New coach likes old tradition

March 17, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The strong North Carroll tradition got a scare in the early going last season when the Panthers got off to an uncharacteristic 1-3 start.

The young Panthers recovered to finish 13-7 and made a fifth straight state playoff appearance.

Phil Bonnell retired after seven years and two state titles. First-year coach Rich Harvey, a Penn State grad who's in his second year of teaching science at North Carroll, inherits a deep, experienced team led by a strong junior class.

"I know of the successful tradition and I'd like to think we can maintain that. It's a great challenge and will be tough to live up to; we'll see what we can do. It looks like we have the girls who can do it," Harvey said.

With the soggy field conditions keeping the Panthers inside for most practices, Harvey isn't completely sure of the Panthers' offensive ability. In the past, the Panthers have prided themselves on defense and that's something Harvey will try to maintain.

"Solid defense is the key to everything. If the other team doesn't score, you can't lose. We'll look to play solid team defense," he said.

Junior returnee Kandi Lippy will again do the majority of the pitching.

Her progress as the season went on last year was a big key in the Panthers' playoff run. Junior Teresa Mays will be behind the plate after playing right field last year. She hit in the middle of the lineup last year and will be looked upon to drive in runs this season.

The Panthers have plenty of depth in an infield that is not yet completely set. Senior Casey Rhoten, coming off a fine basketball season, will provide leadership at second and likely be at the top of the lineup. Junior Jen Rongione is a steady glove at third.

Sophomore Christina Crouse and junior Melissa Wilfong are vying for the starting shortstop position. Crouse started there as freshman last season. Junior Jill Ballard will likely play first base, but may also see time in the outfield. When Ballard is in the outfield, junior Laura Watson will be penciled in at first. Senior Kelli Ryan will be the designated hitter.

Junior Amber Bosley and sophomore Kathleen Tunney will likely start in the outfield with the third spot still undetermined.

"We have a lot of talent back from last year's team and we're still pretty young with only two seniors," Harvey said.

"I didn't see them too much last year, but what I've seen so far this season has been pretty good. I hope we can pick up right where they leftoff last year."

A big void in the outfield is the absence of senior Jenny Baker, a 1993 first-team, all-county selection who is still rehabbing from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last fall.

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