2006 All-Metro Softball Teams
Severna Park pitcher Kaila Jenkins is a softball All-Metro selection. (Sun photo by Gene Sweeney, Jr. / June 1, 2006)
The senior pitcher closed out an illustrious career with a final season that typified her four years at Severna Park: overpowering stuff on the mound, a quick and potent bat that often carried the offense, and an overwhelming desire to compete and succeed.
The repeat Player of the Year and a four-time All-Metro first-team selection enjoyed a record-breaking season in taking the No. 3 Falcons to the Class 3A state title game. She went 20-5 this season with a 0.42 ERA and program-best 327 strikeouts. Her 68 career wins and 988 strikeouts set Anne Arundel County records.
She batted .462 with 27 runs and 25 RBIs, collecting 36 hits to become the state's all-time leader with 142.
Jenkins hit .457 for her career with 105 RBIs and 87 runs, leading the Falcons to a state title in her freshman year and two runner-up finishes. This spring, Jenkins and the Falcons captured their second straight Anne Arundel County title and third regional crown in her four years.
Set to play at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College next spring, Jenkins' last high school outing - a 1-0 loss in eight innings to defending state champion Huntingtown in the finals - was perhaps her finest this season.
Coach of the Year: Don Ellenberger, Chesapeake-AA
With a talented group of freshmen joining an already-young squad, the Cougars' fifth-year coach wasn't sure how soon his group would be ready to play in the highly competitive Anne Arundel County league.
Starting four freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and just one senior, Chesapeake started strongly and kept on winning. The Cougars ended up just one inning away from winning the Class 4A state title, falling to C. Milton Wright in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"We had the freshmen and they all played a decent level of summer ball, but playing 14-and-under compared to going up against 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids is a little different, so we weren't sure how we would be," said Ellenberger, who is 96-21 at Chesapeake with two state final appearances. "Everybody accepted the freshmen, saw they could play and the answers came real quick."
In going 23-3 overall, the Cougars won Anne Arundel County's regular-season title with a 14-2 mark, captured Archbishop Spalding's Cavalier Classic tournament and worked their way out of the demanding East regional to qualify for the state tournament. Ellenberger said the team's success wouldn't be possible without the dedication and expertise of assistant coaches Don Collins, Tom Owen and Joe Thomas.
Cynthia Foster, C. Milton Wright, outfield
The junior left fielder took her game to a higher level to become a major contributor to the Mustangs' impressive run to the Class 4A state championship.
Foster had 38 hits, including 11 for extra bases, to finish with a .475 batting average -- up 169 points from her sophomore year. Hitting fifth in C. Milton Wright's lineup, she scored 31 runs, drove in 24 and had a .750 slugging percentage.
In her two varsity seasons, Foster has six home runs and 21 extra-base hits.
Sound defensively, she didn't commit an error in the 25 games she started in left field.
Lauren Gibson, Chesapeake-AA, pitcher
With the ability to impact a game in a number of ways, Gibson made an impression that was both immediate and lasting, as the freshman was the catalyst in the Cougars' run to the Class 4A state title game.
She went 15-2 with a 1.42 ERA, posting wins over several ranked opponents, including Severna Park, Glen Burnie, Northeast and Catonsville. Batting third, she led the Cougars in seven offensive categories, including batting average (.533), RBIs (42), runs (40) and hits (47).
Her speed and aggressiveness on the bases -- she finished with 16 steals and took the extra base at every chance -- put constant pressure on opposing defenses.
Michelle Grap, Centennial, shortstop
No player in Howard County hit the ball harder or farther than Grap, who led the No. 9 Eagles (16-4) in six offensive categories. The junior hit .493 with six triples, four homers and 17 RBIs. She also scored 22 runs and had six doubles.
The three-year starter and team captain also had fine range to go with a strong and accurate arm in covering plenty of ground at shortstop
Amy Guyton, Long Reach, pitcher
Her fine four-year career ended with a stellar senior season that earned her Howard County Player of the Year honors and the Lightning its first county title.
Guyton was equally impressive on the mound and at the plate. She finished the season at 18-4 with a 1.08 ERA and 176 strikeouts to just 13 walks. Guyton batted .449 with 27 runs and 20 stolen bases. Her 59 career wins and 641 strikeouts are both school records.
Katie McCauley, C. Milton Wright, catcher
The senior standout was considered one of the most feared hitters in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
The Harford County Player of the Year set single-season program marks in hits (44) and extra-base hits (15) and tied the home run record (seven).
McCauley helped the Mustangs win the Class 4A state title, batting .518 with 35 RBIs and 30 runs, walking 12 times and striking out just once all season.
Lauren O'Malley, Archbishop Spalding, first base
One of the metro area's most respected hitters, the senior finished the season hitting .429 with 13 RBIs and 13 runs as the Cavaliers' middle-of-the-order catalyst. After earning All-Metro honors as an outfielder last spring, O'Malley made a smooth adjustment to first base this season.
Headed to play at UMBC next spring, O'Malley is a three-time All-Metro first-team pick.
Brooke Owen, Chesapeake-AA, outfield
A prototypical leadoff hitter, Owen had a knack for getting on base and using her excellent speed to produce runs. The junior left fielder batted .415, had a .516 on-base percentage, scored 35 runs, knocked in 18 and stole 14 bases. Included in her 31 hits were seven doubles and four triples. She scored a first-inning run in nine of the Cougars' 19 regular-season games.
Owen also put her speed to good use in left field, recording 13 putouts and one assist with only one error.
Desirae Sullivan, Severna Park, third base
Batting in the clean-up spot for the Falcons in her first season as a starter, Sullivan exceeded coach Jeff Shepherd's expectations.
Possessing a powerful swing, the junior finished the season batting .415 with 45 RBIs and 23 runs, hitting a team-high eight home runs and adding five doubles.
Sullivan also did a fine job of covering bunts and everything else that came her way at third base.
Sloane Van Meter, Archbishop Spalding, outfield
With a big hit, a key catch in the outfield or positive words in the dugout, the repeat All-Metro first-team pick always had a way to impact a game for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions.
Hitting leadoff, the junior center fielder batted .286 with 14 RBIs, 12 runs, five doubles, two triples and one home run.
Jessica Vetock, Institute of Notre Dame, shortstop
The sure-handed shortstop started every game in her four years and had the ability to make an impact a number of ways. This season, Vetock batted .413 with 20 runs and 13 RBIs.
Institute of Notre Dame coach Greg Ehrman said Vetock, who made just one error this year, was the finest defensive shortstop that has come through the program.
For her career, she hit .347 with 104 hits, 50 runs and 43 RBIs.
Stephanie Weigman, Archbishop Spalding, pitcher
The standout junior led the No. 1 Cavaliers to their second straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title.
Weigman, a second-team All-Metro pick last season, went 12-3 this season with a 0.82 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 102 innings.
Some of her most dominant performances came in the postseason, including a 1-0 shutout of Pallotti in the conference semifinals before tossing a four-hitter in a 4-1 win over Seton Keough in the title game.
Amanda Fefel Catonsville, senior, pitcher
Carly Martin Seton Keough, junior, pitcher
Colleen Matthes IND, junior, pitcher
Stephanie Speierman Hammond, freshman, pitcher
Nicole Lowenstein John Carroll, sophomore, catcher
Kelly Leary Glen Burnie, junior, first base
Lindsey Gray Northeast, junior, second base
Mallorie Clary Catonsville, senior, shortstop
Kaitlyn Neal C. Milton Wright, senior, third base
Julia Culotta North Harford, senior, outfield
Katie Donovan St. Vincent Pallotti, senior, outfield
Sloane Van Meter Archbishop Spalding, junior, outfield
Note // Teams selected by Glenn Graham after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.