2002 All-Metro Softball Team

Sun staff

Player of the Year: Christine Sheridan, Archibishop Spalding

In her fourth season on the varsity team, Sheridan continued to get better with age. After batting. 341 with 16 RBIs last season, the senior elevated her numbers to a new level this year.

Sheridan hit .542 (32-for-59) with three home runs, three triples and three doubles. The Anne Arundel County Player of the Year drove in 20 runs, scored 26 times, stole 10 bases and struck out only four times.

As the Cavaliers' starting shortstop for the past three seasons, Sheridan boasted a .902 fielding percentage this year, committing just four errors. Her work laid the foundation for top-ranked Spalding (18-6) to capture its second Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship in three years and its 12th IAAM/Catholic League title in 13 years.

The Cavaliers also won the Maryland State Private Schools Tournament every year Sheridan played on the team. Her bat and base-running instincts should help Sheridan, a second-team All-Metro selection the past three seasons, reach higher plateaus at East Carolina University, said her coach, Linda Taylor.

"I think she cranked it up another notch," she said. "I can only see her being more successful."

Coach of the Year: Bobby Boyd, North County

If it's true that coaches make the toughest decisions, then Boyd made perhaps the most difficult -- but also beneficial -- decision this season. After the Knights edged No. 4 Glen Burnie in extra innings in the Class 4A East regional final, Boyd approached his daughter Brittany about relinquishing her starting pitching duties to make way for freshman Beth Mullins. Brittany Boyd, a senior who was a member of North County's 2000 state championship squad, readily agreed, and the Knights grabbed their second state title in three years.

It was that kind of forethought from Bobby Boyd that helped shape North County's ascent from a three-way tie for third place in Anne Arundel County to the pinnacle of the state tournament. Noticing that the team's mechanics at the plate were slumping, Boyd -- a former minor-league pitcher in the Angels organization -- relegated the pitching machine to the sideline and ordered the players to hit off a tee to hone their hand-eye coordination, and practice hitting in the opposite direction. And while some squads may have wallowed in the despair of not winning a county crown, Boyd & Co. focused on a larger goal.

"We didn't put much emphasis on the county championship," Boyd said. "Sure, it would've been nice to bring home the school's first county championship and have bragging rights in the county, but we wanted bragging rights in the state."

First team

Meghan Cowen, Archbishop Spalding

Of the third basemen who have come through the Cavaliers' program, Spalding coach Linda Taylor calls the senior the best she has coached. She backed up the assessment with a .954 fielding percentage.

As the team's leadoff hitter, Cowen got 27 hits in 67 at-bats for a .403 batting average. She had four doubles, two triples and a home run, stole six bases and struck out only five times. An All-Metro selection for the second consecutive year, Cowen also drove in 12 runs and scored 18 times. As a pitcher, she accumulated an 8-1 record with a 0.22 ERA and two no-hitters.

Cowen will play at the University of Pennsylvania next season.

Danielle Devereux, Glenelg

Former coach and current assistant of the Gladiators Dean Sheridan calls the junior the fastest player he has coached in 25 years.

Devereux used speed to her advantage. While batting a robust .508, Devereux stole 36 bases and wasn't thrown out this season. She scored 24 times and drove in 18 runs. Devereux struck out only three times and drew nine walks, giving her a .600 on-base percentage. Her fielding percentage of .969 included just one error as the team's starting center fielder.

All three of Devereux's assists occurred at home plate, giving her 10 assists in three years. She is just two assists shy of tying the school career record.

Heather Donhauser, Fallston

The No. 3 Cougars (20-2) reaped their second consecutive Harford County championship and a Class 3A North regional crown by riding the right arm of the junior pitcher. Donhauser compiled a 12-1 record with a 0.39 ERA. She went the distance in 12 of the 13 games she pitched, registering a no-hitter, three one-hitters and five shutouts. She struck out 107 and issued just 10 walks.

At the plate, Donhauser had .348 batting average, a .449 slugging percentage and a .458 on-base percentage. She scored 13 times and drove in eight runs. A second-team All-Metro choice last season, Donhauser added three stolen bases to her three doubles and two triples.

Megan Ellzy, C. Milton Wright

Revisions are already underway for the Mustangs' record books after Ellzy completed her four-year career. The senior batted .339 with 22 runs scored and 20 RBIs. With three doubles, two triples and a home run, Ellzy recorded a .500 slugging percentage; she also drew 20 walks and stole nine bases. As the starting center fielder for No. 15 C. Milton Wright (17-5), she enjoyed an .857 fielding percentage with six assists and only four errors.

Ellzy will leave the program among the best in several career statistical categories: second in runs scored (82) and walks (64), third in hits (80), fourth in doubles (11) and 10th in RBIs (53).

Lindsay Ettinger, Chesapeake-AA

It's fair to say that the fifth-ranked Cougars (19-3) would not have established a perfect 16-0 mark in Anne Arundel County league play without the services of the junior pitcher.

Ettinger went 16-2 with a 0.65 ERA. What's amazing is that nine of the 18 runs scored against her occurred in extra innings when the international tiebreaker rules placed a runner at second base at the start of every inning.

Striking out 127 and walking just 10 in 128 2/3 innings, Ettinger pitched a no-hitter and nine complete-game shutouts. Opponents batted just .143 against her.

Heather Frye, North County

Whenever the No. 2 Knights (21-5) needed a hit, Frye provided. The senior compiled 36 hits in 76 at-bats for a .473 batting average, and drove in 27 runs and scored 19 times. She hit seven triples and five doubles this season, and struck out only four times. In her three-year varsity career, she struck out eight times.

Frye performed even better in the state tournament, where she batted .625 (5-for-8) with nine RBIs and three runs scored to power North County to its second Class 4A state crown in three seasons.

As a right fielder, Frye enjoyed a .974 fielding percentage with eight assists and just two errors. The two-time All-Metro choice plans to try out for Towson University next year.

Ashley Gray, Institute of Notre Dame

The Indians' revival from 11-15 in 2001 to 19-7 and the area's No. 6 ranking this season revolved around the sophomore pitcher. Gray pitched every inning of every game for IND, striking out an area-best 210 batters in 179 innings and collected a 0.51 ERA. She completed 10 shutouts and issued only 29 walks. Gray's totals in victories, strikeouts, ERA and shutouts are single-season school records.

The Baltimore City/County Player of the Year was just as proficient with her bat, hitting .307 and slugging .440. Gray drove in 16 runs with four doubles and two home runs. Her totals in hits, RBIs, home runs and doubles led the team this season.

Keri Lounge, Archbishop Spalding

Balls hit to the right side of the infield barely had a chance with Lounge staking her presence there. Unafraid to dive for a ball, the junior second baseman built a fielding percentage of .972.

Lounge also had success offensively, batting .392 (20-for-51). Along with the three home runs, three triples and four doubles, Lounge drove in 28 runs and scored 16 times. Her discipline at the plate contributed to pitchers striking Lounge out only nine times this season.

This is her third straight selection to the All-Metro team.

Kate Marchant, Dulaney

For pure power, no one exhibited batting prowess like Marchant. The junior hit .567 (38-for-67), and accumulated a .597 on-base percentage and an eye-popping 1.001 slugging percentage. As the cleanup hitter for the Lions (15-4), she hit six home runs, six doubles and three triples. Marchant drove in 38 runs, scored 30 times and struck out just six times.

Her batting average and slugging percentage are the highest in the seven years that Mourine White has coached Dulaney. A versatile athlete who could play second or third base, Marchant had an .833 fielding percentage in right field with just one error.

Ashley Martin, North Carroll

Opponents quickly learned that the most dangerous bat on the seventh-ranked Panthers (18-5) was usually held by the senior. Martin batted .429 with seven triples, three doubles and a home run. She drove in 20 runs and scored 18 times, garnering Carroll County Player of the Year honors. As the team's starting third baseman, she recorded a .950 fielding percentage after committing just four errors.

Martin was selected to the All-Central Maryland Conference first team for the second time in her two years of varsity play. Martin, who paced North Carroll to its 10th state final appearance, will continue her softball career at Frostburg State University.

Jessica Saunders, Archbishop Spalding

Blessed with a power game to overwhelm opponents, Saunders delivered the control to refine her style. The senior pitcher cut down on the number of wild pitches and compiled an 8-1 record. Saunders didn't allow a single earned run all season. Striking out 101 in 61 innings, she also had a .986 fielding percentage.

At the plate, Saunders finished with 20 hits in 58 at-bats for a .345 batting average. She drove in 14 runs, scored 15 times and hit three triples and three doubles.

Chosen to the All-Metro team for the third consecutive season, Saunders will play softball at Caldwell College (N.J.).

Jessica Taylor, Mount de Sales

Taylor was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season for the Sailors. Hampered by a string of injuries that prevented her from pitching, the junior contributed as the starting first baseman. Taylor excelled at the position and didn't commit a single error in 72 attempts.

Taylor also demonstrated her strength with the bat, hitting .361 with a .550 slugging percentage and a .475 on-base percentage. She drove home 21 runs with four home runs, four doubles and two triples, and she struck out just five times. Taylor, a three-year varsity starter and two-year team captain, was a second-team All-Metro choice last season.

Melissa Tewey, Northeast

The catcher sealed her four-year varsity career with an exclamation point. The senior set school career records in hits (118), RBIs (80) and doubles (22). Generally regarded as one of the best hitters produced by the Eagles (16-7), Tewey batted .521 (37-for-71), driving in 22 runs and scoring 18 times. She recorded seven doubles and two triples and stole eight bases.

Defensively, she threw out seven of the 10 runners who tried to steal on her. A second-team All-Metro choice last season, Tewey will play softball at Anne Arundel Community College next year.

Katie Zitnay, Atholton

Few players have been as consistently good as Zitnay. The senior was named the Howard County Player of the Year for the third time for leading the No. 11 Raiders to their fourth straight county championship. As a pitcher, Zitnay enjoyed a 19-3 record with a 0.46 ERA and 77 strikeouts. She walked only 21 and was error-free in 73 attempts.

Zitnay's bat was just as intimidating: She hit .458 with 33 RBIs and 27 runs scored. She also tallied three home runs, six triples and four doubles.

Zitnay ended her high school career as the all-time leader in Maryland public school history in RBIs (118) and pitching victories (78). This is Zitnay's third consecutive selection to the All-Metro team.

Second team

Name School Class Position

Laura Canton C. Milton Wright Sophomore Pitcher

Beth Mullins North County Freshman Pitcher

Jessica Smith North Carroll Freshman Pitcher

Kristin Gormus Howard Senior Pitcher

Kelley Tiesi Catholic Senior Pitcher

Jenny Eckels C. Milton Wright Sophomore Catcher

Stephanie Schultz Fallston Sophomore Catcher

Brittany Boyd North County Senior First base

Kelly Smith River Hill Senior Second base

Kim Bloom Eastern Tech Junior Third base

Tracey Dahlen Chesapeake-AA Sophomore Shortstop

Megan McAuliffe Catholic Senior Shortstop

Aubrey Barrett Atholton Senior Outfield

Jamie Janowich South Carroll Senior Outfield

Rhiannon Staub Franklin Junior Outfield

Note: Teams selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.

Final Poll

1. Archbishop Spalding 18-6

2. North County 21-5

3. Fallston 20-2

4. Glen Burnie 15-6

5. Chesapeake-AA 19-3

6. Institute of Notre Dame 19-7

7. North Carroll 18-5

8. Severna Park 16-8

9. River Hill 19-3

10. Howard 15-5

11. Atholton 19-3

12. Westminster 14-6

13. South Carroll 15-8

14. Eastern Tech 18-6

15. C. Milton Wright 17-5

Other teams considered: Dulaney (15-4), Franklin (17-3), Northeast (16-7), Perry Hall (14-6)

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