When asked what a coach does after his team loses most of its players from the previous season, Arundel's Bernie Walter said, "Just try to reload."
At least he isn't putting a gun to his head.
Graduation took three first-team All-County selections: right-handed pitcher Jeff Beard (10-1, 0.80 ERA), shortstop Scott Young (.405,34 stolen bases) and designated hitter Larry Dobson (.367, 24 RBI).
But Walter saw those departures coming. What he didn't anticipate was left-handed pitcher Zach Collins leaving school and infielder Shawn Crews moving to Ohio.
Collins was a first-team All-County pick after going 8-1 with a 1.26 ERA. A junior last season, he pitched a four-hitter to lead Arundel over Perry Hall, 8-1, in the Class 4A state finals -- the Wildcats' fifth championship.
Crews, a third-team choice, batted .363 with 25 RBI. He had two years of high school eligibility remaining.
"Turnover in sports -- that's what high school sports is all about," said Walter, whose team won 20 games last year, including three against rival Old Mill. "Crews and Collins I didn't expect to lose, but that's the way it is.
"The jayvee team was county champions last year, so we have a good bunch of young players coming up. With seven seniors, plus the juniors and sophomores,it looks like we've got a nice blend."
OK, maybe the situation isn't so bleak after all. Second-team All-County third baseman Chris Durocher returns after batting .360 with 16 RBI last season. And five of those jayvee players joined the team for the state tournament.
"We have the talent to get back to the states," Durocher said. "It's just a matter of how hard we play every game. But we definitely have the talent to do it.
"The guys who are coming up are really good, really experienced. They played 60 to 70 games during the season and over the summer. And we have a lot of good hitters. That's one of our strong points. It definitely looks good so far."
Much of the pitching load falls upon senior right-hander Brian Rolocut, who was a modest 1-0 last spring, but is considered a possible "big-league prospect" by Walter.
Rolocut threw a scoreless inning in last September's Anne Arundel County Sun-Oriolelanders All-Star game. He struck out one and picked off a runner.
"He's got good stuff, a good arm," Walter said.
"We're looking forward to a pretty good year. The biggestquestion is whether or not we can stay healthy."
Arundel girls softball coach Don Banks brings a healthy outlook into the season, along with 16 players he believes could produce his first trip to the postseason in four years.
"I have a strong feeling that we may have adecent shot at the playoffs," said Banks, who will be assisted by former Severna Park coach Paul Yannuzzi.
The Wildcats (7-10 last season) will depend heavily on junior pitcher Traci Koenig, who also packs a wallop at the plate.
"Her work ethic has improved 100 percent. She's really come a long way," Banks said. "She's become more mature both mentally and physically. If she can stay healthy, she will be a key for us."
Koenig will bat second behind leadoff hitter Heidi Motzer, a sophomore second baseman.