Team-by-team Capsules

March 24, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1994 record: 8-9. Coach: Joe Linthicum.

Top players: Missy Muller, Sr., 3B; Brooke Sigmon, Sr., CF; Ericka Rutzebeck, Jr., P; Christy Feister, Jr., C; Amy Brooks, Jr., 2B; Pam Lochner, Jr., SS; Tricia Black, Jr., 1B; Amy Layman, Sr., IF.

Outlook: Linthicum has an interesting combination, which could bring success for the Eagles. There's experience re-turning in All-County performers Muller (.428, 11 RBIs in 1994) and Sigmon (.300, 15 runs, 15 RBIs), along with the battery of Feister and Rutzebeck. Three new faces emerge in the infield in Lochner, Brooks and Black. All three played together at the junior varsity level last season. "Our strength is up the middle and that's nice to have," Linthicum said. "Brooke is very good in center and will anchor the outfield. Ericka looks very good and we'll carry the load on her shoulders. She's our thoroughbred and showed a lot of growth last year as a backup to Amber [Smith]. Christy is solid behind the plate. She's picked up right where [former All-County performer] Shelley Smith left off two years ago." Linthicum said the defense should be solid with the new infielders showing a lot of range and doing a good job of keeping the ball in front of them. The Eagles will have some speed on the bases led by Lochner, who likely will lead off. Muller, Sigmon and Feister will hit in the middle of the lineup. Linthicum said the Eagles will have to manufacture runs without a power hitter to clear the bases, putting some pressure on the pitching and defense. "If we don't beat ourselves, we should be OK. Pitching is the key," he said. Becky Knox and Kristy Hollman will see time in the outfield, and Layman adds experience and depth to the infield.

Liberty Lions

1994 record: 1-17. Coach: Nora Murray.

Top players: Charlene Rice, Jr., P; Pam Owens, Sr., OF; Jackie Reitz, Jr., 1B; Kim Robinson, Jr., C; Brigit Becker, Soph., IF; Ashley Meehan, Soph., IF; Candace

Young, Soph., OF; Ashley Davis, Jr., IF.

Outlook: First-year coach Murray is convinced her young Lions are ready to win. The roster consists of one senior with six juniors and seven sophomores. Three players who figure to play important roles have never played fast-pitch and six others are up from the junior varsity team Murray coached last season. What little experience the Lions have is at the right places. It's most noticeably on the mound, where Rice returns after knee surgery sidelined her for most of last season. She came to Liberty her freshman year after living in Anne Arundel County, a softball hotbed. "She's been playing softball for eight years. She's our team captain and we're counting on her to provide guidance for our younger players," Murray said. "Coming from Anne Arundel, she has experienced a high level of competition. She's always around the plate and throws five or six pitches." Surprisingly, Murray said she hasn't had to teach much of the fundamentals, largely because of the athletes she has. Young, a first-team All-County volleyball player last fall, and Becker, a soccer standout, are two of the players new to the sport who will provide speed and athleticism at the top of the Lions' lineup. "We have a lot of team speed and plan to steal some bases," Murray said. "Hopefully, teams will throw the ball around some and other times we'll turn singles into doubles. We haven't had that luxury here at Liberty for some time." Reitz and Robinson, a three-year varsity player, will hit behind the Lions' speed up top with Owens and Davis adding experience.

North Carroll Panthers

1994 record: 11-7. Coach: Rich Harvey.

Top players: Kandi Lippy, Sr. P; Jill Ballard, Sr., 1B/OF; Teresa Mays, Sr., C; Jen Rongione, Sr., 3B; Christina Crouse, Jr., SS; Becky Bosley, Soph., OF.

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