Harford County softball teams anxious for spring to arrive

Can anyone dethrone the Mustangs?

Harford County high school softball teams are gearing up for the start of the 2017 season next week. Here's a team-by-team outlook:

Aberdeen

Head coach: Bill Lewis (seventh year)

2016 record: 11-8

Top returning players: Mackense Greico, junior (P/SS); Raechel Bowman, senior (INF)

Key newcomers: Emma Zimmerman, freshman (C/ INF)

Outlook: The Eagles look to improve upon a strong 2016 campaign where they completed a solid winning regular season at 11-7, but had an early first-round exit at the hands of Towson in the MPSSAA playoffs. The Eagles return junior standout Greico and senior infielder Bowman to a solid, but small group of varsity returners. The Eagles have just six upperclassmen on the roster this year and are joined by a strong sophomore class. The Eagles are excited for valuable leadership and contributions from seniors Casey Busch, Olivia Phelps and De'Moni Moore as well as Greico and sophomore pitchers Faith Johnson and Caroline Kragh who will share time in the pitcher's circle. Aberdeen also looks for strong play from a handful of juniors and sophomores. The lone varsity freshman is infielder Zimmerman, who will certainly look to produce early and often as a key member of the Eagles' lineup.

Bel Air

Head coach: Kathleen Donaldson

2016 record: 7-10

Top returning players: Brianna Fleishmann, Amanda Criss, Morgan Dvorak, Kat Perea, Jill Kozak, Katrina Thielhorn, Ari Dramis

Key newcomers: Peyton Hale, Maddie Bosley, Sam Crespo, McKenna Reiswig, Hana Leftridge

Outlook: "We have a young team full of potential. We are looking forward to seeing them continue to improve as the season progresses," Donaldson said. "We are excited about the early progress we are making as a team and anticipate a fun and exciting 2017 season."

C. Milton Wright

Head coach: Russell Kovach (10th year)

2016 record: 17-6

Top returning players: Katie Murphy, junior (P); Emily Kim, junior (SS); Lauren Meyers, sophomore (1B); Alyssa Barnes, senior (OF); Lexi Childress, sophomore, (C); Michelle Cisco, junior (3B/UTIL); Cassidy Cochran, sophomore (OF); Meg Godwin, sophomore (2B); Jill Petee, senior (OF)

Key newcomers: Skylar Little, freshman (OF); Breanna Miller, junior (3B/DP); Meghan Reed, freshman (2B); Megan Thomas, sophomore (UTIL)

Outlook: There can be no question what the ultimate goal is for C. Milton Wright in 2017. Following a 2016 campaign that ended one game shy of a second straight state-finals appearance, the team's returners want to get one game deeper in 2017. While they've lost four starters to graduation, the nine returning players know what it's like to compete for a championship, and will settle for nothing less.

Edgewood

Head coach: Sarah Friedman (second year)

2016 record: 5-13

Top returning players: Amanda Sullivan, senior (P); Melanie Parncutt, senior (SS); Alivia Warren, senior (2B/P); Julia Spinner, sophomore (C)

Key newcomers: Breanna Humbles, senior (OF); Brooke Greaver, freshman (UTIL)

Outlook: "We are a young team with a lot of potential and heart. Overall our success will be determined by our ability to remain physically and mentally strong, while developing team cohesion and confidence," Friedman said.

Fallston

Head coach: Carlie Andrews (second year)

2016 record: 9-9

Top returning players: Issy Newkirk, senior (2B); Clara Stewart, senior (3B); Allisyn Evans, senior (P); Taylor Brown, senior (1B); Kaitlyn Delaney, junior (OF); Lia Alexandrou, senior (OF); Cierra Hohman, sophomore (SS); Danielle Romberger, junior (C)

Key newcomers: Eileen Scheir, junior (OF)

Outlook: "We ended last season on a high note and are ready to come out and play. We have many experienced returners who are excited and optimistic about this upcoming season," Andrews said.

Harford Tech

Head coach: Nicole Cosgrove (second year)

2016 record: 6-10

Top returning players: Trinitee Grant, senior (1B); Allison Hoover, senior (SS); Molly Mioduszewski, senior (C); Kelcy Morgan, senior (P)

Key newcomers: Taylor Reider, freshman (OF)

Outlook: The Harford Tech Cobras are looking forward to starting the 2017 season led by their four returning varsity seniors.

Havre de Grace

Head coach: Mariah Ripken (third year)

2016 record: 10-7

Top returning players: Hailey Emerson, senior (CF); Sam Jolley, senior (2B); Leah DuBois, junior (P/3B); Sara Crawford, junior (1B); Brianna Morlok, junior (C/OF); Luann Blake, junior (UTIL); Mackenzie Ellis, sophomore (SS)

Key newcomers: Lauren Caudill, junior (OF); Kaitlin Flaherty, junior (UTIL); Madysen Keith, junior (2B); Kara Lynch, sophomore (UTIL); Colby Kitts, sophomore (UTIL); Sarah Vipperman, freshman (UTIL)

Outlook: "Very excited about the 2017 season, as this group of girls has really come out ready to work hard and together," Ripken said. "Some roles on the field will be shuffled and often; but that versatility is something we've lacked in years past, and we hope that it will bring a great competitive advantage to the table this year."

John Carroll

Head coach: Sherry Hudson (second year)

2016 record: 5-13

Top returning players: Gabby Centi, senior (OF); Sara Dieter, senior (INF); Erica James, senior (C); Meghan Sheehan, junior (SS); Alyssa Ryerson, junior (2B); Sarah Spaeth, sophomore (3B); Shannon Sweeney, sophomore (OF); Emma Kropkowski, sophomore (P); Erin Disney, junior (OF); Sarah Meyerl, senior (INF)

Key newcomers: Emma Ritter, freshman (OF); Kate Griomacki, freshman (INF); Jules Donnelly, freshman (C); Paris Smith, freshman (OF)

Outlook: John Carroll lost one senior to graduation, so it brings back plenty of experience while the returning sophomores should be acclimated to the competitive IAAM A Conference. Offensively, the team will rely on Sheehan and Ritter at the top of the lineup for a combination of speed and power. The rest of the lineup should fill out with consistent hitters throughout.

Joppatowne

Head coach: Jim VanHorn (second year)

2016 record: 2-14

Top returning players: Austine May, senior (SS); Cheyann Trent, senior (2B/OF); Ydalmis Lorenzo, senior (OF); Kaitlyn Deel, junior (P/1B); Callie Morgan, junior (P/INF); Jordan Miller, junior (C); Shaianna Ireson, junior (1B); Alexis Clark, sophomore (1B)

Key newcomers: Alexis Barlow, sophomore (INF); C'embra Dupree, freshman (C/P)

Outlook: The Mariners were much improved last season and will look to take another step forward in 2017. "We have solid leadership from our seniors and we are returning seven starters," VanHorn said. Included in the returnees are May, who hit .500 last season, and two standouts in the circle with Deel and Morgan.

North Harford

Head coach: Kim Iddings (first year)

2016 record: 11-6

Top returning players: Allison Hall, senior; Ada Heinze, senior; Katie Larkin, Seniior; Kristin Stiles, senior; Jessica Carnivale, junior; Jocelyn Sevilla, junior; Hannah Garrett, sophomore; Kaylin Johnson, sophomore

Key newcomers: Sarah Burton, junior; Kateri Connors, junior, Alayna Dorbert, junior; Gabrielle Roeder, junior; Lila Murray, sophomore; Kaylin Bordenski, freshman; Madisyn Greaver, freshman

Outlook: The Hawks have a new coaching staff and a mix of veteran players and some talented newcomers this year. "We are working hard and have set high goals for the season," Iddings said.

Patterson Mill

Head coach: Jeff Horton (second year)

2016 record: 7-12

Top returning players: Deanna Young, senior (OF); Lauren Rossi, senior (SS); Nayai Gilbert, senior (OF); Abby Laurentius, junior (1B); Lacey Breeden, junior (C); Sarah DiNatale, junior (2B); Katie Williams, junior (P)

Key newcomers: Leanna Haupt, Juniior (INF); Adrianna Brown, freshman (OF); Mackenzie Horton, freshman (OF); Katie Keech, freshman (OF)

Outlook: "2016 saw injuries take a toll on our season; however, this season we should be healthier and hopefully the experience of our still relatively young team will start to pay dividends," Horton said. "Last year saw batting averages improve across the board and if we can stay within our fundamentals, our team should improve over the season. One thing's for sure, we'll be back having some fun again this year."

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