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She has been arguably the best outfielder in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference the last few years and much of the reason Hofstra University recently signed Huntingtown’s Chloe Fitzgerald to a softball scholarship.
“I’m really excited,” Fitzgerald said in a recent phone interview. “I always wanted to play at the Division I level so I’m very excited. I’d been looking forward to it for a long time. It’s going to be a lot of work with the weightlifting and stuff but I’m excited for it.”
And Mike Johnson, Huntingtown head softball coach, said he is excited for his three-time All-SMAC outfielder.
“I am extremely proud of what Chloe has accomplished both athletically and academically in her years at Huntingtown,” Johnson said. “I’m sure her family is as proud as well.”
Fitzgerald also received offers from Virginia Tech and James Madison University (Va.), but elected to sign with the Hempstead, N.Y.-based Pride.
“I really liked the coaching staff; they were very helpful throughout the whole process and they told us to visit other schools [to make sure],” said Fitzgerald, 17, who is thinking of majoring in some form of education. “I also liked the location to the city and the softball program and their success.”
Johnson said Hofstra is a good fit for his senior outfielder.
“Hofstra University should fit well with Chloe’s ambitions [and] the small class sizes, the beautiful campus and very good athletic facilities is a great combination,” he said. “Their softball program is top-notch and has recently made great strides at the college softball World Series.”
Hofstra went 40-13 last season, but fell to Georgia State University in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
The Pride is coached by Bill Edwards, who will head into his 23rd season in about a month’s time. Edwards has a career coaching record of 806-376-3 and led the team to 11-straight CAA titles from 1998 to 2008.
“From listening and watching Hofstra’s softball staff the last couple of years, I can understand their desire to have Chloe become a member of their squad,” Johnson said. “Chloe encompasses the traits that seem to be the makeup of their team: a hardworking, team-oriented athlete who wants to play and help others play at the highest level they can achieve together.
On the website gohofstra.com, Edwards said of Fitzgerald, “We think she can be super. She has a lot of speed and the potential to be a good leadoff hitter.”
Last season, Fitzgerald led Huntingtown in batting (.600) and on-base (.605) percentage, hits (45) and stolen bases (27 of 27). She also scored 32 runs and drove in 14.
“Just work hard,” Fitzgerald said of what it will take to make her mark at Hofstra. “I’d like to strengthen my arm and improve my footwork at the plate with slapping and getting faster. Obviously, my freshman year will be a learning process for my first year.”
Her hopes for her upcoming senior campaign are quite simplistic.
“Just to have a successful season, a winning season and possibly make it to states,” she said. “That would be awesome.”
Whether or not she is able to help the Hurricanes accomplish that remains to be seen, but Johnson is adamant she will be successful as a member of the Pride.
“She holds all the tools that she needs to be a success, both on the field and in the classroom,” he said. “She has proven that in her years here at Huntingtown and will undoubtedly do the same [in college]. Chloe will be an impact player at Hofstra.”