By Andrew Longeteig

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – The Great Bay Community College softball program received its first two commitments from local student-athletes. Outfielders Dani Brashear (Newmarket, N.H./Portsmouth Christian Academy) and Meaghan Sandler (South Berwick, Maine/Marshwood High School) will join the program for its inaugural 2017-18 season, which officially begins this fall.

Brashear earned NHIAA all-state honors as an outfielder at PCA, batting .393 her senior season as a leadoff hitter while striking out just four times in 58 plate appearances. She helped Portsmouth Christian Academy to the final four in New Hampshire the past three years and reached the state championship game for the first time in 2014.

"Dani is dynamic a player who can hit, bunt, steal and change a game with her base running," said Great Bay CC coach Mike Vining, who coached Brashear from the sixth grade through high school.

Brashear, who is enrolled in Great Bay CC's surgical technology program, is excited to be reunited with Vining and being part of something new.

"The program has a lot of growing to do and I definitely want to be part of that," Brashear said. "It's almost better, because you get to start off on the same page and allow the program to build. Knowing the players we'll gather, I think we'll build a great program."

She also relishes the role of batting leadoff.

"You definitely have to have confidence, not only in yourself, but in your team that they're going to have your back," Brashear said. "As a leadoff hitter, you can get the ball rolling and set the tone for the game. When you have your team's support, it's great and you know that I got this and they'll be behind me no matter what happens."

Sandler, too, is familiar with Vining as he coached her on the Amateur Softball Association summer travel team as well as the Seacoast Shock, a 16-and-under team. Sandler, who earned MVP honors at Marshwood her senior year, batted .412 for the Seacoast Shock in 2016 and helped lead the team to the World Series in Niagara Falls, N.Y. In 2015, she hit .381 for the Shock.

"Meaghan has been a top player on the Marshwood varsity team the last three years," Vining said. "I know she will be a tremendous addition to the Great Bay softball team and GBCC family."

 Sandler, who plans to study criminal justice at GBCC, said it was really important to have softball as part of her college experience.
"I feel like I made a really good decision financially," Sandler said. "I also just really wanted to play with coach Mike one last time."
Both Brashear and Sandler said they look forward to being close to home as well as having family and friends watch their games.

"It's relieving to me because I didn't want to move away," Sandler said. "I'm close to my house and familiar with the area."

"I'm excited to start this program with people and coaches that I know," Brashear said. "I can't wait for the season."

Learn more about the Great Bay CC softball program.