LaBille earns scholarship to Davis & Elkins
Chesapeake teammate Spicher to play for Waynesburg University
WYE MILLS Amber LaBille, whose junior college pitching résumé includes a no-hitter that propelled Chesapeake College into a region championship game, will continue her women’s softball career at Davis & Elkins College.
LaBille is part of an eight-member incoming recruiting class at Davis & Elkins, an NCAA Division II institution that plays in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. She received a substantial athletic scholarship and other aid that will pay most of her costs.
"It was definitely a good opportunity," said LaBille, who posted consecutive 13-win seasons for the Skipjacks over the last two years. "They have my major (nursing) and I definitely wanted to continue playing softball."
LaBille, who was both first-team all-state and first-team all-region this past season, said the decision to attend Chesapeake after graduating from Lackey High School in Southern Maryland was the right one for her.
"I think it was a really good start for me," said LaBille. "The small classes, the great people I met there I really enjoyed my time at Chesapeake."
Sarah Spicher, an Easton High School graduate who also played the last two seasons at Chesapeake College, will also study nursing and continue her softball career this fall. Spicher will play for NCAA Division III Waynesburg (Pa.) University, which plays in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
"It’s a small school, like Chesapeake, that has small classes and the ability to make personal connections with your teachers," Spicher said of Waynesburg.
Outfielder Lavin Kulina, the third sophomore on Chesapeake’s 28-14 Region XX runner-up, also has the opportunity to continue her softball career at a four-year school. Kulina, who is planning to complete her associate degree at Chesapeake this fall, has drawn interest from several four-year programs, including in-state NCAA Division III members Stevenson University and Notre Dame of Maryland University.
"We went 3-for-3," said Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes, referring to the fact that each of his three sophomores have opportunities to study and continue playing softball at four-year institutions.
Hayes said the 52 wins compiled by the Skipjacks in the last two seasons had their intended effect.
"It (winning) is a means to an end. You have to win enough so that four-year schools say, ’They’ve got good players,’ " said Hayes. "Winning games, playing for championships, getting players on all-conference teams all show you’ve got a solid program. That draws the attention of four-year coaches and provides our players with opportunities.
"Eleven of the 13 players who played two years here have gone on to the next appropriate level of education and had offers to play softball at four-year schools," said Hayes, who has coached the Skipjacks since 2008. "I’ll take those numbers all day long."
LaBille compiled a 26-18 career pitching record with the Skipjacks, striking out 242 batters while walking just 96. She also became a dramatically improved hitter, batting .344 and driving in 26 runs as a sophomore.
"Amber worked hard at improving her hitting and she was a much more consistent hitter this past season," said Hayes.
Spicher, who was first-team all-state and second-team all-region this past season, led the 2012 Skipjacks in batting average (.386), home runs (three) and RBI (51) while setting a school record for doubles.
"Sarah always could hit and she was really solid defensively," Hayes said of Spicher, who played both first and third base.
Both LaBille and Spicher will be joining programs coming off losing seasons. Davis & Elkins was 22-31 last season, including 8-18 in its conference, while Waynesburg finished 18-18 overall and 7-11 in its league.
Hayes said the contributions of LaBille, Spicher and Kulina went beyond their individual statistics. The trio were Hayes’ captains this past season, and he credited their leadership with helping the Skipjacks set a school record for victories.
"If you have good, solid peer leadership that makes a huge difference," said Hayes. "They led by example and were also vocal leaders. Their leadership played a big role in our success."
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