Baltimore City

Softball

March 21, 2001|By Derek Toney

The chase for second begins.

With Archbishop Spalding once again looking formidable in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, the focus will be which team finishes second. Catholic and Institute of Notre Dame are expected to be in a spirited battle along with Mount de Sales and McDonogh.

Western has had a tight grip on the Baltimore City league for nearly a decade. Nothing much should change heading into the spring as the Doves are hoping to become the first city squad to advance to the state semifinals.

Bryn Mawr will be playing in the IAAM B Conference after the spending last spring in the A Conference. The Martians will be looking to rebuild with one returning starter - junior shortstop Jessica Ayd.

Friends coach James Brown thinks his team is ready to challenge in the B Conference with five starters returning. The Quakers' hopes will rest of the arm of Gettysburg-bound Molly Kastendieck.

After a season in the B Conference, Roland Park moves down to C this spring. In a completely new situation, Reds coach Mary Hain is cautiously optimistic about the team being competitive.

In the city league, Carver (11-4) enjoyed its first postseason trip last spring. With seven starters among eight returnees, the Bears figure to be a contender in Division II.

City (9-4) enjoyed a successful season with a freshman-oriented squad. Five sophomores will be among six returning starters. The Knights will have sophomore Dominique Allen looking to replace the graduated Erica Branch on the mound as they challenge Western in Division I.

Douglass (4-10) return three seniors in Shanlay McCellam (shortstop), Tanisha Davis (center fielder) and Lauren Evans (pitcher), but coach Rodney Cofield will have a lot of newcomers. The Ducks will play in Division II.

Dunbar (10-4) expects to have several members of its Class 2A state title basketball squad to help replace six graduated starters. Despite many newcomers, coach Kevin Furlow said the Poets should be able to contend in Division II.

Edmondson has a new coach in Wanda Jefferson, and will be competing in Division I. Damon Bomar takes over the coaching reigns at Lake Clifton. Bomar will depend on seniors Lashadona Nero, Asia Hightower and Tyra Foster to lead the Lakers in Division II.

Mervo will be looking to turn its fortunes around with senior shortstop Shamika Hawks and basketball standout Tobie Ashley. The Mustangs will play in Division II.

Northern has 10 players back and a new coach in Reggie Smith replacing Beverly Grant. The Vikings, who have only one senior (center fielder Angela Chase), will compete in Division I.

Northwestern (13-1) has six returning starters including senior pitcher Emma Miranda. Coach Tyrone Hayden thinks the pieces are in place for a run at a second straight Division II title.

Patterson (4-10) is hoping to be improved behind the arm of senior Natalie Harris. The Clippers will have six starters back among nine returnees as they compete in Division I.

Poly (8-11) will have four seniors returning But pitching and overall experience could be a problem. The Engineers will be in Division I along with Western and Southern-Baltimore.

After a disastrous two-win campaign in 1999, Southern-Baltimore (11-3) returned to form last spring. Shannon Collins, Deborah Cookson and Kelly Smith return for the Bulldogs, who will look to a host of freshmen and sophomores to assist in challenging Western for supremacy in Division I.

Southwestern (6-4) returns junior Jessica Wheeler (third baseman) and sophomore Carrie Maenner. Coach Bernie Leneau thinks this could be his best squad, which will play in Division I. Walbrook coach Landon Saunders hopes his team can be competitive in Division II.

All roads in the city league Division I will again end at Western. The Doves, which lost to Dulaney, 3-2, in the 4A North Regional semifinals, return six starters among 11 returnees.

Heather Delair (.543, 24 RBIs, 34 runs scored) emerged as one of the area's top performers last spring. Ace pitcher Erika Butler has added a couple of pitches from the off-season. The Doves will play Dulaney and Parkville during the regular season, a prelude to the 4A North Regional tourney.

After playing in the Maryland Christian Athletic League last spring, Greater Grace (6-5) will play as an independent. Sophomore catcher Amber Kirk was an All-MCAL pick last season.

The IAAM A Conference will again be the area's best league, with Archbishop Spalding as its overwhelming favorite. But several squads could be right there if Spalding slips.

Catholic's pursuit will rest on the arm of junior Kelley Tiesi. Tiesi comes off a 10-5 season, in which she had a 0.68 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 113 innings. After a muscle strain kept her out of the postseason, Tiesi is back at full speed.

Megan McAuliffe, a second-team All-City/County infielder, returns along with five other starters for the Cubs, who lost to Mount de Sales in the opening round of the playoffs last season.

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