The Press of Atlantic City’s 2005 high school softball player of the year is still putting her skills to use as a Philadelphia Phillies Ballgirl.

Vineland’s Kristina Brenner, 23, who also played softball for Rowan University, is approximately halfway through her first year as a ballgirl. The math teacher at Veterans Memorial Intermediate School in Vineland said she is doing lots more than fielding foul balls.

Although Brenner said the coolest thing about her part-time position is “having the best seat in the house” while watching her favorite baseball team, a good portion of the job is appearing — and working — at charitable functions.

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“What you see on the field is just a small portion of what we really do,” Brenner said. “A big part is community outreach: visiting schools, playing in charity softball games against different organizations, visiting special needs children … that’s the stuff that really makes the job special.”

Brenner recently traded her ballcap for a construction hat as the Ballgirls helped Habitat for Humanity rehab a Germantown, Pa., house that was destroyed by a fire. She spent a day installing installation in 90-plus degree heat.

“I didn’t know a thing about insulation or construction, but I learned, and it was fun,” Brenner said.

Brenner, who was one of only nine women chosen this year from a 100-person tryout session, said the audition process was “pretty intense,” but it was worth the effort.

So far, she hasn’t had any embarrassing on-field moments.

“And let’s keep it that way,” Brenner said with a laugh. “We are told to get out of the way of foul balls. The only time we really field them is when they are slow rollers and we know they are foul. We definitely don’t want to end up on TV touching a fair ball. You can get into some big trouble for that.”

Short Stories

Cape May Court House’s Hannah DiBruno, 18, was recently crowned Miss North Wildwood. A panel of judges selected DiBruno as the winner from a pool of nine contestants. She took home $500, a trophy and the opportunity to represent North Wildwood until she turns over the tiara next year. First runner-up Victoria Miniscalco, 18, of North Wildwood, and Morgan Alexandra Scully, 16, of Wildwood Crest, also received trophies and cash prizes. ... Ocean City’s Russell Graham received a warm welcome home from his six-month tour of duty in the Air Force in Iraq. The senior airman was presented with gifts to celebrate his safe return from members of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. … Egg Harbor Township’s Christopher Groome recently received the Successful Graduate award from the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, or ACIT. The 1994 Egg Harbor Township High School graduate participated in ACIT’s Pastry Baking program from 1992 to 1993. After receiving degrees in baking and service management at Johnson and Wales University, he started working in the restaurant industry, eventually opening his own bakery, Mays Landing’s Brownies Squared. Groome is currently pursuing his master’s degree in business at Felician College.

— Short Stories compiled by Emily Brill

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