Local Sports : Softball Preview

March 20, 1996|By Stan Rappaport

Teams at a glance

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Atholton Raiders

1995 record: overall 16-6, league 9-5.

Coach: Dave Vitagliano

Top players: Holly Gick, So., P; Carolyn Wilson, Sr., CF; Lea Nichols, Sr., SS; Lindsay Gilliam, Jr., 2B; Mandy Robins, Sr., OF; Kerry McWhorter, So., P; Eileen McQueeney, Sr., 1B; Merritt Mauck, Jr., 3B/DH.

Outlook: Among the top players, only Nichols (.305, 20 runs, 12 stolen bases) and Mauck (.348, 17 RBI) batted over .300 last season. "Those people who batted in the .200s last year are going to have to step up and contribute," said Vitagliano. Starting his ninth season, Vitagliano said Gick, who pitched only 16 innings last year, is "going to be one of the top three or four pitchers in the county." McWhorter is the team's second pitcher, but will find a spot in the lineup because of her hitting. "We need to get her bat in the lineup," said Vitagliano, who will coach the softball team at River Hill next season. "It will be weird being on the visitors' side next year," Vitagliano said.

Chapelgate Flames

1995 record: 5-7.

Coach: Jack Meisinger

Top players: Faith Meisinger, Sr., P; Nicole Williamson, Sr., OF.

Outlook: "Our strength is pitching and defense," said Meisinger, whose team moves from an independent last season to a member of the Christian Schools Athletic Association. "We should be very competitive. We only lost two players off last year's team." Also expected to contribute are: Rachael Marriner, Sr., OF; Erin Collins, Sr., IF; Kannah Bonnell, Sr. 2B; Laura Calhoun, So., C; Allison Kirby, So., C; and Heather Davison, Jr., OF. Marriner hit .378 last season before breaking her leg in a home-plate collision. Calhoun and Kirby will share the catching duties.

Centennial Eagles

1995 record: overall 19-3, league 13-1.

Coach: Dale Huting

Top players: tany Deuchler, Sr., C; Jodi Godbout, Jr., SS; Karyn Leinweber, Sr., OF; Lindsay Von Paris, Sr., CF; Michelle Kincaid, So., RF.

Outlook: "I'm very optimistic," said Huting, beginning his 10th season. "I'm looking forward to this season. It's a very cohesive, hard-working group." Hall, a transfer from California, will do the bulk of the pitching. She batted .459 last season and her goal this season is to hit .600. Deuchler will start her third season behind the plate for the defending county champions. Deuchler batted .450 last season with 19 runs, 14 RBIs and six doubles. Godbout batted .370 last season with 24 runs and 12 RBIs. Von Paris hit .320 last year with 12 runs, 12 RBIs and two doubles. Junior twins Kathy and Kristy Mitroka both infielders move up from the junior varsity and are expected to contribute. The Eagles reached the region final last year before losing to Mount Hebron, 2-1.

Glenelg Gladiators

1995 record: overall 16-5, league 11-3.

Coach: Chuck Struhar

Top players: Jessie Lombardo, Sr., 3B; Marni Brown, Jr., P; Pam Goldberg, So., SS; Kristin Hooker, So., 1B; Meghan Goetz, So., 2B.

Outlook: mores, and Struhar said he expects to start all seven of them at one time during the season. But the young Gladiators have the talent to win their third county title (1990 and 1994 were the others) under Struhar. Leading the way will be the team's only senior, all-county third baseman Jessie Lombardo, who hit .354 last year with a team-leading 18 RBIs. "She's one of the best pure hitters we've ever had at Glenelg," said Struhar, who will leave Glenelg after his eighth season to become athletic director and softball coach at Long Reach. The Gladiators also have strong pitching, led by junior Marni Brown, who was 14-5 with 77 strikeouts last year. Brown also batted .433 with three homers and was second on the team with 26 hits. Giving Glenelg pitching depth are sophomore Shana Wyant and juniors Shannon Keeny and Jillayne Smyth. Goldberg hit .361 last season, and Hooker and Goetz each batted .340. "If our pitching holds up and we play good defense, we're going to win a lot of games," said Struhar, named county Coach of the Year last season.

Hammond Golden Bears

1995 record: overall 3-15, league 1-13.

Coach: Jen Petering

Top players: Rebecca Robinson, Sr., C; Jaymi Kim, So., SS; Kim Spalding, Sr., 2B; Adriane Panzera, Jr., CF; Nicole Owe, Jr., P.

Outlook: Petering was getting ready to coach the junior varsity when a week before practice started she found out she would replace Ray McMillan. Despite only three wins last year, Petering said a .500 record is attainable. "I think we'll have a good season. I'm very optimistic," said Petering. Robinson, Spalding and Owe are the only players with varsity experience, and Robinson and Spalding are the team's only seniors. "We're young and inexperienced, but we'll improve as we play together and get to know each other," Petering said. Owe pitched most of the games last season and is the No. 1 starter this year. Junior Shoshannah Beck is the backup pitcher and will play the infield.

Howard Lions

1995 record: overall 7-11, league 6-8.

Coach: Dave Vezzi

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