2008 All-Metro softball teams

June 04, 2008|Sun staff

Player of the Year
Lauren Gibson, Chesapeake-AA

The junior standout was once again at her best when it counted the most, leading the No. 1 Cougars to their second consecutive Class 4A state championship with a second straight no-hit performance in the title game. In repeating as the All-Metro Player of the Year, Gibson, who has made an oral commitment to Tennessee, enjoyed another stellar season on the mound, at the plate and on the bases.

She went 17-2 with a 1.23 ERA, striking out 165 batters in 120 innings. Gibson batted .500 with 34 runs, 29 RBIs and eight homers. She also put constant pressure on opposing defenses with 16 steals and a knack for taking the extra base when provided.

Gibson was in complete control in the Cougars' 7-0 win over Sherwood in the title game, as only a fifth-inning walk prevented her from throwing a perfect game. Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said one of Gibson's biggest attributes is the mental approach she takes to the big games.

"She sees the bigger picture and knows once it comes down to crunch time when we are going into the playoffs ... when it comes down to winning those last five games of the year, she's going to make that happen. It's always: 'Give me the ball,' " he said.

Gibson, a first-team All-Metro selection in each of her three years, takes a 50-7 record into her senior year.

Coach of the Year
Paul O'Brien, Archbishop Spalding

The Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference appeared wide open going into the season, largely because the top four teams from last year had lost their pitchers to graduation. The No. 2 Cavaliers took hold early and never let go, finishing with a 17-1 mark that included a 14-0 league record.

The team's 6-0 win over Institute of Notre Dame in the championship game typified its season-long excellence. The Cavaliers got a one-hit pitching performance from junior Elaine Nescio, played flawless and proved opportunistic on offense.

O'Brien, who took over as coach last year after spending seven seasons at St. Vincent Pallotti, had his team ready to play at a high level every time out with a good understanding of his players' strengths and an emphasis on the fundamentals. He was quick to credit the emergence of Nescio, strong leadership from his seniors and a coaching staff (comprised of Kristin Scharek, Michael Gleason and Neal Herrick) that meshed well. O'Brien has a career mark of 165-63 in his nine seasons at Pallotti and Spalding.

First team

Lisa Bilski, Fallston

An outfielder in her first two seasons on varsity, Bilski moved to shortstop out of necessity in her senior year and looked right at home.

Batting third, Bilski hit .492 with 26 runs and 20 RBIs, compiling 11 extra-base hits --including five homers.

Bilski, who will play at Villa Julie, had a banner week late in the regular season when she went 9-for-16 and cleanly fielded all 16 chances in the field as the Cougars (14-7) went 4-0 in Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference play.

Kelly Hickman, Chesapeake-AA

The junior second baseman came through in a big way during the No. 1 Cougars' playoff run to their second straight Class 4A state championship.

Hickman hit homers in two straight East regional playoff games -- a two-run shot in a 3-0 semifinal win over Arundel and a three-run shot to open the scoring in a 10-6 win over Broadneck in the final.

In her third varsity season, Hickman batted .453 with 28 runs and 20 RBIs in the cleanup position.

She finished with five doubles, four homers and three triples, and was versatile in the field, also playing third base and first base.

Nicole Lowenstein, John Carroll

The senior catcher was in a class by herself behind the plate, closing out a stellar four-year career with All- Metro first-team honors for the second straight year.

Lowenstein, who will play at Seton Hall next year, batted .473 with 20 runs scored. Perhaps her most telling statistic was a .743 on-base percentage; it came with the help of 32 walks, most of which were intentional.

A captain and a fine defensive catcher, Lowenstein was tough to steal on, allowed just three passed balls, and worked well with first-year starting pitcher Katie O'Hara.

Elaine Nescio, Archbishop Spalding

Replacing four-year standout Stephanie Weigman, the junior pitcher proved she was more than up to the task in leading the No. 2 Cavaliers to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship.

Nescio tossed a one-hitter in a 6-0 win over Institute of Notre Dame in the title game, highlighting a 15-1 season that included a 0.70 ERA with 176 strikeouts in 110 innings. Nescio batted .314 with 11 RBIs and committed one error.

Jennifer Rindone, Archbishop Spalding

One of the major concerns going into the season for the Cavaliers was replacing the graduated talent that comprised the middle of their lineup last season. Enter Rindone.

In her first season as a starter, the junior left fielder was inserted into the cleanup spot and thrived.

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