Carroll County

Softball

March 21, 2001|By Rich Scherr

In Carroll County softball, the theme is change, with three new coaches among the five public school teams.

At Westminster (13-5), assistant Bryan Shumaker takes over as coach, and has a strong returning nucleus from last year's Central Maryland Conference runner-up with which to work. A trio of juniors leads the way in No. 1 pitcher Nichol Moeller, who started most of the games a year ago; catcher Casey Brengle, a strong-armed cleanup hitter; and second baseman Sharon Bowen, an exceptionally quick leadoff hitter.

Francis Scott Key (12-6) should again have a top team with the return or its pitchers, senior Meredith Carter (9-3, 1.33 ERA) and junior Lauren Wilder (3-2, 3.03), as well as infielders Kelly Miller and Sarah Stambaugh and catcher Ashley Norris.

Though the Eagles lost eight to graduation, including their entire outfield, they expect to contend with Middletown, Catoctin, Smithsburg, Walkersville and South Hagerstown in the powerful Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

North Carroll, which won 14 games a year ago en route to a trip to the region semifinals, graduated its starting battery and three other position players, but should have enough weapons to again challenge.

Leading the way is All-County second baseman Trish Brown and right-handed pitcher Angie Springer. Third baseman Danielle Martin, out all of last season with an injury, and second baseman Valerie Mathis, who batted over .400, also should be key cogs.

Liberty, as well, has a new coach, with assistant Lee Kestler taking the helm. Kestler inherits a young team that graduated eight starters, and that may have to scratch and claw for runs.

The Lions are led by three-year varsity pitcher Lindsey Rankin as well as four-year varsity member Amber Frantz (outfield, utility); senior Kate Magaw (second baseman); and utility player Stephanie Hartman, who had one of the best bats on the team last season as a freshman.

Volunteer assistant Charlie Fazenbaker takes over at South Carroll, where he served as head coach for eight years in the 1980s. He'll try to turn around a team that suffered through a disappointing 2000 season, but which has plenty of tools with which to win.

They include All-CMC third baseman Emily Wolfing and All-CMC center fielder Jamie Janowich, as well as top pitcher Ashley Taylor, a right-handed senior.

Carroll Christian (8-5), led by sisters Becky and Hannah Wike, should hit the ball with authority. If the Patriots get pitching, they could well improve on last season's mark.

Players to watch

Casey Brengle (Westminster, junior, catcher) Carroll Player of the Year hit .453 last year and caught 27 of 29 runners attempting to steal

Trish Brown (North Carroll, senior, second baseman) Two-time All-County pick has steady glove and potent bat (.357, 7 RBIs)

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