Coach: Bob Caples, fourth year Assistant coaches: Denny Snyder, SkipWah, Jason Green, Jeff Bruchey, Mike Ford
Last year's record: 2-16 overall, 2-16 in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League
Top returnees: Seniors -- Jimmy Feister (3B), David Caviness (OF), Dave Layman (SS), Murray Valentine (2B), Brandon Brilhart (C), EricBohn (P/OF); juniors -- Jason Smith (P), John Engel (OF/P), Dave Ruskey (OF/P)
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Rick Hooper (OF), Danny Wineholt (P/2B), Mike Caponia (OF), Mike Johnson (P/OF), Dale Bloom (C)
Coach's comments: "We'll go as far as the pitching goes. We look pretty good, and I'm more than cautiously optimistic. We have our entireinfield back who have been playing varsity together for three years.I told the boys, 'The future is now.' Defensively we'll be fine, andwe're very balanced offensively."
The Carroll County Sun's outlook: The first thing fourth-year coach Bob Caples mentioned was pitching. The pitching staff looks fairly solid with seniors Jason Smith, John Engel and Dave Ruskey returning with one more year of varsity experience under their belt. The defense looks solid, with the entire infield together for the third year. Eric Bohn and Dave Layman lead a balanced attack offensively. Scoring runs shouldn't be a problem, theirdefense looks equally solid, and the pitching . . . Caples has a lotof arms to work with.
Coach: Bryan Harman, 10th year Assistant coach: Scott Kohr
Last year's record: 12-7 overall, 5-3 and tied for first in the county, 8-4 in the Central Maryland Conference
Top returnees: Seniors -- Gray Johnson (OF), Shaine Norris (P/SS), Kyle Lampron (1B), Matt Alexander (OF/P)
Top newcomers: Senior -- Jeff Pumphrey (1B); juniors -- Doug Coppler (OF), Mike Davidson (OF), Mike McGinnis (P/IF), Bobby Brown (P/IF), Chad Blubaugh (2B);sophomore -- Steve Bravo (2B)
Coach's comments: "We're a little green, but I like what I've seen from the younger kids. It's a reloading year; we're stressing fundamentals. Pitching is a big question. I have nine kids throwing, and they've been very responsive. We're going to have to scrap and be on top of our ballgame to be there -- the CMC and county both should be strong."
The Carroll County Sun's outlook: Every team goes through rebuilding years, and this is definitely one for Harman and his Lions. With only four players returning withvarsity experience from last year's 12-7 team, Harman must rely on new faces to carry the load. It all starts with pitching, and Harman has nine players to step up and throw in practice. Harman is stressingfundamentals to his young team. Senior Norris will be the ace of an unproven pitching staff, and Johnson will be the offensive catalyst playing center field. The Lions will live or die with their young pitching staff.
NORTH CARROLL PANTHERS
Coach: Craig Walker, fourth year Assistant coach: Randy Clark
Last year's record: 10-8 overall, 3-5 in the county, 8-4 in the Central Maryland Conference
Top returnees: Seniors -- Doug Hamilton (P/OF), Benny Jackson (SS), Dave Polischeck (3B), Scott Reaver (P/1B), Andy Roach (OF)
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Geoff Little (2B), Derrick Loughry (P/SS), Kevin Dull (P)
Coach's comments: "We have four legitimate pitchers, which will enable us to make quicker moves if one is having a bad day. (Offensively,) we've got some speed and six kids who can reach the fence. We're just going to go out and do our best and let everything else fall in place."
The Carroll County Sun's outlook: A year ago, the Panthers finished 10-8 on the season after not winning a game the prior year. Look for even more improvement, with a strong cast of seniors getting another year better. Winning starts with pitching and defense, and Walker is confident he has both. Seniors Reaver and Hamilton will anchor the pitching staff. Offensively, the Panthers have a solid cast up and down the order, with a nice mix of speed and power. Polischeck and Roach will supply much of the punch, with Jackson likely to be Walker's leadoff man. Walker's rebuilding program is at its peak. Keep inmind that two years ago, he had a young team that went without a win. After a turnaround last season, the Panthers should make a run at the county title and should be a factor in the CMC race.
Coach: Joe Foltz, fifth year Assistant coaches: Ralph Goodwin, Brad Collins
Last year's record: 16-5 overall, 5-3 in the county, 9-3 in the Central Maryland Conference
Top returnees: Seniors -- Scott Carter (1B), Mike Cunningham (OF), Mike Downs (P/OF), Joe Goodwin (P/C), Eric Hood (IF), Jesse Reagan-Laur (DH/OF), Steve Schulze (SS), Andy Thompson (OF); juniors -- Charlie Kuykendall (OF), Brian Yannick (C)
Top newcomers: Seniors -- Ronnie Robinson (OF/DH),Jamie Unglesbee (IF); juniors -- Rob Morse (OF), Mike Wagner (OF), Jeff Baker (IF), Ron Garrett (IF), Steve Browning (IF)