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Monica Santos small but packs wallop for USF Bulls

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A remarkable story ....


Wednesday, May 11, 2016 12:38pm

Monica Santos’ three stolen bases this season triples her career total, the product of a concerted effort to improve her speed.

TAMPA — The Sunday afternoon sun was descending behind Monica Santos as she walked to the right-handed batter's box with that barely discernible hitch in her concise strides.

Her black ponytail, practically 22 years in the making, dangled roughly halfway down her 4-foot, 10-inch frame. Time to take a few cuts at cancer.

Santos' USF softball teammate, sophomore Meredith Bissette, had been diagnosed with a rare form of it a month or so earlier. On this cloudless May afternoon, a few hundred had turned out for a home run derby to raise funds for Bissette's family. Pledges were taken for each homer hit, literal bangs for the bucks.

Santos made 'em pay, all right. The derby's smallest competitor by roughly a half-foot, she chuckled as she missed wildly on one pitch, unaccustomed to the gratuitous dip in velocity. But then she adjusted, and the bright-yellow orbs began arriving like cantaloupes. The girl known as Mo splattered one. Then another. And another.

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