1994 All-metro Softball Team

June 09, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko

COACH OF THE YEAR

* Val Cooper, Bel Air -- The Bobcats entered the season ranked No. 15 and filled with hope. The previous year, they had won 14 games, shared the Harford County championship with Edgewood and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1987, losing in the regional final. It was time to take the next step, and Cooper made sure they didn't stumble. Bel Air finished the season 19-2 -- including a 16-game winning streak -- and ranked No. 11. Only an unearned run in the ninth inning against Mount Hebron kept the Bobcats from advancing to the 3A state final in their first appearance in the tournament since 1979. "The big difference was the girls," said Cooper, who concluded her eighth season at Bel Air. "They were more mature and I knew -- and they knew -- what they were capable of doing. I like to keep things simple, but with their maturity and experience I was able to go up a notch in teaching them things. With their experience, things should come instinctively. I tell them, 'Don't think, react,' and you can't react if don't have that experience." Cooper also credits assistant coaches Marlene Campbell and Sherry Hruz for the team's development.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

* Jodi Kielman, Glenelg -- Glenelg's athletic department could rename its softball record book "The Jodi Kielman Story," since her name appears throughout the publication. Kielman ended her brilliant three-year career in typical dominating fashion. She launched six home runs and half of her 40 hits went for extra bases, including a school-record six triples. She also set the school mark for RBIs in one season with 38 (she ranks first, second and third in RBIs in Glenelg history). And there's more. She also posted a .615 average, scored 28 runs and stole 24 bases, as the Gladiators claimed the Howard County championship. What more could she have done? "You can't say enough about Jodi," said coach Chuck Struhar. "She's just an absolute 100 percent softball player." That includes defense. She made just three errors in 178 chances at first base. "This year was actually kind of annoying. People weren't pitching me that good," said Kielman, who will attend Catonsville Community College. "I got hit quite a few times, and I walked quite a few times. I just had to be more patient this year and wait for a good pitch." Her career records at Glenelg include most RBIs (96), home runs (12), doubles (27) and triples (14). She ranks in the top three in runs (85), steals (65) and walks (35). Kielman, who will play this summer for Lake Shore, hopes the records "will encourage others to come along and break them."

FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE

* Kristan Ehrman, IND, Jr., DH -- A second-team All-Metro pick last year, Ehrman came through in a big way for the Indians this spring, leading them in hitting (.452), home runs (five), triples (three) and RBIs (28). Showing a keen eye at the plate, she struck out just twice. "She's a very intelligent player," IND coach Sandy Altadonna said. "She's quiet, but through her silence she's a real tower of strength."

* Amy Finlayson, Bel Air, Sr., pitcher -- Harford County's Player of the Year, Finlayson led Bel Air into the 3A state tournament by going 16-2 with a 0.42 ERA and a metro area-leading 186 strikeouts in 131 innings. She struck out 25 in two regional playoff wins, despite a swollen right ankle. Finlayson also led the Bobcats with a .433 average and knocked in 19 runs. She struck out once all season. She had three of Bel Air's five hits against Mount Hebron in the 3A state semifinals.

* Julie Green, Dulaney, Sr., pitcher -- Green, a left-hander, went 16-2 with a 0.76 ERA and 155 strikeouts to lead Dulaney to the Baltimore County championship. The only blemishes on her record were two one-run losses. Selected as the county's Player of the Year, Green also batted .362 with a .523 on-base percentage. She led the Lions in hits (25) and runs (30) and had five doubles.

* Crystal Henderson, Spalding, Soph., infield -- Henderson led Spalding in hitting for the second straight year, but this time the numbers are even more impressive: a .552 average (32-for-58) with 31 runs, 32 steals and 13 RBIs. She committed just three errors playing both second base and shortstop, as the top-ranked Cavaliers went undefeated and won the Catholic League Tournament.

* Jaime Long, Chesapeake-AA, Sr., infield -- Last year's metro Player of the Year didn't slack off as a senior. She batted .360 (41 hits) with seven doubles, three triples, 15 RBIs and 13 runs. As a part-time pitcher, she won six games and posted a 0.81 ERA, walking five and striking out 54 in 60 innings. And she made just two errors in 54 chances, mostly at shortstop.

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