Coach's outlook: "I've had the bulk of them with me for three years. If they're not ready to make a move this year, they'll never be. Last year, we had the hitting, but no pitching. So far this year, we've gotten both. If we continue to get a good combination of the two, we'll be hard to beat."
Harford County Sun's outlook: The Mariners opened with wins over Edgewood and Bel Air, proving thatthey are a force to reckon with in the county title race. They return more experienced players than anyone else in the league. Despite the small roster, Zelinski has plenty of versatility among his troops. Pilkerton and Ward will handle most of the pitching, with Thomas and Davies in relief. Miller and Hunter can also go if needed. Zelinski has seen a great combination of solid defense, powerful offense and steady pitching in the early season. As long as they can keep that up, the Mariners will stay in the race for the county title. The only problem has been poor base running in the season opener, but the Mariners seem to have learned their lesson.
Coach: Mark Puckett, seventh season.
Assistants: Jeff Miller, John Heuston, Allan Gibbons.
Last year's record: 13-6, Class 2A regional semifinalists.
Starters lost: 3.
Returnees: Jeff LaPira, sr., P/SS; Brett Seidel, sr., C; Dave Simon, sr., 2B; Danny Baker, sr., OF; Chris Dennison, jr., OF; Shane Dougherty, jr., SS/OF; Mike Cropkowski, sr., 2B; Keith Reedy, sr., C; Lenny Brossoit, sr., SS; Jason Sealy, sr., P;Brian Wienhold, sr., OF; Rob Myers, jr., 1B; Jeff Hall, sr., OF/P.
Newcomers: Tim Deyesu, so., OF; Brandon Amos, jr., 2B; Brandon Brockmeyer, jr., P/OF; Shaun Mathai, so., P/SS; Kris Kapinos, jr., P; Brad Hallock, jr., 3B.
Coach's outlook: "I've got a couple of nice problems to have. It's a challenge to get everybody in the lineup who should be in the lineup. We have a strong nucleus of players returning. Our goal is to improve our record and to improve on our finish in terms of regional play. We advanced to the first round of regionals last year, so we want to improve on that this year."
Harford County Sun's outlook: The Cougars opened with a bang, knocking off defendingcounty champ C. Milton Wright, 15-7. They hit just about everything the Mustangs threw at them. Through their first three games, the Cougars have gotten solid hitting from their No. 3, 4 and 5 guys, Seidel,Hall and Myers, while Deyesu has been a pleasant surprise leading off. Although they made five errors in the first three games, the Cougars should be strong defensively. On the mound, LaPira is the main hurler, while Mathai, Brockmeyer, Sealy, Kapinos and Hall also will see plenty of action.
HAVRE DE GRACE WARRIORS
Coach: Larry Fox, secondseason.
Assistant: Joe Oswald.
Last year's record: 8-12, stateClass 1A semifinalists.
Starters lost: 6.
Returnees: Brent Bramwell, sr., P/1B; Joe Mirabel, so., C; Jason Fox, so., CF; Jeffrey Fox, so., SS; Scott Bramwell, so., 2B; Paul Oswald, so., RF.
Top newcomers: J.W. Walker, jr., P/LF; Lance Waller, jr., 1B; Tom Larson, jr., OF; Matt Carrico, so., 3B; Chris Menzer, fr., IF/C.
Coach's outlook: "In our first two games, we have been killed (by Edgewood and North Harford), but both of those teams are good teams. I am just trying to find out who's going to pitch. I am digging through to see who can throw strikes. In those two games we lost, we have given up oodles of walks."
Harford County Sun's outlook: This is quite a different Warriors team from the one that went all the way to the state semifinals before losing to Brunswick, 11-1, a year ago. Coach Fox returns most of his infield and should have a better defensive squad. Offensively, Bramwell, Jason Fox, Jeffrey Fox and Oswald should be consistent. The Warriors also have some speed in their lineup and will be a threat to steal. But, as Fox said, pitching is a major problem for the young Warriors. Both of his top hurlers are gone, and nobody seems to be able to throw strikes consistently. If Bramwell and Walker can get in a groove and begin to throw well, the Warriors could be competitive in the bottom half of the league. But if the pitching doesn't come, they will struggle this season.
NORTH HARFORD HAWKS
Coach: Tim Larrimore, second season.
Assistants: Todd Caschette, Sean Ireton, Gary Lucky.
Last year's record: 7-10.
Starters lost: 2.
Returnees: Kevin Diaz, sr., SS; Bill O'Patterson, sr., 2B; Chris Mills, jr., 3B/P; Scott Smith, jr., 3B/P; Art Boykin, sr., C; Ken Dowell, sr., 1B; Sam Powell, sr., CF; Mike Lynch, sr., LF; Matt Machala, sr.,RF; Matt Lyons, sr., DH; Rob Ivy, jr., 1B.
Newcomers: Josh Wessel, jr., P/2B; Rob Seifert, jr., P/OF; Scott Krause, sr., DH; Tom McCarthy, jr. OF.
Coach's outlook: "Our strength is our maturity. I'm going to start seven or eight seniors every time, so we've got some experience out there -- varsity experience, especially. Three of them (Diaz, O'Patterson and Powell) are starting for their third year in a row on varsity."
Harford County Sun's outlook: The one place the Hawks are not so experienced is on the mound, but it hasn't really mattered. Even with top hurler Mills limited to designated hitter statusbecause of tendonitis, the three other juniors got the Hawks off to a 3-0 start. It didn't hurt to have 39 hits in those three games. Larrimore expected good hitting from the top of his lineup -- Diaz, Powell, O'Patterson, Boykin and Mills -- but he has also gotten solid performances from Lyons, Lynch and Machala. Experience has also shown ondefense, where the Hawks made no errors in their first three games. If the tight defense and booming offense can continue to take the pressure off the young pitchers, it may give the Hawks an edge in the county title race.