Samantha Dougherty is a “10”
by Cate Murway

Left field is a versatile position that will keep one moving. The athlete should be good at catching on the run and making long throws back to the diamond for plays at the bases.
The left fielder requires good fielding and catching skills, and tends to receive more balls than the right fielder because right-handed hitters tend to "pull" the ball into left field. This player backs up third base on pick-off attempts from the catcher or pitcher, when possible. Also if a runner is stealing third base, the left fielder must back up the throw from the catcher. The left fielder must monitor fly balls and position herself accordingly.
Enter, dynamic starting lineup softball player, Samantha Marie Dougherty, BHS ’09, who has mastered the skill of tracking the ball in the air in this physically challenging sport.

According to her coach, Michael N. Lalli, BHS ’76, “Samantha is one of the nicest girls I have ever coached. She gives a lot of speed and covers a lot of ground and she is an integral part of the team success!” The best part of this sport for her is hitting and running the bases! The BHS Warriors are currently 14-1, ranked 2nd behind Pennsbury H.S. Samantha is truly a “10” and this confirmation is displayed prominently at every game on the back of her softball jersey! Bristol can clinch the BAL Independence Division title with a win over MaST Charter on Tuesday.
They’ll save you a seat in their home field located in the Russell Elliot Memorial Park!
P.S. Samantha shares a birthday with Calvin [Cal] Edwin Ripken, Jr., a Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop and third baseman.

Samantha’s grandmother, Ann [Bradley] Dougherty, BHS ’65, a member of the Bristol Athletic Hall of Fame, has been her inspiration to fulfill her athletic dream and Sam confided, “Everything I do in sports, I dedicate to her.” Her very supportive grandfather is John Dennis Dougherty, BHS ’65.
Samantha is player #9 on the roster of the Lower Southampton Storm Fastpitch 16U girls travel team.  They have started competing in tournaments and she has been awarded MVP at both tournaments!

Samantha’s family resides on Madison Street. Her mom is field hockey, basketball and softball outfielder athlete, Michelle Ann [Dougherty] Fusco, Snyder-Girotti/ BHS ’91, a Crossing guard for St. Ann School; and her dad is basketball [2nd team All-Catholic], “rec” baseball athlete Joseph Michael Fusco, St. Mark School/BE ’89, a member of the Bristol Borough School Directors. He coached the 13-14 year old Little League and he proudly informed that it was the 1st time in 30 years that the team made it to the State Tournament! Joe shared, “Best time of my life and I had the greatest bunch of kids in my life.” The team included Steve Wade, BHS ‘08 and Matt and Mike Pinelli, BHS ‘07. Her step-dad also played in the Sonny Hill Community Involvement League, the premier amateur summer basketball organization in the Delaware Valley. Sam has 2 sisters: almost 5-year-old Jessica Michelle and Brianna Nicole, BHS ’09.

The first version of softball was invented in Chicago, IL on Thanksgiving Day, 1887 by George Hancock as a winter version of baseball. The first softball game was played using a rolled up boxing glove as a ball and a broomstick as a bat.
In the winter, Samantha, possessing the athleticism and skill to constitute an unparalleled asset to the team, participates in the energetic sport of Varsity basketball in the forward and center positions. The season is long but she still volunteers to help out and referee games for the Bristol Borough Recreation Basketball League clinic. Per Borough Recreation Director, Cynthia Mae (Cyndi) Wade, “ Samantha helps coach and she is very popular with the kids and she works well with them.” Her warm smile is testimony of her generous nature! The program successfully uses sports to hone athletic skills, develop leadership skills and build self-esteem. “Samantha gives 110% in practice and in games. All her effort has paid off”, per Assistant BHS basketball coach Mike Edward Poploskie, BHS '00/WCU '05/Cabrini M.ED program. He confirms, “Samantha is a tremendous worker, does all the little things that don’t go in the box score- she’s very quick; might be the fastest girl in Bucks County!” [P.S. XC Coach Ronald Brian McGinn - you’re missing a good one!]

Always an Honor Roll student, her interests outside of athletics included “World Cultures” taught by Mr. McGinn and Chem Club. Sam also helped out with the BHS play “Annie” by preparing flyers to distribute to the Girl Scouts. The BRT encourages students to get involved in advertising and design for productions. They were so impressed with her “Annie” flyer that she was asked to do another setup for their upcoming “HipHop” theme production. She is obviously imaginative in her presentations! A Desktop Publishing class in school taught by the Art teacher, Mrs. T. Schreiber, sparked her interest in the principles of layout and design. Samantha was inspired and encouraged to “take creative license” as much as she wanted! Through mastering Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, she has acquired the skills and the confidence to aspire to continue to design richly formatted compelling page layouts that include creative effects.
Her future goals include possibly working for a magazine or making designs.
Samantha’s birthstone is the vivid green to bright yellow-green Peridot [her favorite colors!] and the mystical property attributed to that gemstone is that it helps dreams become a reality.
Samantha has been offered a scholarship to attend the PFEW [PA Free Enterprise Week] for advertising in Williamsport July 6-12, 2008 at Lycoming College [their teams are also the Warriors!]
DeVry University peaked her interest at the BHS College Fair and she would like to continue to play her favorite sport, softball.

For the past couple of months at the La Luna Dance Studio, she was learning to dance the Salsa, a fusion of informal dance styles that occupy a fixed area of the dance floor, to help her friend, Nathan with his Senior Project. They danced a routine together, she in a silver dress and he in a silver T-shirt and jeans and he earned “Outstanding” for their presentation.
Samantha’s Senior Project will be an extension of her “I Search” paper on “Child Labor in Asia” that she prepared for Mr. McGinn’s class.

Samantha doesn’t particularly like country music. Her preferred song is Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” and Dirty Dancing, the 1987 romance film credited as being one of the most watched films of all time, is also her movie. Snack of choice is pizza from Amici's Pizza on Jefferson Avenue, across the street from the Borough home ball fields. According to Sam, the best Chicken Parmesan can be found at Charlie Karp’s Pub but she truly enjoys her mom’s rich and creamy cheese and garlic chicken Alfredo and “her stromboli is good, too with lots of cheese!”  The favorite dessert place is Cannoli Coffee bar & gelateria and she loves the “cookies and cream” gelato!

Summer is perfect for volleyball at the campground shore home of her father, Raymond [Ray] William Jackson, BHS ’89 in Long Beach Island. Sam shared,  “I love to play volleyball on the beach with my dad and people on the beach play.” She makes time for horseback riding with her friends also.

In the future, she wants to drive a red or maybe silver vehicle “higher than a car” possibly an SUV. But for right now, she is preparing for the next week’s three softball games and she can walk!

To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted: e-mail

Samantha Marie Dougherty