Coach of the Year
Nora Murray, Liberty: The pre-season outlook reported early growing pains for this team, but one that will show improvement. Despite a team batting average under .200, and a team that, said the coach, made 48 errors in its first three games, Murray guided the Lions to a 10-8 record, with regional wins over South Carroll and county champion North Carroll before a final-round loss to Damascus. Over the season's last month, the errors decreased markedly as the young group began to play as a team. Down the stretch, the coach started two seniors, a junior, four sophomores and two freshmen. Although Murray has been around the Liberty program for 10 years, she has been the coach only the last four. Along the way was a college start at Lock Haven, a job, and finally coaching, after being persuaded to go back and get her degree from Towson University.
Player of the Year
Jen Geiman, North Carroll: One of four seniors returning from the school's state Class 3A final entry of a year ago, she helped lend stability to a young team. "There was hardly any pressure, though, because this was a whole new group," she said of the season. "We really blended well." The Panthers were 4-1 in the county, 13-4 overall. Geiman was second on the team in hitting, .333, and led the county in runs scored with 22. She often set herself up to score, as she topped the county in going 14-for-14 in stolen bases. "I love to steal," she says, "but you have to get on first. I worked on my hitting." Her speed and strong arm helped her gain recognition as the best defensive outfielder in the Central Maryland Conference, where she was a two-time first-team selection. A three-year varsity regular, she is a two-time All-County choice. She was also an All-County first team volleyball selection.
The first team
Amber Back, Liberty, senior, pitcher: She was her team's acknowledged leader, as she brought confidence with her every time. She led the county with a 1.22 ERA, indicative that her 5-4 record reflected the problems her team had behind her. She had 49 strikeouts and 17 walks. In the regional semifinal, she pitched a four-hit, 3-0 victory against North Carroll. Her side got only two hits, but used three errors, as well.
Katie Mullinix, North Carroll, junior, pitcher: Mullinix not only brought a strong arm, but a solid bat (.294) to her first full varsity season. Backed by an undefeated JV season, and a win in her only varsity appearance a year ago (last two innings of a 6-5 win over Franklin in the state semifinals), she got off to a 4-0 start, and wound up 9-2, collecting the most wins in the county. Her 56 strikeouts were second only to Carli Harris, and her 1.56 ERA in 64 innings was third. The biggest win was a two-hit 5-1 win over Central Maryland Conference champion Thomas Johnson (she also had a double) in the 3A West regional quarterfinals, reversing an earlier loss.
Pam Seymer, South Carroll, senior, catcher: er: She was extremely solid on offense and defense, where she had a strong throwing arm. There was a .354 batting average, with 17 hits in 17 games, and a particularly effective presence behind the plate in helping the team's young pitchers. Freshman Ashley Taylor (7-4) was one who improved with every game. The team finished 9-8.
Meagan Tracey, Francis Scott Key, junior, catcher: Another who was strong offensively and defensively, she had three hits in her last six at-bats to raise her batting average to .400, and two RBIs in that stretch gave her a county-high 20 for the year. She did a good job handling a young pitching staff that helped the team win four of its last six regular-season games and reach the semifinals of the Class 2A West regional. She was 15-for-19 in throwing out would-be base stealers.
Mandy South, South Carroll, senior, first base: The team captain, she batted .417 as a cleanup hitter, with five doubles and a triple. Her 17 RBIs were second-best in the county. Afield, she had three errors to go with 106 putouts.
Jessica Wolfing, South Carroll, senior, second base: The county batting leader with a .442 average, she had 23 hits, and stole six bases. Afield, she handled 52 chances.
Mary Dickensheets, Westminster, senior, third base: Dependable and consistent, she played every inning of the Owls' 17 games, making only three errors. As a hitter, she batted .360, and struck out only six times.
Mary Kaminski, North Carroll, senior, third base: A two-year standout in the field, she was the county leader in triples with four, and ended with a .304 batting average. She missed hitting in only four of 17 games, twice being stopped by Westminster's Carli Harris.
Meredith Gill, North Carroll, junior, shortstop: stop: She led the team with a .377 batting average and scored 18 runs, second in the county to teammate Geiman. She was 7-for-7 in attempted steals. Playing every inning, she showed good range in the field, making practically all the plays (she was charged with two errors), whether routine or spectacular.