Coach Lindsay Dugovich's improving Towson High softball team won 11 games last year. That's more than double from the previous season, when the Generals posted a 5-11 record.
Whether Towson can ride that momentum to an even better 2013 campaign is yet to be seen, although the outlook is promising.
The fourth-year coach boasts a lineup and junior pitcher in Jessica Steinbacker that should help keep the Generals headed into the right direction.
"Last year's record is our starting point," Dugovich said. "We expect to do better. We should be very competitive against some of the better teams: Eastern Tech, Franklin, Dulaney, Hereford and Perry Hall."
The hitting should be as good or even better than last year's outfit that batted .380 as a team.
Senior left fielder Megan Pullin (.450 last year, 20 runs scored, 18 RBIs), junior third baseman Katy Pugh (400, 24, 11), junior catcher Krista Pilarski (.400, 16, 13), senior center fielder Mariah Monroe (.350) and Steinbacker (.333) returned to the starting lineup.
They're joined by promising freshman utility player Sarah Pugh and shortstop Alissa Lema.
The older of the Pugh sisters walloped a grand slam while her rookie sibling (3-for-4, 5 RBIs) added a three-run homer to lead the Generals to a 13-9 come-from-behind victory over Western Tech in the Generals' season opener March 21.
Dugovich hopes the power hitting continues, but she rely more on "small ball' to score runs in bunches.
"The first half of my lineup is really strong," the coach said. "We should hit very well. We have a lot of speed and more weapons this year."
Lema, who also plays for the Maryland Stars club team, and Sarah Pugh immediately caught Dugovich's attention this spring for their prowess at the plate.
"Alissa can hit line drives all day," Dugovich explained. "Her swing just looks amazing. She has a very fundamentally sound swing. And Sarah is a very strong hitter. She hits the ball very hard."
Steinbacker, who fashioned a 3.79 ERA last year, will appreciate the run support.
Dugovich said Steinbacker has taken a step forward from last season by adding two pitches.
"She has more speed, her pitchers are moving better this year and they are tighter," Dugovich said. "Her change-up is working really well. She just trusts her pitches more."
Pullin said last year's success should have an impact on this year's Generals.
"I think they expectations are higher now for us," she said. "Things are more serious now. You can't joke around. You have to come to practice and be ready to go."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun