Multi-sport standouts ready to take the field Westminster foursome leaves basketball behind, but not winning ways

Softball preview

March 23, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Westminster softball coach Scott Tobias was in Gaithersburg earlier this month cheering on a number of his players.

Practice had started the week before, but Lauren Henry, Courtney Wunderlich, Kim Frame and Ashley Van Doren had something else on their minds -- basketball.

"I told them we'll worry about one state title at a time," he said as he sat in the stands watching the Owls came away with a thrilling 52-50 win over Watkins Mill in a region semifinal.

The basketball season came to an end the next game in the region final and it was time to trade in sneakers for spikes. Coming off a solid 14-5 season that included a county championship, Tobias and the Owls should make a significant run to the state tournament.

There are a number of other two- and three-sport standouts closing out the school year on county diamonds.

The Owls standout pitcher, junior Carli Harris, won a state title in the fall on Westminster's undefeated field hockey team as a first-team all-county defender.

Francis Scott Key sophomore Sindi Stem helped lead the Eagles to their first state basketball title as the team's point guard. Now, she's anchoring the Eagles infield at short. Joining her is senior Nicole Keffer, who won basketball and volleyball state titles.

Liberty senior shortstop Brigit Becker helped the soccer team to a state title in the fall at her midfield spot.

Other senior standouts closing out stellar high school careers are North Carroll catcher Becky Bosley, a two-time first-team XTC All-Metro goalie in field hockey; Liberty center fielder Candice Young, a three-time all-county volleyball player; and South Carroll shortstop Michele Mitchell, a standout forward on the soccer team.

Eight of the 12 first-team all-county softball selections from last year are back.

"I think the level of talent throughout the county has increased in the last couple of years," said North Carroll coach Rich Harvey, who has two of the county's eight first-teamers back. As defending county champs, Westminster is the team to beat, but North Carroll and Liberty have a ton of experience and the Cavaliers are a couple of consistent hitters away from being competitive.

Other teams to watch can be found in Eldersburg, where Liberty has experience galore, and in Uniontown, where Key coach Joe Linthicum has a rare surplus of underclass pitchers to replace the graduated Ericka Rutzebeck. The Lions have three seniors playing their fourth season on varsity and another three-year starter. The Eagles have three pitchers on varsity.

Central Md. Conference

Frederick County's Thomas Johnson is once again the team to beat in what should be a very competitive Central Maryland Conference. The Patriots, who reached the state tournament last spring, finished with an 11-1 mark in CMC play to win their fourth straight conference crown.

It was the Owls (10-2 in the conference) who gave them the biggest challenge last year. Coming off an impressive win against North Carroll in the final week of the regular season, the Owls appeared primed to knock off the Patriots in Westminster. But the Patriots were impressive in a 6-0 win.

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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