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The Collin County Express: Collin Country Community College takes a Whirlwind Ride

Lady Express Players, Coach Earn Post-Season Awards

Three Players Honored Following Banner Season

After a whirlwind run through the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference for the regular-season title and advancing into the Region V Championship, Collin County Community College was duly rewarded for its tremendous season in intercollegiate softball, landing post-season honors for many of its players.

In only the second year of fielding a softball program, the Lady Express placed three members on the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference First Team-including the conference Pitcher of the Year, two on the All-Region V team one on the NJCAA All-American list.

In addition, head coach Craig Leverette, a native of Plano, was also named NTJCAC Co-Coach of the Year for leading his team to an impressive 40-16 overall finish and a first-place runaway (22-5) in conference competition Sophomore outfielder Heather Browne of Arlington, freshman second baseman Joanne De La Rosa of Arlington Sam Houston and freshman Stephanie Yeager of Wichita Falls Rider were all named to the All-NTJCAC first team. Browne and Yeager also made the All-Region V team, and Yeager, who also garnered conference Pitcher of the Year , was named to the Third-Team NJCAA Division I All-American roster.

"We had some standout performances by those three (Browne, De La Rosa and Yeager), but the really good thing about this team is it was everybody," Leverette said. "When Heather went down (with a late-season injury), we had some other people step it up. But those three in particular had great years, and those sophomores are going to be tough to replace."

Yeager, who without question was the most feared pitcher in the league all season long, posted incredible numbers as a freshman. Coming to CCCC from Rider HS where she was the District 10-5A Pitcher of the Year, she rolled to a 24-8 overall record with three saves, boasted a 1.69 ERA, hurled 304 strikeouts (fourth-best in the nation) while walking 101 in 211.2 innings. She also helped the cause at the plate with a .304 batting average, five homeruns, 35 RBI's and 26 runs scored. Browne, a decorated athlete out of AHS and returning All-Region V selection for Collin from 1998 (.331 avg.), led CCCC in numerous offensive categories this season and again anchored the heart of what proved to be a formidable Lady Express lineup. She hit a team-high .438 and also tied for the club lead in homeruns (six) and was first in stolen bases (15).

De La Rosa also quickly became a fundamental part of the Lady Express attack. As a freshman, she batted a smooth .402, while belting two homeruns, 30 runs batted in, a team-high 12 doubles and scored 23 runs. She was also a solid defender, committing only 10 errors on the season. CCCC loses nine key players off of this season's squad, but has already picked up some key signees, including shortstop Melanie Hall of Grand Prairie, outfielder Katherine Bowen of McKinney (a transfer from Southeastern Oklahoma State University), third baseman Angie Kuhlmann of Flower Mound Marcus and first baseman Dawn Gauthier of Burkburnett.