1994 record: 17-7. Coach: Dave Vitagliano.
Top players: Kim Ruprecht, Sr., P; Chrissy Gavin, Sr., SS; Kelly Stewart, Sr., CF; Shannon Eierman, Soph., C; Lea Nichols, Jr., 2B.
Outlook: The Raiders return five starters, but of the four they lost, three were All-County first or second team and outfielder Lisa Murphy was an All-Metro second-teamer. Vitagliano might have a tough time replacing them quickly -- especially their offensive contributions. Hitting .309 as a team last year, the Raiders sent up one threat after another. Now, that strength doesn't last through the whole lineup. Defensively, the Raiders averaged just over one error a game and they won't lose much ground especially up the middle. Having Ruprecht on the mound, however, should provide some cushion for the new starters, Tracy Teal at first, Eileen McQueeney or Merrit Mauck at third, Carolyn Wilson in right and Mandy Robins in left.
1994 record: 7-3. Coach: Jack Meisinger.
Top players: Faith Meisinger, Jr., P; Naomi Spiva, Sr., OF; Sara Kayser, Soph., C; Nicole Williamson, Jr., OF.
Outlook: The Flames have only one senior as they set out on an independent schedule. Coach Meisinger still is experimenting with a starting lineup that could include Cana Bonnell at second, Laura Calhoun at short, Rachael Marriner at first and Erin Collins at third although any of those last three could wind up in the outfield. Early on, Collins and Calhoun will split the pitching while Faith Meisinger recovers from a sore elbow. Without their ace on the mound, the Flames could struggle, especially against some of the tougher competition.
1994 record: 17-4. Coach: Dale Huting.
Top players: Kim May, Sr., P; Terri Bickerton, Sr., 2B; Marcie Kunkel, Sr., 3B; Brittany Deuchler, Jr., C; Jodi Godbout, Soph., SS; Kelly West, Sr., RF.
Outlook: Huting has not returned such a veteran squad in a long time. With May on the mound and six other starters back, the Eagles should not lose a step. Lindsay von Paris also returns to the outfield with Michele Dugan at first and Kelly Garrity in left. Offensively, the Eagles return at least four players hitting over .320 -- May, Bickerton, Kunkel and West. All four can hit for extra bases and May and Bickerton have on-base percentages over .580. Defensively, a few players have moved around, but that shouldn't make a difference with so much experience on the field.
1994 record: 19-3. Coach: Chuck Struhar.
Top players: Kim Brown, Sr., CF; Marni Brown, Soph., P; Jessie Lombardo, Jr., 3B; Susan Geisler, Sr., RF; Karen Cadogan, Sr., C.
Outlook: The Gladiators suffered more losses than any other team in the county, graduating seven starters. In addition to starting pitcher Kessler, they also lost All-Metro Player of the Year Jodi Kielman and All-County second baseman Karyn Duff. Although the Gladiators are young, they still should have enough strength to challenge the league's top three. Marni Brown won five games last year and has the potential to develop into one of the league's top pitchers. Struhar will start three freshmen, Pam Goldberg at short, Meghan Goetz at second and Kristin Hooker in left along with junior Sheri McGready moving up from JV to play first base.
Hammond Golden Bears
1994 record: 5-13. Coach: Ray McMillan.
Top players: Nicole Owe, Soph., P; Rebecca Robinson, Jr., C; Candy Holmes, Soph., 3B; Jessica Garlick, Jr., 2B; Melinda Leone, Jr., LF; Courtney Daniel, Jr., SS.
Outlook: First-year coach McMillan takes over another developing squad. The Bears lost their entire infield as well as All-Metro catcher Amy Nestor. However, they return Owe, who started as a freshman. Rounding out the starting lineup will be Allison Phlugard in right, Amanda Klinefelter in center and Sharon Riggs or Suzanne Serianni at first. The big problem for the Bears, who finished fourth in the county at 5-9 last season, will be defense. Without a lot of experience, McMillan has gone back to basics and that should pay off in time. There is some potential for a solid offense especially in Robinson, Owe and Holmes.
1994 record: 2-16. Coach: Dave Vezzi.
Top players: Amanda Hart, Sr., C; Kristina Kramer, Sr., OF; Jessica Gershman, Sr., IF/OF; Rachel Grantham, Sr., P/2B; Sara Nunnally, Jr., SS; Carrie Hubitsky, Jr., 3B.
Outlook: The Lions probably have a better chance of improving on their record than any team in the county. Although they lost All-Metro outfielder Emily Moore, the Lions should be much improved all around. The pitching should be better with Grantham on the mound and the defense also should be tighter even though only Kramer returns to her original position. Naomi Moore moves to second after pitching last year while Lisa Foster takes over at first and Coby Callahn joins the outfield. The Lions also should be a solid hitting team.
Mount Hebron Vikings
1994 record: 15-7. Coach: Eric Aronowsky.
Top players: Jenny Joyce, Sr., P; Sarah Eberhart, Jr., SS; Kathy Kiersarsky, Soph., C; Heather Cole, Jr., CF; Becky Miller, Jr., LF.
Outlook: Even though the Vikings lost only three seniors, including All-County third baseman Kristen Milio, they are still a young team. They still have only three seniors, and five underclassmen could start, including sophomores Kirby McIntyre at third, Deanne Breithaupt at second and Kelly Neale in right. Freshman Lauren Abicht is challenging senior Heidi Noel for the starting spot at first. Defensively, the Vikings return some very strong players especially Miller and Cole in the outfield and Eberhart at short. Offensively, they will need some improvement, but Joyce, Cole and Kiersarsky have proven consistent.
Oakland Mills Scorpions
1994 record: 5-13. Coach: Joe Staub.
Top players: Diane Browne, Sr., P; Jenny St. Clair, Sr., SS; Rachel Nelson, Jr., C; Valerie Brammer, Jr., 3B; Andrea St. Clair, Fresh., 1B.
Outlook: For the Scorpions to move up from sixth in the county standings they will have to improve on two problem areas -- averaging double digits in strikeouts and giving up 3.5 earned runs a game. Those two demons combined to send the Scorpions down to the 10-run rule several times last season, but Staub already has seen some improvement in scrimmages. Browne is consistent on the mound, and the defense has improved so that should cut down on the runs allowed. Offensively, however, the Scorpions stand some room for improvement. Jenny St. Clair, Nelson and new right fielder Sam Croyle should help the offense, but the Scorpions need more consistency through the lineup, which will include Sarah Greenauer in center, Kathy Linehan at second and Ashleigh Snell in left.
Wilde Lake Wildecats
1994 record: 6-11. Coach: Kelly Storr.
Top players: Katie Douglas, Jr., P; Heidi Olson, Sr., CF; Kris Stiegman, Jr., P/C/3B; Krista Entrop, Sr., 1B; Mia Tran, Soph., SS; Karen Entrop, Jr., OF.
Outlook: The Wildecats field the youngest team in the county with just four upperclassmen. Five of the 11 active players are freshmen, but those freshmen have recreation league experience, something Storr has seen little of in the past. Even though the Wildecats won just two league games last year, they were competitive in almost every one and lost a couple of one-run games to the league's top two teams. To take a step up in the league, the Wildecats will have to improve their offense. They didn't give up a whole lot of runs last year, but they didn't score many either. Krista Entrop should give the Wildecats a boost at the plate after returning from a year with the lacrosse team.