Returnees Boost South River

Seahawks Hoping To Pull Off A Few Surprises In Tough Schedule

March 22, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff writer

Sometimes, it's better to be safe than sorry.

But at this point, it's difficult to tell whether South River's 15-year baseball coach Ken Dunn is just playing possum or being serious when he talks about his Seahawks' inexperience compared to the rest of the county.

Although the Seahawks went just 4-14 last season, Dunn returns a solid prospect in senior shortstop Al Lee, who batted .350 and was a near-flawless infielder.

Lee, who played last summer for the Annapolis Legion team, is on the recruiting lists of several college baseball programs, including the University of Richmond and Western Carolina.

Among the other eight returnees, Dunn's senior pitching ace Bill Long, who "pitched the majority of our games," is back for anotherseason as the starter.

Long should get support not only from Lee,who also will work from the bullpen, but from four other reserve hurlers, including returning senior Ricky Brookman and 6-foot-4 junior newcomer Robert Randall.

"Long has improved tremendously, but we need to find a couple of other chuckers to go with him before we're in good shape," Dunn said.

"The kids are working pretty hard, but unlike most of thecounty teams, we lack the experience of summer league ball."

Softball coach Don Leonard, dismissed from Broadneck late last year, is enjoying his new post at South River.

So far, he's just been happy to count his blessings: There are six of those blessings, to be exact, in the form of returning starters from last year's 8-10 Seahawks' squad.

Leading the way are four-year veteran shortstop Renee Howard and junior left fielder Erin Early, who hit a team-high .359 at the plate last year.

"(Erin) led the county with 38 steals," said Leonard, who is also beaming about sophomore Mandy McLaughlin.

Up from last year's 11-7 junior varsity squad, McLaughlin -- who will be backed up by sophomore Lindsay Pell -- "has got three or four pitches, and she's gonna be a good one," said Leonard.

The pitchers will take their signals from either junior catcher Terra Selby or senior Michelle Freihofer, a transfer from Annapolis Area Christian.

Returning starter Mandy Loftice anchors the outfield and Diana Niland moves from first to third base. Sophomore Amy Henshaw takes over at first base after a season as the top hitter on the junior varsity.

"I'm probably only going to be starting one senior, so it willbe a young, very exciting team," said Leonard.

"Our practices have become very competitive, and the girls are extremely enthusiastic."

Leonard seems undaunted by the tougher schedule.

"We don't have the four Howard County teams that they played last year, so we're against the lions," he said.

"To go to .500 would get us into the playoffs, and if that happens, I think we could pull a few surprises."

Leonard was encouraged by a recent scrimmage against Chesapeake.

"They're defending state champions, and their team runs like a machine," Leonard said. "But our kids looked pretty good."

Lee seems to think the same about the Seahawks' baseball team after a few earlypractices.

"We've got a lot of returnees, and we're pretty excited about the season," he said. "When it's time to play, I think we'll be ready to go."

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