Rachel Herrick

Rachel Herrick Northeast softball (Sun photo by John Makely / June 8, 2001)

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  • Second team

    Meredith Carter Francis Scott Key Senior Pitcher

    Heather Donhauser Fallston Sophomore Pitcher

    Laura Gibson Severna Park Junior Pitcher

    Jessica Taylor Mount de Sales Sophomore Pitcher

    Casey Brengle Westminster Junior Catcher

    Melissa Tewey Northeast Junior Catcher

    Heather Frye North County Senior First base

    Nikki DeLeonardo Chesapeake-AA Junior Second base

    Stephanie Adams Northeast Senior Third base

    Dani Woods McDonogh Freshman Third base

    Karen Kotofski Northeast Senior Shortstop

    Christine Sheridan Archbishop Spalding Junior Shortstop

    Amanda Collins Archbishop Spalding Senior Outfield

    Ashley Martin North Carroll Junior Outfield

    Katie Nelson McDonogh Senior Outfield

    Note: The All-Metro softball teams were selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.

Player of the Year: Rachel Herrick, Northeast

The fact that Herrick entered the 2001 season as ace for the third-ranked Eagles wasn't a shocker. After all, she had assumed that role last season, when she compiled an 11-5 record with a 0.89 ERA. But the senior right-hander fortified her role as the team's best pitcher by finishing this season with a 9-1 mark and a 0.41 ERA.

Herrick, who developed a deceiving screwball to accompany her riser and fastball, faced 255 batters and gave up just 33 hits. Opponents tagged her for just four earned runs, and she struck out 60 in 68 innings of work.


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Herrick guided Northeast to the Class 3A state championship game, where the Eagles (22-4) fell to Northern of Calvert County. Only after that game did Herrick, who earned Anne Arundel County Player of the Year honors, reveal her emotions. "Rachel has such composure when she is on the mound," said Northeast coach Marianne Shultz. "She doesn't get flustered. She's very focused, very comfortable up there."

Herrick, who played first base when she wasn't pitching, excelled at the plate, batting .469, scoring 22 runs and driving in 18. She could also play second base and shortstop - credits that inspired Shultz to play her every day rather than limit her to a designated-hitter role. Herrick, a two-time All-Metro selection and four-year varsity player, has signed to play softball at Salisbury State next spring.
Coach of the Year: Mickey Deegan, McDonogh

Talk about saving the best for last. For the past 13 years, Deegan labored to build a softball program at the Owings Mills private school that could compete with the Archbishop Spalding and Mount de Sales teams of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.

Known for fielding competitive squads that could challenge the upper-echelon teams, Deegan and the No. 2 Eagles shattered the ceiling this season by registering a 16-6 season and defeating powerhouse Archbishop Spalding in the IAAM championship final at Towson University on May 12.

Blessed with a rising star in pitcher Mia Zappacosta and a cohesive unit behind her, McDonogh improved its .220 batting average from last season by 70 points this spring and became one of only two teams this year to shut out the Cavaliers.

Deegan, who knew in April that she would retire after the May 12 game to concentrate on her duties as the school's athletic director, decided not to tell her team until after the championship.

"If I had told them, it might have been one of those win-one- for-the-Gipper deals, and that might have backfired," said Deegan, who retired with a 131-119 mark. "They won that for themselves, and I couldn't have scripted it any better."

Deegan leaves an experienced squad to 1990 graduate Bridget Collins. The Eagles lose just one starter to graduation.
First team

Cynthia Clark, Mount de Sales

If the No. 10 Sailors needed a spark, Clark was the match. As the team's left- handed leadoff batter, the junior posted a .355 batting average and crossed the plate 19 times. In fact, she scored the decisive run in a 1-0 victory that helped Mount de Sales (12-9) snap Archbishop Spalding's 36-game winning streak on March 27.

A versatile hitter who could drag-bunt, slap or hit for power, Clark also drove in 11 runs and rapped five doubles. She also could play outfield, but was a solid first baseman who earned a .993 fielding percentage.

A three-year varsity starter and two-year team captain, Clark was voted to the IAAM A Conference All-Star squad for the second season in a row.

Sarah Costa, Atholton

A three-time Howard County first-team pick, Costa put together a season to remember. The only senior for the No. 6 Raiders (22-3), she batted .347, drove in 29 runs and scored 23 times. Her on-base percentage was a healthy .440 and her slugging percentage was a robust .625.

Of the 25 hits she collected, three were home runs, four were triples, and three were doubles.

Costa, who rarely threw out base runners because few tried to test her right arm, played an integral role in Atholton's claim to three straight county titles and two consecutive appearances in the Class 2A state finals.

A three-sport athlete and second-team All-Metro choice as a sophomore, Costa has committed to playing softball at Shippensburg next spring.,

Meg Cowen, Archbishop Spalding

Cowen's emergence as one of the dominant players in the IAAM shouldn't have been a surprise, considering she was named to the All- Metro second team last season.

This year, the junior pushed the envelope even further, batting .494 as the squad's leadoff hitter. A heady base runner who registered seven doubles, Cowen also rang up 26 runs and 17 RBIs for the top- ranked Cavaliers (24-3).

Her fielding skills helped Cowen assume the starting third- base position, but she also blossomed as the No. 2 pitcher for Archbishop Spalding.

Racking an 8-3 mark with a 0.44 ERA, Cowen posted 114 strikeouts in 78 innings. Cowen was chosen as Gatorade's Circle of Champions Maryland Softball Player of the Year last week.

Terra Goswick, South River

The Seahawks enjoyed their best season to date, and Goswick stood at the center of a win- loss improvement that lifted them to a 12-9 record and a berth in the Class 3A East region championship game against Northeast.

The senior shortstop committed just one error and did most of her damage at the plate. Goswick batted .468, drove in 31 runs and stole 15 bases. She broke the school record for RBIs in a career (131) with 132 and rewrote the record for hits in a career (113) with 118. Eighteen of her 28 hits this season went for extra bases.

A four-year varsity player, Goswick is undecided about where she will play next spring, but can choose from among the seven Division I scholarships offered to her.

Erin Gray, Northeast

Batters who can produce generally aren't located near the bottom of the order, but Gray was the exception. A solid contact hitter, Gray accepted a move from the No.[TH]3 spot to the No.[TH]8 position and powered a good portion of the Eagles' offense from there.

The senior hit .300, drove in 20 runs and scored 16 times. A patient batter who had a knack for working the count, Gray led North east in walks with 15 and also recorded three home runs, three triples and three doubles. She played center field and was credited with three assists at home.

Gray played all four years on the varsity squad, but might concentrate on soccer at Anne Arundel Community College this fall.

Erin Hart, Northeast

Hart represented one-half of the Eagles' one-two punch in the outfield. The senior patrolled left field and committed just one error in four years as a varsity player.

At the plate, where she enjoyed a daily role as the team's leadoff hitter, Hart was just as proficient, batting a strong .506, scoring 27 runs and driving in 16 RBIs. The left-handed batter hit two home runs, four triples and two doubles and was a consistent threat on the base paths. In fact, Hart led Northeast -- which boasted a 17-game winning streak -- in steals with nine.

A team captain, Hart was honored by the coaching staff as the squad's Most Valuable Player this season. Hart plans to continue her softball career at Salisbury State with her teammate, Rachel Herrick.

Keri Lounge, Archbishop Spalding

Few players have been as prolific as Lounge has been in just two seasons of varsity play. A sophomore who has been selected to the All-Metro team for the second consecutive year, Lounge bettered last season's batting-average mark of .372 by hitting .417 this spring.

As the team's cleanup batter, Lounge also drove in 33 runs and blasted five home runs, two triples and three doubles. Coach Linda Taylor credits a renewed sense of patience and a resurgence of power at the plate as the source for Lounge's statistics. Her range and fearless attitude about diving for grounders and line drives strengthened the Cavaliers' infield -- a hallmark of the program's 51-3 record over the past two years.

Nichol Moeller, Westminster

The Owls' meteoric rise to a Class 4A state crown was matched by Moeller's improvement as a commanding pitcher. The junior right-hander paced No. 4 Westminster (16-7) by compiling a 17-5 record with a 0.65 ERA.

She struck out 99 opponents, while issuing just 10 walks in 151 innings. A workhorse who offers a trademark grunt with every pitch, Moeller threw 19 complete games and pitched the Owls through five one-run victories over traditional powers such as Chesapeake-AA and Glen Burnie en route to the school's first state softball title.

She also helped herself by batting nearly .300, driving in 11 runs and hitting five doubles. For her efforts, Moeller was selected as the Carroll County Player of the Year.

Lauren Pollock, Severna Park

Pollock continued to demonstrate why she is a model for consistency. The senior earned her third consecutive All-Metro first- team selection courtesy of her performance at the plate and in the outfield.

As a center fielder for the 11th-ranked Falcons (15-6), Pollock didn't commit an error. But it was her bat that powered Severna Park to a spot in the Anne Arundel County championship game. Pollock finished the season with a .561 batting average, knocked in her teammates 20 times and scored 18 runs. She hit two home runs, three triples and seven doubles.

A patient batter, Pollock also drew 11 walks and was roundly recognized as the most feared bat in the Severna Park lineup. Pollock will take her talent to Maryland this fall.

Jessica Saunders, Archbishop Spalding

The numbers weren't as gaudy, but there's no doubting the impact that Saunders can have on the mound. Last year's All-Metro Player of the Year batted only .194, but did register 14 runs and 12 RBIs.

Saunders, however, did most of, her damage on the mound -- posting a 14-0 record, compiling a 0.32 ERA and striking out 131 batters in 87 innings. Blessed with a fastball that simply overpowers opponents, the junior right-hander struck out 10 to lead the Cavaliers to their fourth straight Maryland private schools championship last week.

In the past two seasons, Saunders has gone 31-0 and hasn't lost since dropping a game in a Pennsylvania tournament during her freshman year.

Laura Siler, C. Milton Wright

Selected to the All-Metro second team last year, Siler stepped into the spotlight and proved her worth this spring. The senior went 13-5 with a 1.04 ERA for the No. 12 Mustangs (15-6) and paced them to a share of their fifth consecutive Harford County championship.

Siler dominated nearly every pitching category [em dash] striking out 115 in 107 1/3 innings, limiting opposing batters to a .170 batting average and allowing just seven extra-base hits (none was a home run). Among the seven shutouts she recorded, Siler turned in two no-hitters. She rewrote the school record in career ERA with a 0.63 ERA.

A team captain, Siler also batted .371, slugged .400 and drew 16 walks. She finished with seven runs, four RBIs, four stolen bases and struck out just six times.

Kelley Tiesi, Catholic

If not for Saunders, Tiesi would reign as the IAAM's most overpowering pitcher. Sidelined by a muscle strain in her right forearm that cut short a promising sophomore campaign, Tiesi returned with a flourish this spring.

Armed with a vicious fastball and riser, the junior right-hander struck out an overwhelming 209 opponents in 136 innings of work. Tiesi registered a 12-8 record with a 0.56 ERA for the No. 15 Cubs (12-8-1), who advanced to the IAAM Tournament semifinals.

Among her seven shutouts, Tiesi posted a no-hitter and three one- hitters. At the plate, she batted .407, scored 10 times and drove in nine runs. Tiesi, a second-team All- Metro pick last year, also produced seven doubles and two triples.

Mia Zappacosta, McDonogh

Perhaps no one made a bigger splash during the softball season than Zappacosta. The sophomore batted .328 with 12 RBIs and eight doubles.

On the mound, the right-hander compiled a 14-5 record with a 1.01 ERA. In 172 innings of work, she struck out 176 opposing batters, threw just two wild pitches and committed a solitary error in the field.

But the Baltimore City/County Player of the Year made her presence known in the IAAM Tournament. Blessed with a changeup that seemed to change direction on a whim, Zappacosta, who was selected to the IAAM All-Star team this year, struck out seven batters and kept the mighty Archbishop Spalding lineup off the scoreboard to win the IAAM crown. The Eagles became the first team other than the Cavaliers to capture the title since Mount de Sales did it in 1998.

Katie Zitnay, Atholton

It's hard to believe that a simple act of idiocy disrupted Zitnay's season. The Howard County Player of the Year would have pitched in the Raiders' final game against North Caroline in the Class 2A state championship final if she hadn't been hit in the eye by a water bottle tossed at a rock concert in Washington, D.C.

But even that blemish could not hide the year that Zitnay had. She was 22-2 with an ERA of 0.34 and 12 shutouts and threw four one-hitters. Zitnay struck out 117 batters, allowed seven earned runs and walked 15 batters in 146 innings.

With the bat, she led the Raiders in at least five categories [em dash] batting average (.494), hits (42), RBIs (43), home runs (five) and doubles (13). Zitnay, a repeat first-team All- Metro choice, also recorded a .533 on-base percentage and an .847 slugging percentage.