Just days after her arrival as the Clark College head softball coach, Mandy Hill was busy on the bleachers searching for talent.
Hill, the Battle Ground High product and Portland State record-holder, takes over the Clark program that went winless in conference play this past spring. Even so, Hill has faith that a new era will come to Penguin softball.
"I feel like the potential is through the roof," Hill said on Friday afternoon as she scouted at a local field. "There's so much going on and so much good softball in the area, it just needs to be brought together and nurtured a little bit and we could have a really awesome program."
Hill, 27, should know a little something about program makeovers.
After her acclaimed career as a Battle Ground pitcher, Hill helped change the perception of softball at Portland State through her career from 2005-2008.
In only her second season, Hill finished 24-7 and led the Vikings to their first Pacific Coast Softball Conference title and NCAA Division I tournament appearance. Even today, Hill still holds multiple career records at her alma mater — most wins (67), appearances (147), innings pitched (283.2) and even ranks second on the home run list with 31.
"I think Mandy Hill is one of the most decorated to come out of Clark County," said Charles Guthrie, the school's Director of Athletics. "We're excited that Mandy's going to take us to the next level. … We're hoping Mandy comes in and changes that trend and makes sure that our students in Clark County will look at Clark as the first option and not the third option and we think she'll do that."
Guthrie said more than 20 applicants sought the softball opening but Hill entered the fray as a late option -- and the best one. On Tuesday, Clark officially named Hill as head coach.
"We were lucky to land Mandy," Guthrie said.
Along with the new coach, Guthrie also boasted of the new on-campus facility as a means to attract Vancouver-area high school softball players. Hill not only sees the benefits in having the 300-seat capacity stadium, but also a program primed for a rebuild.
"Everything's in our favor, we just got to get them here," Hill said of the local talent. "They're all still here in the area."