If the Meade baseball team makes half of the improvement from 1991 to 1992 that it did from 1990 to 1991, this spring could be one to remember for Elliott Harvey and his troops.
Last season, the Mustangsjumped from 4-14 to 11-7, just missing the Region IV playoffs by onegame.
Two major cogs on last year's squad, second-team All-County performers Chris Botulinski (first baseman-pitcher) and Lance Taylor, tooktheir arms to the University of Maryland and West Virginia Wesleyan College, respectively, while third-team All-County outfielder Mike Brogden went south to Salisbury State.
"Last year, one of the big reasons why we did so well was because of the leadership of Botulinski and Taylor," said Harvey. "Before last year, the one thing we were always missing was leadership. That's when both of them stepped up and said to the rest, 'look, this is the way its gonna be.' Those two will be very hard to replace."
Pitcher and designated hitter Ian Taylor, third baseman Rob Martin, speedy outfielder Kevin Powell and catcher Jay Twardowski headline a list of seven returnees, which also include infielders Danny Duvall and Laurenio Santiago, and outfielder Scott Kennel.
Said Harvey, "Ian will get most of the work on the mound. He also hits the ball well. He finished around .350 last year. I think he'll definitely be a key for us.
"I think it'll be important that we get off to a good start. The key to that will be leadershipand enthusiasm."
Senior outfielder Luis Morales, who also startedon the school's regional champion soccer team and was a reserve on the basketball squad, leads the list of first-year varsity players. "Luis is a pretty good all-around athlete. His greatest asset is his composure. He doesn't get frustrated," said Harvey.
Others rookies include juniors Mike Aquilar (outfielder-pitcher), Darrell Shifflet (first base), David Asbury (shortstop), Phillip Hilton (third base-pitcher) and Danny Sancomb (second base).
"We have one of the fastest teams we've ever had here, but of course they have to get on base in order to be effective," said Harvey.
Meade's softball contingent may need a little more than just base runners to be half as effective as its baseball counterpart.
Head coach Sam Pandullo returns just three players with an abundance of varsity experience -- and just five seniors overall from a contingent that went 3-15 in 1991. Nine first-year players grace the Meade roster, with three freshmen (infielders Joslyn Frobish and Jen Everett and pitcher Lisa Becker) on tap to start the season.
"Those two in the middle of our defense aren't bad, but that doesn't mean they won't make a lot of mistakes," said Pandullo. "We're young all the way around, and everyone will make young mistakes."
Senior catcher Heather Pandullo will try and top last year's .400 batting average, and will work with pitcher Lisa Becker.
"She (Becker) isn't really fast, but she has good control, and she can get the ball over the plate with some consistency -- something weweren't doing last year," said Coach Pandullo.
Sherri Walker, a senior third baseman, will bat in the cleanup spot, while junior center fielder Christina Aqueda is slated to be the leadoff hitter.
Seniors Christel Marks (first base), Melissa Bender (infield) and outfielder Shannon Hadden, junior Marlena Amorin (outfield) and sophomores Terry Frelolichowski (first base), Heather Mallonee (infield) and outfielder Jessica Howard round out the roster.