Teams at a glance

March 20, 2000|By Stan Rappaport

Atholton Raiders

1999 record: 17-2 overall, 17-1 league

Coach: John Zitko

Top players: Katie Zitnay, So., P; Sarah Costa, Jr., C; Tiffany Mathis, Sr., CF; Jessica McDonagh, Sr. SS.

Outlook: After going 17-1 to earn the county championship, the Raiders' season ended in a first-round playoff game when Howard scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to win, 4-3. "That was real disappointing," Zitnay said. The Raiders have seven returning starters and are determined to play longer into the postseason. While Zitko said "it's possible" his team could go unbeaten in the county, "our major goal is to make the state tournament." Zitnay, last season's county Player of the Year as a freshman, and Costa give the Raiders a strong battery. They both hit .492 last season. The left side of the infield -- McDonagh and sophomore third baseman Stacy DeFino -- returns, as does center fielder Mathis (.464 average). Sophomore first baseman Kelly Kemp and right fielder Aubrey Barrett also return. Sophomore Karen Lee takes over at second base, and sophomore Michelle McDonagh will start in left while junior Julie Frostbutter recovers from mononucleosis. Senior Jen Poston also will contribute, as will freshman Collette Pond. "I think this year's team is stronger then last year's team," Zitko said.

Centennial Eagles

1999 record: 10-11, 8-10

Coach: Dale Huting

Top players: Jenn Roberts, Sr., 1B; Laura Angle, Jr., LF.

Outlook: With 12 of 14 players returning, the Eagles should be much improved. "We have quite a bit of experience; it's just a matter of putting it together on the field," Huting said. "I'm confident we'll be competitive. I feel good about this group." Roberts and Angle were second and third, respectively, on the team in hits last season. Juniors Melissa Boone and Laura Gaudio return to start at catcher and center field, respectively. Senior Kristen Meekins will again start at second base. Junior pitcher Amanda Hall, whose knee injury limited her to only three games last season, is back and healthy. Junior Rebecca Decesare, who pitched most of last season, will be in right field when Hall's on the mound. Juniors Jackie Case and Sandy Palacorolla and senior Jessica Barrett are competing for the shortstop and third base positions. Junior Emily Walton and senior April Taylor provide depth in the outfield.

Chapelgate Flames

1999 record: 13-7, 2-2

Coach: Steve Kunkel

Top players: Hope Meisinger, Jr., P; Liz Moraz, So., C; Emily Brundage, Jr., 1B; Carly Fyfe, Jr., 3B.

Outlook: The Flames will play 14 league games this season in the more competitive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Division. Chapelgate, which was Silver Division runner-up in last season's state private schools tournament, returns six of nine starters. But last year's top player, shortstop Laura Starsoneck (.563 average) has decided to concentrate on basketball and will not play. Kunkel said the Flames' defense and pitching are solid and that there is more depth then a year ago. Sophomore Gillian Wrightson has looked good at shortstop, according to Kunkel. Other players that will contribute include: Alyson Wrightson (Sr., CF), Betsy Fouke (Fr., OF), Liz Blackwell (Fr., OF) and Jackie Hodge (So., 2B). Kunkel will start one senior, two juniors and the rest sophomores and freshmen.

Glenelg Gladiators

1999 record: 7-14, 6-12

Coach: Dean Sheridan

Top players: Nicole Barnoski, Sr., C; Lauren Koutrelakos, Jr., SS; Amanda Stranquist, Sr., 2B/LF; Shannon Emerson, Jr., P.

Outlook: Emerson played left field and was the No. 2 pitcher last season behind Stranquist. This season, Emerson, who batted .458 last year, will start on the mound. Sheridan said the left-hander has looked good. "She's not overpowering, but when she throws the ball well she has a little hop in it and that helps," Sheridan said. The Gladiators have seven seniors, including Melissa Krause (3B), Erin Hollrah (RF) and Kelly Ryan (1B/DH). Koutrelakos, a first-team All-County pick last season, led the team in batting (.424), hits (25), runs (18), stolen bases (26) and walks (20). Stranquist's move off the mound will solidify the defense, which needs to make smarter decisions this season, Sheridan said. "That hurt us last year," he said. "We were trying to win games giving four outs instead of three." Sheridan said he would "be happy to turn last season's [county] record around" this season, but added the Gladiators "might be better than that."

Hammond Golden Bears

1999 record: 1-20, 1-17

Coach: Scott Farrow

Top players: Tara Zammichieli, So., SS; Sarah Murray, Jr., P; Laura Erdman, Jr., C; Abby Keller, Jr., CF.

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