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Phil Anastasia: Rams’ softballer Hagerty sold on Hofstra

Nicole Hagerty likes the bright lights and the big city.

Nicole Hagerty likes the bright lights and the big city.

She likes the bright lights and the little city, too.

The Gloucester Catholic softball star says one of the reasons she decided to continue her athletic and academic careers at Hofstra University was its proximity to New York.

Hagerty has played some of her best softball under the lights. She led the Rams to Saturday-night victories over rival Gloucester City before huge crowds at the town's Ponytail League softball field as a junior and senior.

Hagerty, who earned a scholarship to Hofstra, is a four-year player for Gloucester Catholic. She had 90 career hits and 77 career RBIs through Friday, and also had a career pitching record of 43-15 with 291 strikeouts.

Hagerty and the rest of her teammates will be under the spotlight this week, as the second-seeded Rams take aim at the Non-Public South B title.

Question: You're known as both a top pitcher and a top hitter. Which do you prefer?

Answer: I like hitting a lot better. I only pitch for my high school team. I'm a hitter for my ASA team and the coaches at Hofstra said they want me to hit and play first base.

Q: Why Hofstra?

A: The coaches were great and everybody on the team seemed nice. I really like the idea that it's so close to New York. That's exciting. There's so much to do.

Q: Do you know what you want to study at Hofstra?

A: I'm not sure but I just want to get my degree because I want to be a state trooper.

Q: Why police work?

A: So many people in my family are state troopers. I've always been interested in it. Then last summer I attended a youth program that the state police ran and I just loved it. I knew that was what I wanted to do.

Q: Gloucester Catholic and Gloucester City seem like they are always in the top 10 in softball and always play a great game under the lights. How would you describe the rivalry?

A: It's always our biggest game of the year. It's a rivalry for a lot of other people, but as players we all get along with their players. We're all friends so it makes it an even better game.

Q: What's your favorite subject in school?

A: Science.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your athletic career?

A: I'd say my mom (Kelli) and (Gloucester Catholic baseball coach) Dennis Barth. My mom has driven me everywhere for softball and Dennis has worked with me so much with my hitting.

Q: What's the best thing about the Gloucester Catholic softball team?

A: We have great chemistry. We're all friends on the field and off the field.

Q: What's the outlook for the Rams in the state tournament?

A: We're excited. We think we're going to be a tough team to beat.

Three stars from last week

1. Mike Davis scored a tough victory at No. 3 singles to lead Cherry Hill East to a 3-2 win over Cherokee in the semifinals of the South Jersey Group 4 tennis tournament.

2. Becky Stiles scored four goals to help Shawnee to a 15-13 victory over Clearview in the semifinals of the South Jersey Group 3 girls' lacrosse tournament.

3. Joe Furlong drove in five runs to lead Audubon to a 10-3 victory over West Deptford in the quarterfinals of the South Jersey Group 2 baseball tournament.

Three tips on this week

1. Sectional finals in girls' lacrosse on Monday feature Shawnee at Moorestown in Group 3 at 3:45 p.m. and Washington Township at Cherokee in Group 4 at 7 p.m.

2. Lenape and Cherry Hill East play for the fourth time this season in boys' tennis in the South Jersey Group 4 championship match at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

3. The state track and field championships will be held Friday and Saturday at Egg Harbor Township and South Plainfield.

Super Seven Power Rankings

The best teams in South Jersey, regardless of sport:

1. Moorestown girls' lacrosse (22-0): The Quakers have taken dead aim at their 11th consecutive Tournament of Champions title.

2. St. Augustine boys' lacrosse (19-2): The Hermits go for the first state title in the history of the program in the Non-Public A championship game against St. Joseph's of Metuchen Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Livingston.

3. Lenape baseball (21-4): The Indians hope to add Group 4 state title to Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic title.

4. Moorestown boys' tennis (27-3): The Quakers host undefeated Ocean City in Tuesday's South Jersey Group 3 final.

5. Delsea boys' track (5-0): The Crusaders rolled to South Jersey Group 2 crown behind a bunch of guys who also were key members of South Jersey Group 2 title team in football.

6. Cherokee girls' lacrosse (19-2): The Chiefs have won 13 in a row and could capture second state title in three years if they can make it past Olympic American rival Washington Township in Monday night's sectional title game.

7. Cherry Hill East boys' volleyball (22-2): The Cougars meet old rival Eastern in Wednesday's South Jersey semifinals.

Under consideration: Timber Creek boys' track, Seneca girls' track, Shawnee boys' lacrosse, Lenape boys' tennis, St. Augustine golf, Lenape girls' track.