Teams at a glance

March 20, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham

Annapolis Panthers (1-16)

Coach: Joy Eskochen

Outlook: The Panthers are building for the future with a young and untested cast. Junior 1B Christy Kehoe is the only returnee in the infield. Junior Kerra Strum will handle the pitching chores. Sophomore CF Rischelle Charles will try to provide a leadoff spark with quickness and good bat speed. Other key contributors will be OF Lindsey Redlin and SS Kim Schmalfuss. Two freshmen -- 2B Liz Vandendrisfche and 3B Katie McAteer -- are keys to the future. At lacrosse-happy Annapolis, Eskochen is looking for ways to find interest in softball. "We have to create some kind of interest out of season," she said. "I can't teach them everything in two months. It has to come within the community along with the program and it's not going to happen overnight."

Arch. Spalding Cavaliers (25-7)

Coach: Linda Taylor

Outlook: After sweeping the Catholic League and also winning the Independent Schools State Championship last spring, the Cavaliers look to have the firepower to maintain those lofty standards. The Cavs, now competing in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, have all the necessary ingredients. It starts on the mound where sophomore Jessica Saunders (7-2, 0.13 ERA) closed out her freshman season as one of the county's most dominant pitchers. All-County OF Christine Sheridan (.470, 30 RBIs) will miss the first part of the season with a broken wrist, but the Cavaliers have plenty of offense to carry the load. Cowen will likely lead off with senior C Bridget LaPorte and senior 1B Jen Datz the top run-producers. Junior 2B Tine Ryals also supplies key hits with junior OF Amanda Collins, a transfer from Chesapeake, and freshman INF Kerri Lounge expected to make instant contributions. "Offensively, we're strong with a lot of power and a little more speed. Overall, this team has a lot to offer," Taylor said.

Arundel Wildcats (19-3)

Coach: Paul Yannuzzi

Outlook: The Wildcats had graduation losses in key areas, most notably their four-year battery of P Soraya Grace and C Bre Kitchen. So Yannuzzi will rebuild around the team's strengths -- junior SS Alexis Viera the starting point -- and take a wait-and-see approach. Viera hit .373 with 18 RBIs and 16 runs scored and only committed two errors last season. Other key returnees are 3B Emily Walther and OF Abria Queen. Junior Sara Kriger, a control pitcher who went 5-0 in eight games last year, will lead the staff with senior Jeannie Dierker taking over behind the plate. "I'm pleased with the group. We've got some talent, but it's too early to tell," Yannuzzi said. "If anything holds us back, it may be a lack of hitting. We have more speed, so we'll try to run a little more."

Broadneck Bruins (10-11)

Coach: Jim Ware

Outlook: The Bruins have six starters back from the end of last year, a special player in base-stealing catcher Bryn Weller and one big question: Who will do the pitching? Senior Kelli Phlueger and sophomore Jessica Gignac will share the duties left behind by graduated four-year starter Suzie Shuttleworth. "They don't have overwhelming power, so we'll have to see how crafty they can be to keep batters off-balance," Ware said. Offensively, the Bruins will manufacture runs -- a trademark of the left-handed Weller, who hit .500 last year with a county-high 32 steals. Senior Meg Atkinson covers a lot of ground in center with Katie Henschel, a four-year starter in right. Shuttleworth also was the big bat in the middle of the lineup last spring, something Ware hopes junior 1B Lauren Esterson can provide this year. Sophomore SS Lindsey Woody and junior 2B Samantha Seyfferth give the Bruins solid play defensively up the middle.

Chesapeake Cougars (15-5)

Coach: Don Bishoff

Outlook: Bishoff, who takes over for longtime coach Dennis Thiele, has two out of three areas covered. The Cougars return two experienced throwers in Erin Taylor and Katie Nelson and have their infield set, led by 3B Kristen Bishoff, the coach's daughter. The outfield is a question mark. With graduation losses and the transfer of Amanda Collins to Spalding, the Cougars will have an entirely new outfield. Candidates include underclassmen Cindy Miller, Nikki Leonardo, Ashley Becker, and Heather Spoon. Kristen Bishoff (.360, 13 runs 12 RBI) leads a balanced attack on offense. "I look for Erin and Katie to keep us in games. We have a good defensive infield and have the lineup to score some runs. We just need three kids to make the routine play in the outfield," Bishoff said.

Glen Burnie Gophers (8-9)

Coach: Bob Broccolino

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