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General Brown’s Pitkins turn to dad for softball advice

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GLEN PARK — Darrin Pitkin started showing his daughters, Katie and Rhea, how to throw and catch a softball when they were around the age of four.

More than a decade later, he’s still teaching his daughters how to play the game.

Darrin Pitkin is in his fourth year as the General Brown softball coach, all of which have been spent with his oldest daughter, senior Katie Pitkin.

Rhea, a sophomore, is in her second varsity season.

“It’s been an enjoyable experience to coach both girls, it really has,” Darrin Pitkin said. “I took this over because there wasn’t a coach at the time, and sometimes playing for your dad isn’t always the easiest thing. I know I’ve enjoyed it.”

Katie Pitkin — General Brown’s ace — is coming off a no-hitter against Watertown on Saturday. She has tallied 27 strikeouts through 16 innings. Last season, Pitkin threw a perfect game and two no-hitters, and averaged more than 10 strikeouts per game.

Rhea Pitkin, who plays first base and serves as the Lions No. 2 pitcher, is hitting for a .500 average with a double, triple, home run, and six runs batted in through four games.

Katie Pitkin, who will play at Division III SUNY Cortland next year, said having their coach on standby 24/7 has aided their development.

“It definitely helps and I think we’ve picked up on how to do more things, more knowledge of the game,” she said.

Rhea Pitkin added: “He’s always encouraged me to do better. When I wasn’t doing very well, he would tell me that I had more potential than that. He believed in me.”

The trio said softball is discussed at the dinner table just about every night. Darrin Pitkin also coaches his daughters in basketball.

“It depends what season we’re in, what we talk about (at home),” Katie Pitkin said.

Rhea Pitkin joked: “Basketball season, softball, even soccer season, he doesn’t coach that but he’ll still yell at us.”

Separating softball time and family time is the biggest challenge for the family, they said, because each member is so competitive.

“When I coach the other girls, when they go home I can’t say anything to them. But when (Katie and Rhea) go home, I can say something to them,” Darrin Pitkin said. “We’re trying to work on leaving softball at the field.”

Katie Pitkin added: “We’ve gotten a lot better with that… we definitely get (our competitiveness) from him.”

Darrin Pitkin first started coaching the girls in T-ball. He said when he coached his son Nolan’s youth baseball teams, Katie, a year younger, would fill in when the team needed a ninth player.

Rhea would move up to play with Katie’s age group during travel softball to make trekking across the state more manageable for the family.

When the girls got older, Darrin Pitkin helped form a travel team called “Victory Young Guns,” in the 14-and-under agegroup. They advanced to a national tournament in Locayta, Md., just outside of Washington D.C., and placed seventh out of 50 teams.

They later formed a 16-and-under team, “Hazen’s Northern Fast Pitch.” Katie and Rhea were coached by their dad for six years overall in travel softball.

“I think that’s been the most interesting part about it is just playing all over the state, traveling together, and the girls get to meet other girls from other teams,” Darrin Pitkin said.

The Lions are off to a 3-1 start. Last year, they finished 17-5 overall and 13-3 in the Frontier League. The team has gone 39-15 overall and 35-9 in the league over the last four years.

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