Baltimore County

Softball

March 21, 2001|By Marc Ethier | Marc Ethier,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mount de Sales coach Pete Waskiewicz wants to have a better season than last one. The Sailors (14-13) lost seven one-run games last year; then, in advancing to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final, they lost to Spalding.

This season, the veteran coach has reason for hope in the form of junior first baseman Cynthia Clark, who last year hit .389, with 23 runs, 21 steals and a .627 on-base percentage. Mount de Sales returns six other starters, including the pitching tandem of sophomore Jessica Taylor (1.01 ERA) and junior Mary Ellen Morse (1.29 ERA).

McDonogh (9-10) lost in the regional semifinals to Mount de Sales, and promptly said goodbye to eight seniors, but pitcher Mia Zappacosta (1.37 ERA) returns as a sophomore. Coach Mickey Deegan expects the team to "be in the top three of the A Conference."

Notre Dame Prep (12-3) joins the A Conference for the first time, and rookie Coach Kim McComb - who played for the Blazers in the '90s - knows the road is uphill. But Notre Dame has lost only three seniors from last year's squad and has a powerful infield trio in seniors Liz Hagner (catcher), Georgia Penno (shortstop) and Kristen Tiorico (third baseman).

The Lutheran Saints (17-2) had a tradeoff: They lost six seniors from last year's B Conference title team, but will have six more this season. Most difficult to replace will be all-conference shortstop Nikki Null. But who better to step in those shoes than her sister, Kelley (12-2 record, 0.36 ERA)?

Things are looking up for Mount Carmel (12-12) after an early exit in the regional playoffs. The Cougars have eight returning varsity players, including four seniors: pitcher Sarah Dayberry;catcher Pam Haak; third baseman Tabitha Piorunski; and second baseman/outfielder Sarah Bitter.

Park (10-1) will try to avenge its C Conference title loss to St. Timothy's, but the Bruins enter this season minus their starting outfield (lost to graduation). The team will rely heavily on freshmen.

Arlington Baptist (13-3) lost five seniors but returns five. For coach Liz Byers, everything will depend on the health of senior pitcher Lori Veasel, who has two bad ankles but pitched all the Eagles' games last season.

Towson Catholic (7-3) may see a slip in the C Conference standings this season with the departure of six seniors, including pitchers Kristin Carpenter and Betsy Partilla.

Much of the rest of the C Conference field is fuzzy, managed by first-year coaches who aren't sure of the potential of their teams. Tim Messina of Maryvale (7-8) has 12 sophomores and freshmen, with senior catcher Mulligan Burns anchoring the defense.

Francis Early of St. Paul's has senior infielders Molly Cavanaugh and Erica Hay, but the Gators have spent the majority of practice time working on fundamentals.

Oldfields (3-6) has seven returners, but sophomore Kae Nomura will be the pitcher.

Beth Tfiloh (3-10) will rely on the pitching of junior Lauren Grossman and freshman Lisa Holzman, and the senior leadership of Shoshana Aigus-Kleinman, as coach Allan Kaplan makes the transition from soccer coach.

In the public schools, the team to beat in Division I is Franklin (18-2), just as it has been the past two years. But the county co-champion Indians are vulnerable, having lost seven seniors to graduation. Two freshmen - Tiffany Arnold and Wendy Stahl - will start in the outfield.

Nipping at the Indians' heels is one of the division's top teams, Eastern Tech. With four seniors returning, coach Dave Scrivener says the team is better than in the previous two seasons, when it won almost 30 games. Center fielder Eryn Mathews batted .410 last season, and third baseman was Jaime Stimmel (.375) not far behind. First-team All-County outfielder Shannon Markel rounds out the team.

In 2000, Catonsville enjoyed its most successful season in 22 years by advancing to the state semifinals. And Coach of the Year Bill Nelson returns six starters from that 14-6 squad, including senior pitcher Sara Burns (14-5, 2.75 ERA) and senior all-purpose outfielder Stacy Christie (.547). Still, the Comets lost three of their four top hitters to graduation.

Parkville (11-9) is back after also advancing to the state semifinals. This year the Knights are led by senior pitcher Kris Vlatch (0.90 ERA, 97 strikeouts) and senior catcher Sherri Rauenzahn.

Towson (9-8) has gotten drastically younger over the summer, with the loss of seven seniors. The team has one senior starter, pitcher Jamie Burgess, whose chief experience last year was in relief. Sophomore center fielder is coming off an All-County year, as is second baseman Caroline Gilpin.

Perry Hall (9-9) may have suffered from graduation more than most schools, losing an All-County infield. Senior Tracey Lowe (9-9, 4.20 ERA) will handle the pitching.

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