All-metro Softball

June 07, 2006

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kaila Jenkins

Severna Park, pitcher

The senior pitcher closed out an illustrious career with a final season that typified her four years at Severna Park: overpowering stuff on the mound, a quick and potent bat that often carried the offense, and an overwhelming desire to compete and succeed.

The repeat Player of the Year and a four-time All-Metro first-team selection enjoyed a record-breaking season in taking the No. 3 Falcons to the Class 3A state title game. She went 20-5 this season with a 0.42 ERA and program-best 327 strikeouts. Her 68 career wins and 988 strikeouts set Anne Arundel County records.

She batted .462 with 27 runs and 25 RBIs, collecting 36 hits to become the state's all-time leader with 142.

Jenkins hit .457 for her career with 105 RBIs and 87 runs, leading the Falcons to a state title in her freshman year and two runner-up finishes. This spring, Jenkins and the Falcons captured their second straight Anne Arundel County title and third regional crown in her four years.

Set to play at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College next spring, Jenkins' last high school outing - a 1-0 loss in eight innings to defending state champion Huntingtown in the finals - was perhaps her finest this season.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Don Ellenberger

Chesapeake-AA

With a talented group of freshmen joining an already-young squad, the Cougars' fifth-year coach wasn't sure how soon his group would be ready to play in the highly competitive Anne Arundel County league.

Starting four freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and just one senior, Chesapeake started strongly and kept on winning. The Cougars ended up just one inning away from winning the Class 4A state title, falling to C. Milton Wright in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"We had the freshmen and they all played a decent level of summer ball, but playing 14-and-under compared to going up against 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids is a little different, so we weren't sure how we would be," said Ellenberger, who is 96-21 at Chesapeake with two state final appearances. "Everybody accepted the freshmen, saw they could play and the answers came real quick."

In going 23-3 overall, the Cougars won Anne Arundel County's regular-season title with a 14-2 mark, captured Archbishop Spalding's Cavalier Classic tournament and worked their way out of the demanding East regional to qualify for the state tournament. Ellenberger said the team's success wouldn't be possible without the dedication and expertise of assistant coaches Don Collins, Tom Owen and Joe Thomas.

FIRST TEAM

Cynthia Foster

C. Milton Wright, outfield

The junior left fielder took her game to a higher level to become a major contributor to the Mustangs' impressive run to the Class 4A state championship.

Foster had 38 hits, including 11 for extra bases, to finish with a .475 batting average -- up 169 points from her sophomore year. Hitting fifth in C. Milton Wright's lineup, she scored 31 runs, drove in 24 and had a .750 slugging percentage.

In her two varsity seasons, Foster has six home runs and 21 extra-base hits.

Sound defensively, she didn't commit an error in the 25 games she started in left field.

Lauren Gibson

Chesapeake-AA, pitcher

With the ability to impact a game in a number of ways, Gibson made an impression that was both immediate and lasting, as the freshman was the catalyst in the Cougars' run to the Class 4A state title game.

She went 15-2 with a 1.42 ERA, posting wins over several ranked opponents, including Severna Park, Glen Burnie, Northeast and Catonsville. Batting third, she led the Cougars in seven offensive categories, including batting average (.533), RBIs (42), runs (40) and hits (47).

Her speed and aggressiveness on the bases -- she finished with 16 steals and took the extra base at every chance -- put constant pressure on opposing defenses.

Michelle Grap

Centennial, shortstop

No player in Howard County hit the ball harder or farther than Grap, who led the No. 9 Eagles (16-4) in six offensive categories. The junior hit .493 with six triples, four homers and 17 RBIs. She also scored 22 runs and had six doubles.

The three-year starter and team captain also had fine range to go with a strong and accurate arm in covering plenty of ground at shortstop

Amy Guyton

Long Reach, pitcher

Her fine four-year career ended with a stellar senior season that earned her Howard County Player of the Year honors and the Lightning its first county title.

Guyton was equally impressive on the mound and at the plate. She finished the season at 18-4 with a 1.08 ERA and 176 strikeouts to just 13 walks. Guyton batted .449 with 27 runs and 20 stolen bases. Her 59 career wins and 641 strikeouts are both school records.

Katie McCauley

C. Milton Wright, catcher

The senior standout was considered one of the most feared hitters in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.

The Harford County Player of the Year set single-season program marks in hits (44) and extra-base hits (15) and tied the home run record (seven).

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