Preseason Top 15

Softball

March 21, 2001

1. Archbishop Spalding

Last season: 27-0, ranked No. 1

Skinny: With two first-team and two second-team All-Metro players in the fold, the Cavaliers are primed for a run at their third straight Independent Schools state championship.

2. North County

Last season: 19-4, No. 2

Skinny: With the school's first Class 4A state crown under its belt, can the Knights overcome the graduation of five starters and stage a drive to a repeat? 3. Glen Burnie

Last season: 17-4, No. 3

Skinny: If any team has the firepower to challenge North County, the Gophers, the reigning Anne Arundel County titlists, may fill that role.

4. Northeast

Last season: 20-5, No. 4

Skinny: Playing the likes of Glen Burnie and North County has hardened the Eagles' drive to reclaim the Class 3A state championship they won in 1999.

5. Atholton

Last season: 22-4, No. 6 Skinny: Is this the year the two-time reigning Howard County champs etch their names as one of the area's best?

6. Chesapeake-AA

Last season: 16-6, No. 5

Skinny: A young roster that includes four sophomores and three freshmen disguises the Cougars' experienced battery of pitcher Katie Nelson and catcher Sara Vogt.

7. Mount de Sales

Last season: 14-13, unranked

Skinny: The Sailors return seven starters from a lineup that dropped a tough 3-0 decision to Archbishop Spalding in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference Tournament final last year.

8. Severna Park

Last season: 16-9, No. 8

Skinny: Graduation cost the Falcons 10 players, but a junior-laden roster has the necessary experience to pull off a few surprises.

9. C. Milton Wright

Last season: 18-1, No. 9

Skinny: With staff ace Laura Siler back on the mound, the four-time defending Harford County titlists will march into the season looking for solid production at the plate.

10. Inst. of Notre Dame

Last season: 16-10, No. 10

Skinny: The Indians hope to offset the graduation of All-Metro second baseman Jamie Clingan with the return of eight players from last year's squad.

11. Westminster

Last season: 13-5, No. 11 Skinny: The battery of pitcher Nichol Moeller and catcher Casey Brengle should help the Owls challenge perennial powerhouse Thomas Johnson for the Central Maryland Conference crown.

12. Centennial

Last season: 15-6, unranked

Skinny: The Eagles return a solid supporting cast -- seven starters -- that could challenge Atholton for a county title.

13. Catholic

Last season: 11-6, No. 12

Skinny: The Cubs hope the return of pitcher Kelley Tiesi can help them erase the memory of a first-round loss in the IAAM A Conference Tournament last year.

14. River Hill

Last season: 16-5, No. 13 Skinny: The Hawks, who tagged Atholton with two of their four losses last season, should make it a three-horse race in Howard County.

15. Franklin

Last season: 18-2, No. 7

Skinny: Can the Indians overcome the graduation of seven players from last year's Baltimore County co-championship roster?

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