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2008 Spring Training: Edison Softball

Eagles have new coach, but familiar coaching staff.

<b>Coach</b>: Bill Shaughnessy, first year

<b>2007 Record</b>: 7-13, 6-6 National District

<b>Season Ended</b>: Lost to Loudoun Valley in the first round of the district tournament

<b>Key Losses</b>: INF Lynsey Carter, Amanda Woodward, Kaitie Hughes

<b>Key Players</b>: P Elizabeth Gillispie SR, LF Kelly Batchelder, CF Lisa Kindred

<b>Quotable</b>: “As we continue to work with our younger players and on defense, I think we’re only going to get stronger. I think by tournament time, we’re going to be one of the teams that is going to be challenging for that No. 1 spot.” — Bill Shaughnessy, Edison head coach

<b>Outlook</b>: When Katy Harvey politely turned down Edison’s softball coaching vacancy, school officials didn’t have to look far to find John Dooley’s replacement.

Harvey, who has some softball pull considering that she’s still revered from when she stole 26 bases during his senior season in 1999, completing an Edison and Virginia-record 148 for her career.

A second-grade teacher at Rose Hill Elementary, Harvey recommended her father, Bill Shaughnessy, to be elected the new head coach. Shaughnessy has extensive coaching experience and, as a 60-year-old environmental scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, he welcomed the challenge.

He also brought on the former Kristen Hiltner, an all-region pitcher, who teamed with Katy Harvey on the 1998 squad. To keep the coaching staff within the family, he also coaxed brother-in-law Ron Sims out of coaching retirement to aid in the defensive alignment.

Now Shaughnessy is is one of the many new names in the district. Mount Vernon, Washington-Lee and Yorktown all have new coaches, but Shaughnessy thinks his senior starting pitcher will set his team apart.

Elizabeth Gillispie is the lone Eagle, all-district performer. She was honored as a second-team, at-large selection next season.

“She’s had time to get a few innings under her belt,” Shaughnessy said. “I would expect her to carry the load for the team this year. She’s got pretty broad shoulders.”

While the first-year head coach is content with Gillispie on the mound, he isn’t quite as comfortable with his three returning starters. He has four freshmen and two sophomores on the roster.

“Our biggest challenge is going to be hitting,” Shaughnessy said. “We’ve got a young, inexperienced team this year.”

He cited the lack of offensive productivity as a skill that needs to be addressed, as well as the need to curtail the earned run average from last season, which ballooned with multiple errors and an inexperienced pitcher.

But Gillispie is a year older and the team, which bowed out in the first round of the district tournament, is determined not to let that happen again.

“I think Yorktown is the team to beat this year,” Shaughnessy said. “I think we can present a challenge to them. With Elizabeth on the mound, I think we’re going to be very competitive.”