Anne Arundel County


March 21, 2001|By Edward Lee

As much as the crack of a bat has been an annual rite of spring, so, too, has been the tidal wave-like might of Archbishop Spalding.

Like the waves that consistently batter the shores, the two-time defending Independent Schools state champion Cavaliers simply reload year after year in their quest to be the premier softball program in the state.

Although Archbishop Spalding graduated seven players from last season's 27-0 squad, coach Linda Taylor has a solid foundation built around the pitching prowess of junior right-hander and All-Metro Player of the Year Jessica Saunders (17-0, 0.27 ERA and 200 strikeouts).

First-team All-Metro second baseman Keri Lounge (.372 batting average, 24 RBIs) and second-team All-Metro third baseman Meghan Cowen (.427, 24 runs) help buoy the Cavaliers' hopes of repeating as state and Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference titlists.

St. Mary's, which enjoyed an 11-5 campaign and a third-place finish in the regular season in its first foray in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference, returns the entire lineup from last season. Senior third baseman Jaime Gentilcore (.511) and senior right-handed pitcher Katerina May are the leading returners for coach Marilyn Sherrane.

In the words of North County coach Bobby Boyd, the "road [to a county championship] probably goes through Glen Burnie." The Gophers, who finished 17-4 and captured the county title, lost just three players to graduation.

The first-team All-Metro pair of senior third baseman Christina Bounelis (.424, 15 runs, 14 RBIs) and junior shortstop Tina Willis (.362, 22 runs) power Glen Burnie.

The Gophers' biggest threat to repeating as county champs is North County, which defeated Glen Burnie in the Class 4A East Regional final en route to claiming the Ferndale school's first state championship.

First-year Knights coach Bobby Boyd will depend on two first-team All-Metro choices - junior first baseman Heather Frye (.442, 17 runs) and daughter and junior right-hander Brittany Boyd (13-2, 0.85 ERA, 135 strikeouts) - to create more magic.

Another challenger is Northeast, which went 20-5 as the 3A East Regional champion before losing to Damascus in a state semifinal.

The Eagles, who won a state title two years ago under coach Marianne Shultz, are paced by first-team All-Metro right-hander Rachel Herrick (11-5, 0.89 ERA, seven shutouts) and senior third baseman Stephanie Adams.

At Chesapeake, the Cougars will deal with the graduation of four starters and a season-ending rotator cuff injury to sophomore outfielder Heather Spoon. Coach Don Bishoff will rely on senior left-hander Katie Nelson (10-2, 1.00 ERA) and senior first baseman Kristi Ellenberger to bolster a squad that went 16-6 last year.

Graduation hit hardest at Severna Park, where the Falcons lost 10 players who had significant playing time. Coach Jeff Shepherd hopes two-time first-team All-Metro center and Maryland recruit Lauren Pollock (.440, 16 runs, 14 RBIs) and junior right-hander Laura Gibson can help Severna Park improve on last season's 16-9 mark.

Arundel's top players from last season's 12-9 team include a couple of right-handers in senior Sara Kriger and sophomore Kristi Forrester. Wildcats coach Paul Yannuzzi will sprinkle five sophomores and a freshman into the mix at first and second base, shortstop and the outfield.

South River returns 12 players from a 9-9 campaign. But Seahawks coach Fred Brocklander's main worry is the durability of sophomore right-hander Jessica Sinkule, who is the varsity team's lone pitcher.

The mound is a source of concern at Broadneck, where coach Jim Ware will send two sophomores to face opponents. A pair of seniors in first baseman Lauren Esterson and second baseman Theresa Zoolakis will try to alleviate some of the pressure with their defense and their bats.

Coach Steve Morgan is continuing the rebuilding process he started last year at Old Mill. The Patriots' 5-12 mark was a first step, but Morgan believes having the senior pair of catcher Liz Corbett and first baseman Megan Rosser among eight returning starters should provide a solid base for improvement.

For the first time in coach Terri Green's four-year career, Southern of Harwood, which finished 3-14 last year, is blessed with a wealth of pitching. Junior right-hander Erin Metz will continue to be the team's ace, but will receive plenty of support from senior right-handers Lindsey Parks and Kelly Ingle.

Annapolis continues to build for the future under coach Joy Eskochen, while first-year coach Joyce Wills assumes the reins at Meade.

Annapolis Area Christian enjoyed an 8-7 mark in its inaugural season of varsity softball, but the Eagles may be hard-pressed to repeat with the graduation of six players. Coach Michael Hall will lean on a pair of freshmen pitchers in Cortnie Higgins and Christine Linehan.

Players to watch

Brittany Boyd

(North County, junior, pitcher) Also produced at the plate with 17 RBIs and 11 runs scored

Jessica Saunders (Archbishop Spalding, junior, pitcher) Boasts a 24-2 record in a two-year span

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