, and suffered a deep bone bruise. Over the next 24 games, she batted .346, scored 19 runs, had only two RBIs--and no home runs. She finished the season with 30 stolen bases. Her final batting average was .406.

"All of a sudden, I was going down, and it was a huge difference," Hagen said. "It wasn't just a little drop off, it happened right away. It was the most frustrating year."

Hagen's intensity made her someone to avoid in the dugout in moments of failure.

"People knew I was getting mad about it," she said. "It would take a couple minutes to get it off my shoulders. People knew not to come around me and say, 'It's OK,' but in hindsight, maybe that's what I needed."

Hagen says she is pain-free.

Her intense focus rivals that of another Marina great, Marcy Crouch, who pitched the Vikings to section titles in 1994-95.

"Marcy had that drive and determination, and so does Carrie," Marina Coach Shelly Luth said. "When Carrie goes to college, I think she'll be an All-American."

NO DAY AT THE BEACH

A sudden stomach ailment kept Kennedy's all-county pitcher and No. 3 batter, Michelle Turner, out of the starting lineup in last week's 1-0 loss to Huntington Beach. Lorraine Geiger, the cleanup hitter, was limited to one last-inning at-bat because she missed practices while on a recruiting trip.

LOOKING AHEAD

Today there are some outstanding nonleague games. Kennedy plays at Pacifica, and Sonora plays a doubleheader at Esperanza.

The Saddleback Valley Softball tournament, hosted by Laguna Hills, begins today at Alicia Park. Aliso Niguel, blitzed by Foothill on Saturday, could see the Olympic League's most valuable player, Calvary Chapel pitcher Stephanie Williams, in a game at 5 tonight. The championship is Thursday.

Thursday is also the first day of the Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz. Foothill, Mater Dei, Woodbridge and Canyon are among the local participants.

STATISTICS

Softball statistics, as supplied by county coaches, will be published in Prep Extra each Tuesday, beginning March 20. Coaches must contact The Times' Orange County sports department with cumulative statistics and team records by calling (714) 966-5867 on Sunday, or faxing to (714) 966-5663 or e-mailing to melanie.neff@latimes.com by 10 a.m. Monday.

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If you have an item or idea for the softball report, you can fax us at (714)966-5663 or e-mail us at martin.henderson@latimes.com

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SOFTBALL TOP 10

Times' Orange County Rankings

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Pos. School League Rec 1. Foothill Century 5-0 2. Aliso Niguel Sea View 0-2 3. Pacifica G. Grove 0-0 4. Kennedy Empire 1-1 5. Rosary Serra 0-0 6. Laguna Hills Sea View 4-1 7. Mater Dei Serra 2-2 8. Loara Empire 6-0 9. Esperanza Sunset 3-1 10. Marina Sunset 0-0

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Others: Canyon, Sonora

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