When Courtney Zingle is not starring on the softball diamond, she can often be found outdoors with her sketch book in hand.

Zingle, a hard-hitting leftfielder and first baseman for Hatboro-Horsham, is a budding artist. She recently put the finishing touches on a 24-project portfolio required in the school's advanced-placement art class.

"Art is a big part of my life," Zingle said. "Watercolor painting is one of my favorite things to do."

The 5-foot-5 Zingle will play softball and study art education at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Md. Last summer, while with her club team in Florida, she did plenty of sketching in the South Beach section of Miami Beach.

This season, with her bat and fielding abilities, Zingle has helped keep Hatboro-Horsham among the area's elite teams. The Hatters, ranked No. 2 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, are 14-1 overall and 10-0 in the Suburban One League's Continental Conference.

Last year, with Zingle used mostly as a designated hitter, the Hatters went 23-5 and advanced to the PIAA Class AAAA state championship game before losing to Shaler.

"We pretty much have the same team," Zingle said. "The only real difference is that we moved our leftfielder [Katie Wambold] to second base."

In Friday's 9-0 nonleague win over visiting Archbishop Wood, Zingle went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. In the sixth inning, she belted a two-run home run to center field.

"She's probably one of the best hitters I've ever seen," Kelly Krier, the Hatters' first-year coach, said. "She sees the ball well, and makes good adjustments at the plate."

Zingle, a No. 3 hitter, has smacked a team-high five homers this season. She plays club ball for Tuff-N-Tuffer. The under-18 squad is based in Doylestown.

At Mount St. Mary's, Zingle will room with North Penn pitching ace Beth Everist.

Flashing leather. In Thursday's 1-0 loss to visiting St. Basil, a fierce rival in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, Nazareth played one of its best defensive games of the season.

Second baseman Erica Cipolloni had three putouts and four assists, while third baseman Amanda Fernandez had two putouts and two assists. In the sixth inning, first baseman Meg Cadagnone gunned down a baserunner trying to score on a groundout to second base.

Nice gesture. Before the St. Basil-Nazareth showdown, the St. Basil players handed a get-well card to Nazareth coach Bob Keating. Keating's wife, Clara, is battling cancer.

Extra bases. Shipley coach Michelle Then will try for her 200th career victory tomorrow when the Gators play Friends' Central. . . . North Penn's Brittany Allman is batting .415. The third baseman had a grand slam and three-run homer in the first two innings of Thursday's 13-2 win at Pennridge. Pennsbury's Niki Cognigni, a second baseman, totaled six doubles in three games last week. . . . Penncrest has been sparked by third baseman Ashley York (.481), second baseman Megan Evans (.417) and catcher/shortstop Brandie Woolfrey (.370). Sophomore Kelly Wilson has a 2.81 ERA. . . . Central Bucks South's Ali Henry (11 strikeouts, nine in a row) and Pam DelPizzo (nine Ks in five innings) both threw no-hitters last week, versus Abington and Neshaminy, respectively. . . . For Central Bucks East, Marielle MacMinn is hitting .405 and has a .595 on-base percentage. . . . Kennett's Emily Ruf, a junior, has an 11-4 pitching record with 125 strikeouts and a 1.06 ERA. She has a .490 batting average, an .863 slugging percentage, a .542 on-base percentage, 22 runs scored, 21 RBIs and four homers.

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien
at 610-313-8019