Local Sports: Softball Preview

March 20, 1996

Teams at a glance


Annapolis Panthers

995 record: 1-17.

Coach: Top players: Darla Stafford, Jr., P; Danielle Tolliver, Jr., C; Jen Ferris, So., SS; Meredith Stewart, Jr., 1B; Jennifer Gerety, So., 2B/RF; Hunter Hammond, Sr., 2B.

Outlook: Day is still trying to build a respectable softball program a school where lacrosse is king in the spring. She doesn't have a good feeder system or players who go to pitching clinics, making it nearly impossible to compete against the powers in the northern and central parts of the county. "I basically get girls who want to play something, and I spend a lot of time just teaching them how to catch and throw," said Day who was the head coach in 1991 when the Panthers beat Southern by one run to end an infamous 90-game losing streak. For the Panthers to have any success this season, Stafford will have hit the corners with her pitches and the defense will have to be very strong. Other players who could help the team are Joy Esterson, Ambur Koreen, Kristen Tenix, Allison Gardiner, Aimee Alton, Melissa McKeever, Julie Smith, Ada Mahoney and Megan Taliaferro.

Archbishop Spalding Cavaliers

1995 record: 18-2.

Coach: Linda Taylor

Top players: Crystal Henderson, Sr., SS; Crystal Ray, Jr., P; Kathleen O'Hara, Jr. P; Zenat Marsani, Sr., 3B; Jacqui King, Sr., OF; Courtney Dixon, IF/OF.

Outlook: Spalding just might be the best team in the Baltimore area for a third straight season under Taylor. The Cavaliers did not start out No. 1 the past two seasons but wound up on top

and are 38-2 over those two years. Spalding has speed and all-around talent in two-time first-team All-Metro shortstop Henderson who hit .619, had four home runs, 21 RBIs and stole 38 bases last season. Then there is the nearly unbeatable pitching of Ray, a second-team All-Metro selection, and O'Hara who were both 9-1 last season, and the team is well-schooled in all the fundamentals of the game. If the pitching or the hitting take a day off, the Cavaliers can win on defense and fundamentals. "We go over hitting the cutoff man and throwing to the right base until the girls get sick of it," said Taylor. "We're a close team on and off the field. We get together for team dinners and things like that. I think it's important to do that."

Arundel Wildcats

1995 record: 10-8.

Coach: Paul Yannuzzi

Top players: Kara Kitchen, Sr., P/1B; Ruth Wilson, Sr., CF; Kristen Daffin, Jr., 2B; Shannon Noon, Sr., SS; Maria Drury, Jr., OF; Marcia Lavin, Sr., 3B; Breanna Kitchen, Fr., C.

Outlook: Kara Kitchen makes the Wildcats a county championship contender with her outstanding pitching skills. She throws a drop and changeup that often catch hitters off-balance because they are more accustomed to seeing mostly fastballs from other county pitchers. Kara, who can also throw hard, will have her sister, Breanna, behind the plate and both players are strong defensively and are good hitters. Breanna hits for power and Kara for average. Wilson is a slap hitter and an excellent defensive player who has already received a scholarship to play at Towson State. Noon is also an outstanding hitter, making Arundel one of the better hitting teams in the county. The Wildcats are especially looking good in preseason indoor workouts. "If we were playing in a league with tennis balls and JUGS guns [timing pitches], we would be tough to beat," said Yannuzzi who coached Severna Park to the state 4A title in 1987 during a six-year stint with the Falcons before coming to Arundel.

Broadneck Bruins

1995 record: 3-13.

Coach: Top players: Susie Conrad, Jr., P; Courtney Wagner, So., P; Angie Shuttleworth, Sr., C; Heather Bonner, Sr., C/IF; Veronica Crawmer, Sr., IF; Jamie Leigh Hughes, Fr., CF; Caitlyn Senkel, Jr., 2B; Suzie Shuttleworth, Fr., P.

Outlook: Three outstanding pitchers, Conrad, Wagner and Suzie Shuttleworth, should make the Bruins a much-improved team this season. Broadneck is also strong behind the plate with Angie Shuttleworth. Hughes is a highly regarded leader and heads up what could be a strong defensive outfield. Conrad hit close to .300 last season and is one of the few proven hitters on the team. Sophomore first baseman Laura Shay is expected to provide some power hitting. "Our biggest challenge is to get the hitters on target," said Moreland who hopes interest in softball at Broadneck is on the rise now.

Chesapeake Cougars

1995 record: 15-4.

Coach: Dennis Thiele

Top players: Tami Barrington, Sr., OF; Jennifer Fowlkes, Sr., C; Lauren Watson, Sr., SS; Niki Carpenter, Jr., P; Missy Silvers, Jr., P; Michelle Henderson, So., P; Angie Zittle, Jr., 2B; Brooke Clyde, So., 3B.

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