Carroll’s softball teams led a balanced effort last season.
Century captured its first county championship in 10 years, Westminster made an appearance in the Class 3A state final, and county rivalries stayed hot.
Here are three things to watch for the 2019 softball season:
Westminster eyeing return to state tourney for a positive outcome
Westminster contended for a Carroll County Athletic League title, then won a regional championship and a state tournament game to reach the 3A final at University of Maryland’s Softball Stadium on May 25.
The state final was a rematch against Huntingtown, the same team they faced in the state final two years prior. Westminster ended that spring with a championship, but the Hurricanes proved too much for the Owls this time, defeating them 5-0.
The Owls graduated their starting pitcher and catcher, Jill Haines and Olivia Herman. The duo were both Times first-team all-countians and Herman was awarded Softball Player of the Year.
All but four players are returning for Westminster, including junior pitcher Emily Sicinski, junior shortstop Jackie Coyle, and Laura Tipton, a sophomore who will split duties between third base and pitcher. Coach April Sexton said via email the Owls are priming themselves to win the county title, make another run at a state championship this year — and win a second title in three seasons.
Century continues to build success, striving for more
Century’s main goal at the start of last season was to bring a Carroll County Athletic League championship to the Knights’ home base.
The Knights did, in fact, win their first county title in 10 years under coach Stephanie Haines’ second year at the helm. Haines won Times Coach of the Year honors as a result, and the Knights had first team all-county representation from Olivia Carmack, outfielder Emily Kain, and infielder Brianna Kessler.
Kain notched three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs for the Knights as a junior last season. Kessler contributed a .426 batting average, 18 RBIs and five doubles as a sophomore. Kain’s bat should make a large impact for the Knights this season with contributions from Kessler and junior Gina Martin, Haines said via email.
The Knights graduated just two seniors last season, Allyson Windell and Gillian Sinnott, the team’s starting pitcher and catcher. Their chemistry was often unmatched, but Haines said a group of experienced freshmen will be tasked with these duties in helping the team in an attempt to repeat as county champs.
A handful of all-county athletes returning to the playing field
Along with Century’s Kain and Kessler, Carroll returns seven more first-team athletes set to lead their respective teams to success.
South Carroll returns junior outfielder Sydni Carroll and sophomore infielder Olivia Reardon. Carroll is back after leading the Cavaliers with a .486 batting average as a sophomore in 2018 and she also led the Cavs with four doubles. Reardon notched a .483 batting average in her freshman debut for the Cavs.
Manchester Valley senior Kassidy Johnson was a key fixture in the Mavericks’ lineup as a junior infielder in 2018. She finished with a .404 batting average and led the Mavs with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Her bat contributions should be heavy this season, Mavs coach Mike Hernandez said via email.
Liberty returns junior catcher Jordan Nastos who finished her sophomore campaign with a .447 batting average. She caught for a team that finished 8-12 and split their county record 6-6.