1998 All-Baltimore City/County softball team

May 28, 1998|By LEM SATTERFIELD AND KEVIN ECK

Player of the Year

Suzanne Smith, Mount de Sales, senior, outfielder: In her four years at the Mount, Smith has seen the Sailors go from 0-17 her freshman year to Catholic League tournament champion this season. Through it all, her outstanding play has been the one constant. A four-time All-Catholic League pick and a three-time All-City/Baltimore County first team selection, Smith hit .486 for her career. Batting leadoff for the Sailors this season, Smith hit .338 and led the team in slugging percentage (.534), on-base percentage (.475), runs (21), triples (five) and stolen bases (13). She also had 19 RBIs (second on the team) and seven assists with no errors in center field. Smith played the final six games at first base and did not commit an error. She has received an academic scholarship to UMBC, where she plans to major in sports medicine.

Coach of the Year

Brian Radcliffe, Perry Hall: Coming into this season, question marks surrounded the Gators, who were coming off a 7-12 finish in 1997, did not have a proven pitcher and were laden with sophomores (including four starters). But Radcliffe guided Perry Hall to a surprising 12-4 record and a tie for second place in Baltimore County Division I. Radcliffe stressed the fundamentals with a particular emphasis on base running and bunting. His efforts produced a team adept at manufacturing runs. With no fastpitch recreation leagues in the Perry Hall area, Radcliffe also encouraged his players to compete on a travel team in the summer to better prepare them for competition in Baltimore County's most competitive division.

The first team

Sandy Birchfield, Eastern Tech, senior, pitcher: Birchfield established herself as the dominant pitcher among Baltimore County public schools this season. She went 12-3 with a 1.89 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 85 innings, allowing 45 hits and 19 walks. Birchfield, a repeat first-team pick, also was one of the county's top hitters, as she batted .545 with a .727 on-base percentage, 13 doubles and 32 RBIs.

Leah Clelland, McDonogh, junior, pitcher: Clelland, the metro area's leader in strikeouts, gave the Eagles a good chance to win every time she took the mound. Pitching in the competitive Catholic League, she she went 12-6 with a 1.54 ERA and three shutouts, although she lacked of run support at times. Clelland, also a first team pick last season, struck out 174 and walked just six in 122 innings.

Missy Farrell, Franklin, junior, outfielder: er: Farrell used superb quickness to cover a lot of ground in center field. She also used her speed on offense, routinely reaching on infield hits. Farrell batted .477 (second-best on the team) with a team-high 16 stolen bases in 16 attempts. She scored 21 runs and had three doubles and three triples.

Sara Harman, Franklin, junior, infielder: Her solid defense and improved hitting contributed to the Indians winning the Baltimore County Division I regular-season title. Harman batted .458 with 15 RBIs (second on the team), 20 runs and two triples. At first base, Harman committed just one error.

Kristen Heaney, Institute of Notre Dame, senior, catcher: Heaney's leadership and all-around skills helped to keep the Indians in Catholic League contention. She batted .354 and led the team in RBIs (20), doubles (five) and triples (two). Heaney threw out 14 of 29 attempted base stealers and did a fine job handling IND's two pitchers.

Jen Johnson, Catonsville, senior, infielder: She was perhaps the best fielding shortstop among Baltimore County public schools as well as one of the top hitters. Johnson, a second-team selection last season, hit .489 with a .600 on-base percentage and led the Comets in runs (24) and RBIs (26). She also made just one error. Johnson will play for Western Maryland next season.

Missy King, Franklin, junior, infielder: One of several tough outs in the Indians lineup, she led Franklin in batting (.520), RBIs (26), runs (23), doubles (five), triples (five) and home runs (3). Although she suffered occasional defensive lapses at shortstop, King also made several spectacular plays.

Kerry Poisal, Mount de Sales, sophomore, outfielder: She played a key role in helping the Sailors go from contenders to Catholic League tournament champions. Poisal, who played both left and center field, had an outstanding season at the plate and in the field. She batted .500 with six doubles, two triples, one home run and 17 RBIs and had eight assists. Poisal was the Sailors' best clutch hitter, as well, with four game-winning hits.

Jaala Palmer, Franklin, senior, utility: Third base was Palmer's regular position, but Indians coach Rick Wiscott used her as a catcher in big games. Possessing a strong arm, opposing teams rarely attempted to steal with her behind the plate. Palmer, also a first team pick last season, missed several games due to knee injuries, but still batted .368 with 12 RBIs.

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