Coach: Dale Huting, sixth year
1991 record: 11-3 county, 14-5 overall
Returnees: Seniors Jodi Meitl (P), Rebecca Vanisko (1B), Kera Reichert (DH/3B), Becky Joeckel (RF), Heather Bradburn (CF); juniors Keri Chichester (C), Kelli Butler (SS); sophomore Kathy Gallagher (LF).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Stephanie Livingston (1B), Meghan Seewagen (OF), Jenny Willigan (OF), sophomore Jeanine Lee (2B); freshmen Marcia Kunkel (3B), Kim May (P/OF).
Coach's outlook: "Some years, you want teams to realize what they can do. This team knows what it can do, and it has the kind of senior leadership that wants to take the team somewhere. We're not an overpowering team, but a very good, motivated team."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Eagles are led by six returning starters, three of whom are as good or better than anyonein the county. Joeckel, a four-year player and All-County selection last year (.380, 27 RBI), is terrific defensively. Butler is a three-year starter. And Meitl, the team's leader, is already 4-0 (two walks, 45 strikeouts in 28 innings). Inexperience at second and third basecould present problems, but Meitl should keep the Eagles on course for a title.
Coach: Dave Vitagliano, sixth year
1991 record: 1-13 county, 1-17 overall
Returnees: Seniors Liz White (1B), Julie Ruprecht (SS), Erin Shepherd (LF), Jacque Chillemi (2B), Amy Lorditch (CF/P), Kari Miller (C); junior Amy Mina (C).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Tessa Ward (DH/OF), Lindsay Greenbaum (RF); sophomores Stacey Williams (CF/IF), Stacie Vollentino (RF); freshmen Chrissy Gavin (3B), Kim Ruprecht (P).
Coach's outlook: "We're young, and we're not good enough that we can make mistakes against good teams and expect to win. Our goal is to play .500 ball. With young players, you never know, but we've got a shot to make the playoffs."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Raiders should be the league's most improved team. Lorditch and Shepherd return to lead a strong outfield, Julie Ruprecht is a solid, three-year starter at shortstop, and Mina hit .400 after being called up from the junior varsity in midseason last year. The key is Kim Ruprecht, who has already struck out 10 in a game. Her consistency will dictate how much Atholton improves.
HAMMOND GOLDEN BEARS
Coach: Dave Guetler, eighth year
1991 record: 7-7 county, 9-9 overall
Returnees: Seniors Cory Eberhart (2B), Amy Hanlin (SS), Megan Wheeler (C/OF); juniors Jen Garlick (P/IF), Kelly Waggoner (1B), Beckey Snyder (CF), Ashley Scott (P/OF), Hillary Hines (OF); sophomores Amy Nestor (C), Casey Reeves (LF).
Newcomers to watch: Junior Michele Jordan (OF); sophomores Jessica Cyran (3B/P), Shannon Lee (IF).
Coach's outlook: "We're not a strong defensive team, and we don't have that pitcher who can shut people down. We've gota lot of learning to do. We're not going to be chasing anyone for a county title."
Howard County Sun outlook: The loss of pitcher Jen Thomas to graduation was so great that Guetler has resorted to pitching-by-committee to fill the gap. Garlick and Scott will start, while Reeves and Cyran will be used in certain relief situations. The Bearsmay struggle, but they still have six returning starters. Nestor, anoutstanding catcher, should keep the pitchers settled. The Golden Bears aren't contenders, but Guetler will coax a few unexpected victories out of them.
Coach: Chuck Struhar, fourth year
1991 record: 10-4 county, 14-7 overall
Returnees: Seniors Lisa Martin (P), Tanissa Dorsey (3B), Kathy McElvey (OF); juniors Lory Wineman (SS), Joy Younce (CF), Donna Snyder (RF); sophomores Karyn Duff (2B), Jodi Kielman (1B), Lauren Doyle (LF).
Newcomers to watch:Juniors Stacey Alexander (OF), Beth Blackert (P); sophomore Robin Ruppalt (C); freshman Susan Geisler (OF/1B).
Coach's outlook: "We'rereal young, but we're in good shape. We're not going to kick the ball around, which will keep us in most games. One problem we have is wedon't have enough seniors."
Howard County Sun outlook: The Gladiators have enough seasoned players. Martin, a tenacious pitcher, is inher third year. Dorsey, who should steal 40 bases and play the best third base in the county, is in her third. Wineman is a third-year starter at shortstop. Among first-time starters, Younce is an outstanding center fielder, Duff looks good defensively at second, and Kielmancould emerge as the league's most dangerous hitter. The biggest question mark is Ruppalt behind the plate. Glenelg is too well-coached not to challenge Centennial for the county title.
Coach: Dave Vezzi, sixth year
1991 record: 11-3 county, 13-6 overall
Returnees: Juniors Terri Townslay (P), Patti Miller (1B), Kerri Semmont (SS), Sharon Ford (CF), Staci Brownley (2B); sophomore Emily Moore (C).
Newcomers to watch: Juniors Ann Walker (3B), Melanie Brandenberg (LF); freshman Amanda Hart (RF).