1998 Softball Preview

March 24, 1998|By Kevin Eck and Elliot Shapiro

Baltimore County

Arlington Baptist Eagles

1997 record: 2-7.

Coach: Liz Byers

Top players: Lori Veasel, Fr., P; Becky Allen, Sr., SS/Inf; Erin Moore, So., C; Candice Moon, So., 1B; Jocelyn Johnson, So., 1B/Inf.

Outlook: The Eagles return a still young but more experienced team than last season. Coach Byers is optimistic that with strong defense and pitching, this could be a competitive team.

Beth Tfiloh Warriors

1997 record: 5-8.

Coach: Jennifer Gmeiner

Top players: Dodi Vogel, Sr., C; Edie Meyerson, Sr., 1B; Aimee Norsoph, So., P; Jackie Fuchs, So., 3B; Toby Zelt, SS., Jr.

Outlook: With the talent on this team first-year Coach Gmeiner hopes to win close games the Warriors couldn't win last year and reach the .500 mark.

Carver A&T Wildcats

1997 record: 11-3

Coach: Steve Watts

Top players: Jessica Fowler, Sr., SS; Corinne Williams, Sr., Inf.; Angela Burgess, Sr., Inf.

Outlook: In the county's new two-division alignment -- 16 teams in the the stronger Division I and seven in Division II -- the Wildcats almost certainly will not match last season's record, when they competed in the now-defunct Division III. Carver A&T graduated the heart of its lineup, but should be sound.

Catonsville Comets

1997 record: 8-11

Coach: Bill Nelson

Top players: Jen Johnson, Sr., SS; Lauren Rosenberger, Jr., P; Dani Remeikis, Sr., C.

Outlook: After a rebuilding season last year, Nelson believes the Comets could be among the top four teams in the county. Seven starters return, including Johnson, a second-team All-City/County selection, who batted .600 last season. Rosenberger started every game last season.

Chesapeake Bayhawks

1997 record: 2-12

Coach: Sandy Altadonna

Top players: Gina Bish, Sr., P; Candace Butterworth, Sr., SS; Amy Tucciarella, Sr., 3B; Jessica Dobrochowski, Jr., 2B.

Outlook: After struggling in Division I last season, the Bayhawks were moved to the weaker division, where they figure to be competitive. The infield appears to be the strong point of the team, which returns six players.

Dulaney Lions

1997 record: 12-5

Coach: Mourine White

Top players: Patty Snow, Sr., 1B; Shannon Truxel, Sr., 3B; Jody Costa, Sr., LF; Laura Twardzik, Soph., 2B; Chrissy High, Jr., C.

Outlook: White, an assistant with the Lions the past two seasons, takes over for longtime coach Elaine Lindsay, who stepped down after nearly 30 years. Dulaney, perennially one of the top teams in the county, returns five starters and again

should be in the race for county and region titles. Snow, a first-team All-City/County pick, is a standout offensively (.400 average, .636 slugging percentage) and defensively (116 putouts, no errors).

Dundalk Owls

1997 record: 6-10

Coach: Debbie Henkel

Top players: Nicole Manning, Sr., 3B/2B; Debbie Post, Sr., OF; Laurie Keatts, Jr., OF/Inf.; Jessica Langston, Jr., 1B.

Outlook: The Owls could be a team to watch in Division II. Henkel believes the team is adequate offensively and defensively. Whether the Owls get consistent pitching out of senior Leah Cropper, however, will largely determine how successful they are.

Eastern Tech Mavericks

1997 record: 14-6

Coach: Marian Klein

Top players: Sandy Birchfield, Sr., P; Jessica Maffei, Sr., C; Dawn Eisley, Sr., 1B; Jennifer Schmidt, Jr., 2B; Stephanie Bragg, Soph., 3B/OF, Amy Wallner, Jr., OF.

Outlook: Of the top county teams last season, the Mavericks are the only one to return their starting pitcher. Birchfield, a first-team All-City/County pick, was 8-4 with a 1.07 ERA last season. She also led the team in hitting (.534) and RBIs (24). She forms the county's best battery along with Maffei (.345, 21 RBIs). Six starters return overall.

Franklin Indians

1997 record: 18-2

Coach: Rick Wiscott

Top players: Missy King, Jr., SS; Jala Palmer, Franklin, Sr., 3B; Missy Farrell, Jr., CF; Corinne Whitehead, Sr., 2B; Sara Harman, Jr., 1B.

Outlook: Pitcher Kara Wingate, the two-time All-City/County Player of the Year, has graduated, but the Indians are still loaded. The void left by Wingate should be capably filled by left-handed sophomore Jen Fried. Franklin, which has appeared in the state semifinals the past two seasons, has an infield that remains intact, an outfield that is probably the best in the county and a hitting attack that should making opposing pitchers nervous.

Garrison Forest Grizzlies

1997 record: 4-5.

Coach: Nick Burns

Top players: Jen Zienty, Sr., P/SS; Ali Hirsh, Sr., 1B; Sommer Brooks, Sr., OF; Rachael Deckelbaum, So., P/SS; Keeley Cullen, Jr., P/C; Betsy Brannon, So., OF; Holly Sutton, Jr., 2B.

Outlook: With eight of 10 starters (including DH) returning, the Grizzlies look to be in contention for the AIS B Division title. They have a balanced lineup top to bottom and a solid infield and outfield.

Hereford Bulls

1997 record: 11-7

Coach: Sam Bowen

Top players: Sarah Warner, Jr., 2B; Annie Ernst, Jr., SS; Natalie Cardone, Sr., OF; Kerri SHannon, Sr., OF; Jackie Harper, Jr., C; Melissa Mueller, Jr., OF.

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