1998 Baseball And Softball Previews

March 20, 1998|By John W. Stewart

Carroll softball

Carroll Christian Patriots

1997 record: 5-6

Coach: Justin Vander Veur

Top players: Kelly DeWitt, Sr., P; Mickey Kirk, Sr., C; Renee Coglienese, So., IF; Alexis Cole, So., IF.

Outlook: With several holdovers from last year, expectations are to improve.

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1997 record: 3-16

Coach: Joe Linthicum

Top players: Erin Carter, Sr., OF; Amanda Holland, Sr., P; Vallie Lewis, Sr., IF; Erin Norris, Sr., 1B; Amanda Smith, Sr., OF; Sindi Stem, Jr., SS.

Outlook: Holland heads a cast of returning pitchers that includes sophomores Casey Henry and Misti Myers. An improving defense is expected to keep the opposition close. It may have to, though, at least early, because hitting and run production need to improve. Third-year player Stem is expected to anchor the infield and provide an offensive spark, along with returnee Lewis. Carter is a holdover in the outfield after catching her sophomore season.

Liberty Lions

1997 record: 7-13

Coach: Nora Murray

Top players: Tanya Bianca, Sr., 2B; Robyn McCormick, So., SS; Stephanie Wilder, So., C.

Outlook: With six sophomores and a freshman, this team is young -- the 15-player squad has only three seniors. But it's a team with some experience, nevertheless, as well as more depth than usual (33 players turned out). McCormick and Wilder started a year ago. As many as five pitchers have been working, including two freshmen. One, Bethany Hall, made varsity "because she will play," said Murray. "Otherwise, it is more important for the younger ones to play [JV] than to sit on the varsity bench." Growing pains are likely early, but this should be a competitive team that shows improvement.

North Carroll Panthers

1997 record: 17-6

Coach: Rich Harvey

Top players: Becky Carswell, Sr., C; Jen Geiman, Sr., CF; Mary Kaminski, Sr., 3B; Maureen McGuire, Sr., 2B.

Outlook: Four players, all seniors, return from last year's entry that went to the Class 3A state final before losing to Charles County's McDonough, 4-0. However, Harvey has to find replacements for 10 who are not here, and as he says, "It's hard to say how we'll do." The roster is split a little more evenly this time, with five seniors, five juniors, and a sophomore. Geiman is a three-year starter who is solid defensively with a strong arm, and has an ability to get on base. The top pitchers are juniors Katie Mullinix and Angie Smith, both undefeated in JV action. After the Panthers blasted their way through the regionals, 32-3, right-hander Mullinix, who had pitched only one varsity inning all season, protected a one-run lead for the final two innings to get credit for the Panthers' 6-5 state semifinal victory over previously undefeated Franklin and its All-Metro pitcher Kara Wingate.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1997 record: 6-12-1

Coach: Debbie Eaton

Top players: Pam Seymer, Sr., C; Jami Shipley, Sr., OF; Mandy South, Sr., 1B; Kristin Swinimer, Sr., OF; Amy Whalen, Sr., SS; Jessica Wolfing, Sr., 2B.

Outlook: Optimism about improving on last year's record exists, perhaps to .500, thinking buoyed by a strong defense. Although Eaton would have preferred JV experience for freshman pitchers Emily Wolfing and Ashley Taylor, she will use them and junior Crystal Middleton, one of a half-dozen juniors up from the JV. Two other juniors, infielder Melanie Amoss and outfielder Stephanie Wilson, are varsity holdovers. "What we need is to hit -- that's been a recent weakness -- and be aggressive," said Eaton. Of her new pitchers, she pointed out, "They are hard workers, and once they get the jitters out, they will be fine. It's just that they have not had experience against the type of hitters they'll be facing."

Westminster Owls

1997 record: 14-5

Coach: Lisa Harford

Top players: Amy D'Anthony, Sr., SS; Mary Dickensheets, Sr., 3B; Carli Harris, Sr., P; Karen Johnson, Sr., OF; Lizzie Curtin, Jr., 2B.

Outlook: The first four are the only seniors on a squad that is otherwise young and inexperienced. These are the words of first-year coach Lisa Harford, but, as she is quick to add, "We are stacked with athletes, many of them multi-sport. I'm impressed with them academically as well as athletically, and they are quick learners." Harris, a two-time All-County pick in her fourth varsity season, pitched all but five of her team's 132 innings last season (as a sophomore, she pitched every inning of a 14-5 season), going 13-5, with 79 strikeouts, 33 walks, and a 2.48 ERA. Juniors Wendy Hunter and Bridget Sheehy combined for the remaining innings, and Hunter got the other win. They are scheduled to see action, and when they do, Harris, a .322 hitter (holdover leader) with a .507 on-base percentage a year ago, will shift to another position. Johnson is a strong outfielder who hit .291 last season, with four doubles and eight RBI. Among the JV graduates, junior Dani Engles, a speedster who can hit, will start in center field.

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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