Spalding has to knuckle down at start

No. 1 Cavs face quick test in softball vs. Seton Keough


March 24, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Spalding Cavaliers and their No. 1 ranking in the preseason softball poll will get an immediate test this afternoon.

The Cavs will open their Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference schedule against No. 5 Seton Keough at 3: 45 at Randazzo Park.

Last season, the teams split two regular-season games before Spalding had the final say with a 2-0 win in the Catholic League championship game.

The same two standout pitchers from that game -- Spalding sophomore Jessica Saunders and Keough senior Kristin Dulay -- will likely be throwing today.

"This is very important because it sets the tone for the beginning of the season," said Spalding coach Linda Taylor. "Keough is one of the strongest teams in the league and we have a lot of respect for their program."

While the teams' pitching and defense may offset each other, the Cavaliers' explosive lineup could be the difference. Meghan Cowen, Bridget LaPorte, Jen Datz, Amanda Collins and company combine speed and power with the ability to scratch for runs or score them in droves.

Looking for progress

Old Mill first-year softball coach Steve Morgan doesn't have the luxury of easing into his new position this spring.

The Patriots opened the season yesterday against No. 6-ranked Severna Park and then will face No. 7 Glen Burnie, No. 4 Chesapeake, No. 2 North County and No. 3 Northeast in the first two weeks.

Morgan, the program's JV coach last year and a longtime recreation coach, wants to establish a winning tradition in Millersville and expects to be competitive this season while the Patriots build for the future.

"This is a building block for next year and the years after," said Morgan. "We'll be proud to walk on the field and proud when we walk off. And the players will enjoy the season. We'll have our ups and downs, but when it's over, we'll be able to say we accomplished a lot."

On center stage

Arundel junior guard Jill Marano will get a chance to display the skills that earned her Anne Arundel Player of the Year honors last week.

Marano is one of 60 non-senior high school players from around the East Coast selected to participate in tomorrow's The Madness Shootout at Villanova University.

The showcase, which goes from 1 to 6 p.m., includes two full games for each player, along with a number of other competitions, including a three-point shooting contest and one-on-one games. Dinner with WNBA players will close out the event.

Anywhere from 100 to 150 college coaches are expected to be in attendance.

This season, Marano led the Wildcats to their second Class 4A state championship. She averaged 15.8 points a game -- shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line. She handed out 5.3 assists and had 4.5 steals.

Other Baltimore-area players participating tomorrow will be Katie Nelson (McDonogh), Esther Ehrmann (Roland Park), Keisha Blackwell (Seton Keough), LaTonya Blue (St. Frances) and Lillian Drumgold (Western).

Lacrosse gauge

An early measuring stick in girls lacrosse will come this afternoon at Broadneck, where the No. 11 Bruins play host to No. 5 Severna Park at 5: 15.

Both teams are expected to figure prominently in the county race and the Class 4A-3A East region, where two-time defending state champ Annapolis, ranked third, and No. 8 South River also should play big roles.

Today's game will feature two of the county's top transition players in Severna Park's Meg Miller and Broadneck's Rachel Shuck.

All-Metro Monday

A special All-Metro section for high school winter sports will be published Monday, March 27. The section will highlight the top athletes and coaches in boys and girls basketball, wrestling, and boys and girls indoor track and field.

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