1998 Baseball And Softball Previews

March 20, 1998|By John W. Stewart

Carroll baseball

Carroll Christian Patriots

1997 record: 10-6

Coach: Matt Brethauer

Top players: Paul Albaugh, Sr., CF; Mark Elban, Sr., 3B; Jeremy Voelkel, Jr., OF; Rusty Evans, So., P/1B.

Outlook: Defending the Mason-Dixon Christian Conference championship is expected to be a tough task with the loss of four of the team's top five hitters. Five starters return, though, and Albaugh (.417, 19 RBI), Elban (.330, 14 RBI), Mike Craig, and Sam Lieb will be counted on to supply the offensive punch, along with Voelkel (.387). The defense should be solid, with freshman Corey Green slotted for an infield position, as Brethauer works on replacing graduates Casey Davis and Josh Belcher. Evans (5-1, .435) heads a pitching staff of a senior, two sophomores, and two freshmen.

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1997 record: 7-14

Coach: Bob Reese

Returners: Victor Caudill, Sr., RF; Danny Johnson, Sr., 3B; Joby McCrobie, Sr., C; Larry Naill, Sr., CF; Tom Redmond, Sr., P/1B; Chris Roop, Sr., SS/2B; Vince Stonesifer, Sr., 1B/P.

Outlook: Seven senior veterans who had some impressive games a year ago bring enthusiasm and spirit, as well as talent, to the field. "They like the game; they like each other; they're having fun; and I enjoy the practices," Reese reported. The holdovers provide a solid nucleus. Naill is the fastest and has the strongest arm. Stonesifer, an All-County choice, swings a consistent bat in addition to being the No. 1 pitcher. Last year, despite being hurt a lot, he hit .462 (.488 in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League), had 15 extra-base hits, including 11 doubles, and drove in 22 runs. Redmond proved an excellent backup, and when Stonesifer was out, Redmond hit about .400 and pitched some in relief. "We're going to take the best athletes and find places for them," Reese said.

Liberty Lions

1997 record: 21-3

Coach: Steve Insley

Top players: Adam Downes, Sr., 3B; Mike Lamont, Sr., 1B; Nate McCullough, Sr., OF; Shaun Rausch, Sr., C; Tom Seiss, Sr., SS.

Outlook: Seven of the first nine on last year's state Class 3A championship team were seniors, so the seven returning players did a lot of sitting but will have to carry the load this spring. Rausch, a three-year starter and team captain, is the leader. Two years ago, he led the team in hitting with a .467 average. Last year, in the regionals, he went 3-for-3 with an RBI in a 6-1 win over South Carroll and hit a two-run homer in a 13-5 decision over nemesis Thomas Johnson, which had handed the Lions two regular-season defeats. Now, "young and inexperienced" is the story, although some of the newcomers have talent. Two veterans are sidelined with injuries, but junior Wes Peters is expected back later this month, and junior Bryan Bandy, next month.

North Carroll Panthers

1997 record: 3-15

Coach: Denny Snyder

Top players: Todd Asplen, Sr., 1B; Guy Sheetz, Sr., 3B; Craig Wyatt, Sr., P; Scott Young, Sr., OF; Chadd Lettau, Jr., C/P; Rick Lamm, Jr., P/OF; Mark Campbell, So., SS

Outlook: A late win over Westminster last spring may have been the catalyst to get this year's team off to a good start. It was the team's first county win and had the players wondering why they had not played like that all season. Later, the the team played well in a regional loss to Damascus. "The players remember. That's our motivation," Snyder said. "We're cautiously optimistic." As co-captains, Asplen and Sheetz are looked to for leadership. Last season saw Snyder start three sophomores and a freshman, which was frustrating for everybody at times. That, too, may have changed. "This is a good group. A lot of them played in summer leagues; others spent some time working on (( their skills. In the classroom, they're doing the job. On the field, their efforts are showing. They see the potential. They need to see something positive -- to get some confidence.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1997 record: 10-8

Coach: George Richardson

Top players: John Norris, Sr., C; Kevin Damiano, Jr., P/OF; Jason Tourangeau, Jr., P.

Outlook: "You can manufacture runs. You can't manufacture outs. That means you have to make the routine plays," says Richardson, in his first year as head coach after a year as an assistant. Last year, the Cavaliers started 8-0, but as Richardson expressed it, "After that, every error became magnified because we were not hitting the ball." Aside from the chief holdovers above, a fourth, senior Brian Alsruhe, who would have been the starting shortstop, is out with a dislocated kneecap, the result of VTC a kick-boxing accident. The first two catchers, Norris and senior Jesse Martin are injured, so sophomore Gary Harrison, normally an outfielder, has been working at the position. Although a number of pitchers are being tested, the result probably will be a rotation of Damiano, Tourangeau and junior Brandon Woodward.

Westminster Owls

1997 record: 14-7

Co-Coaches: Scott Tobias, Jim Rodriguez

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