Coach: Nick Hoffner, second season

2011 record: 6-11, 6-13

Top players: Seniors Colin Dyer (SS), Josh Lee (3B) and Sean Sivo (CF); juniors David Wolf (P), Aidan Cain (P), Ben Baker (P), Jake Vonella (3B/DH) and Logan Seitz (2B).

Scouting report: The Lions traditionally like to let their pitchers focus on pitching, and Hoffner will count on Wolf, Cain and Baker to provide most of Howard's innings on the mound. Dyer did get through 25 innings last year with a sub-3.00 ERA, so he could also be useful on the bump. Keeping Dyer's bat hot (.403, nine doubles, 19 RBIs) is a bigger priority though. The senior will be joined in the heart of the Lions' line-up by two other carryovers from the 2011 campaign, Lee and Sivo. Vonella and Seitz were leaders on the Lions' JV squad last year, with Seitz belting two home runs in one game.

Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

Long Reach

Coach: Mike Repsher, third season

2011 record: 0-17, 0-19

Top players: Seniors Alec Taylor (1B/P) and Randall Weist (SS); juniors Brandon Cave (P) and Chris Stanko (P); sophomores JD Huffman (C/3B/P) and Kyle Fleischer (OF/2B).

Scouting report: The Lightning is mired in a 30-game losing streak, but Repsher is optimistic because this year's squad is the most experienced he's had in his three years. Taylor is the team's top returning pitcher and hitter, having logged 10 innings on the mound last year while displaying a keen eye at the plate (12 walks, 11 hits, nine runs). Weist, Cave and Stanko also got significant at-bats last year. Long Reach may not be a county title contender, but an improvement of several wins wouldn't be a stretch.

Marriotts Ridge

Coach: Paul Eckert, seventh season

2011 record: 10-7, 11-8

Top players: Seniors David Menker (C/1B), Ben Ferraro (OF) and Avery Reidy (OF/3B); junior Eric Brown (P/3B); sophomores Michael Dorsch (P/OF) and Jake Bender (IF).

Scouting report: The Mustangs, who played their first varsity season in 2007 and have won 53 games over the past four years, return a pair of all-county players in Menker (.448 avg.) and Ferraro (.458, 21 runs, 20 walks). Reidy was also a key contributor last year, batting .346 and driving in 22 runs. Eckert will have to find a few new pitchers this year, but Dorsch, a JV call-up, and Brown, who got his feet wet on varsity last year, are capable arms.

Mt. Hebron

Coach: Brian Culley, sixth season

2011 record: 5-12, 8-13

Top players: Seniors Patrick Wethington (2B/P) and Raul Shah (SS); juniors Brady Smouse (P/1B), Jacob Meyer and Fred Simard; sophomore Marty Stevenson; freshman Jake Snyder.

Scouting report: Andrew Giuliani, the Vikings' best hitter and pitcher, has graduated and talented center fielder Tyler Anthony is unfortunately lost for the season due to injury. But Mt. Hebron does return one of the league's best fielding shortstops in Shah, (.943 fielding percentage, 14 BBs, 22 RBIs). Wethington and Smouse will look to lead the pitching staff, though neither saw significant time on the mound last year. Meyer, Simard, Stevenson and Snyder head up a talented group of newcomers.

Oakland Mills