Daw’s passion on the diamond makes her tops|Northside star named WDN Co-Player of the Year

Published 1:21 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — It’s rare to find a high school player in any sport that is so good customers don’t mind paying the price of admission. However, the way Amanda Daw played softball this year Northside could’ve charged double and nobody would have minded.
The Panthers’ senior shortstop was the most exciting player in the area, exhibiting endless range on the diamond and extraordinary intellect at the plate.
On the season Daw, the No. 2 hitter, batted .377 and drove in 10 runs, while hitting the field with her vacuum cleaner-like glove to help Northside finish in third place in the extremely tough Four Rivers Conference.
Daw’s phenomenal season was about more than just stats, she has what baseball people refer to as “all the intangibles,” which is a fancy way of saying she is a great leader and exhibits outstanding character in the clubhouse.
The combination of Daw’s stats, along with “all the intangibles,” makes her a perfect choice to be the Washington Daily News Co-Player of the Year.
Daw shares the honor with Williamston second baseman Cassie Harrell, both of whom typify what area softball is all about.
Northside co-coach Jack Beirne said that Daw’s hustle and all-or-nothing style had a major impact on the Panthers.
“Whenever you have a player who is willing to lay it all out on the line and give 100 percent, the girls kind of pick up on that,” Beirne said. “Her and some of the other girls we have had come through have really helped the program because once you get that, then you get some of the other girls to follow that same mentality. That’s how you build a program.”
The Panthers scrappy, scar-having shortstop wasn’t always the picture perfect player on the diamond. In fact, she grew up just trying to be picture perfect as a beauty pageant contestant. That is, until she was consumed by her love for softball.
“I was in beauty pageants, but after my momma signed me up for softball that was it,” Daw said. “The first time I picked up a ball I was ready to go, and I never stopped since.”
For the last four years Daw, the Four Rivers Conference Player of the Year, has turned the art of playing shortstop into a thing of beauty. One of the most memorable plays of this season came in a loss to Williamston.
Locked in a scoreless tie, the Tigers had runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the sixth. A Tigers’ batter smashed a ground ball past third baseman Caroline Slade, but Daw was there to back up her teammate. The senior dived to her right side to keep the ball in the infield, which was amazing enough, but then topped off the play by getting up and diving towards the third base bag, tagging the bag with the ball in her glove for the inning-ending force out that preserved the tie.
The Panthers went on to lose the game 1-0, but that play signified everything that is special about Daw. She was athletic enough to get to the grounder, which would have been out of most shortstop’s range, then showed her softball-savvy and never-give-up style by staying with the play and getting the out.
Daw’s versatility and selflessness also extended to the plate, where the Panthers’ No. 2 hitter always took a “whatever-is-best-for-the-team” approach.
“When I step up to bat I’m thinking if there is a runner on base I want to move her one way or the other, whether that means me getting out or me hitting it to the outfield or something, ” Daw said. “If the runner before me gets out, then I’m just trying to find a way to get on however I can.”
With that kind of attitude it’s easy to see why players gravitated towards her.
“She was the leader of the team because she always went out there and put it on the line,” Beirne said. “Some girls got better out there because of Amanda. They see her play like that and say ‘Hey, I can do that too,’ and they get a little better because they keep working on it.”
Daw will look to continue her success next season when she will join up and play with fellow area stars such as Charity Watson and Tiffany Frey at Pitt Community College.
This year the Bulldogs made it to the JUCO World Series, and Daw said she wants to try and make that happen again.
“I’m really excited about playing there,” Daw said. “I’m nervous but excited at the same time, I’m just hoping I can help them get back to the same place next year.”