(April 19, 2005) - On Wednesday, April 13, 2005, a special tribute was paid to a former student athlete at Hagerstown Community College. Mary Beth Kennell had her softball uniform number retired. Kennell played at HCC as a member of the softball team during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
During the two seasons at HCC, Kennell was the statistical leader and emotional leader for the Hawks during their championship season in ’01 and the year preceding. In 2000, Kennell ended the season ranked third nationally with a batting average of .546. Her prowess at shortstop and cleanup hitter earned her First Team All-Maryland JUCO, First Team NJCAA All-Region and Second Team NJCAA All-American in 2000. During her sophomore year in 2001, she led the Hawks to the Region XX Championship and a trip the NJCAA National Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. As team captain in 2001, she hit a blistering .496 for the year and was selected to the First Team All-Maryland JUCO, First Team NJCAA All-Region and First Team NJCAA All-American.
Brian Beck, HCC director of athletics, came up with the idea to have Kennell’s number retired. “Mary Beth was the key person in our softball program whose ability and accomplishments directly contributed to getting HCC softball some recognition outside of the region”, Beck said.
“Her abilities on the athletic field, personal character and committed dedication to the game of softball made her the perfect honoree,” added Beck.
Following two years at Hagerstown Community College, Kennell played the next two years at Liberty University, an NCAA division I program in Lynchburg, Virginia. One of Kennell’s many highlights at Liberty was hitting a double while playing the number one ranked team in the nation, UCLA, in the College World Series in 2002. Mary Beth Kennell is currently working in the game as an assistant coach at Allegany College of Maryland.
April 13, 2005 marked the five year anniversary of the first game played on the campus softball field at Hagerstown Community College. On that day in 2001, Mary Beth Kennel christened the field by hitting a grand slam home run to solidify one of the many victories for the Hawks during the 2001 season.
Kennell’s number is the first number to be retired in the 58-year history of the athletic program at HCC.