COACH OF THE YEAR
* Rich Harvey, North Carroll -- The tradition at North Carroll is to peak at the right time. This season was no different as the Panthers played nearly flawlessly in the postseason to come within a run of their seventh state title. Harvey, who has a 26-13 record in two seasons at North Carroll, had a good idea what he had to work with going into the season and by the time it was all over, got the most out of his team. In reaching the Class 2A state finals, the Panthers (15-6) outscored three playoff opponents by a combined 17-1 before Parkside scored a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to win the championship, 3-2. The pitching of Lippy was the foundation throughout. Sometimes during the regular season the run production wasn't quite there and other times the defense didn't hold up, but everything was working in the postseason. "We knew we had an experienced team and a good amount of talent, it was just a matter of it all coming together," Harvey said. "We were very focused in the postseason and played together the last four games -- I'm really satisfied."
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Jill Ballard, North Carroll, Sr., infield -- An honorable mention last season, the North Carroll first baseman jumped to the first team this season with a solid year hitting and fielding. Batting cleanup, Ballard hit .358 and drove in a team-high 17 runs. In the state semifinals against Lackey, she went 3-for-4 as the Panthers advanced to the state final with a 9-0 win.
* Becky Bosley, North Carroll, Soph., outfield/catcher -- Bosley started the season in the outfield, but moved to catcher early when senior Teresa Mays was lost for the season with an injury. The switch didn't affect her offense and she proved to be a strength behind the plate. Batting second, she hit .403 and tied for the team lead in runs scored with 22.
* Laura Braun, Westminster, Sr., catcher -- Braun was the top defensive catcher in the county and also provided the Owls with a potent bat in the middle of their lineup. She finished hitting .340 and drove in eight runs, the most memorable early in the season against eventual Class 3A state runner-up Mount Hebron. Her single in the ninth inning scored the winning run in a PTC 3-2 game. Later in the season, she went 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs in a 6-4 loss against Linganore.
* Christy Feister, Francis Scott Key, Jr., catcher -- Feister put together an impressive season offensively -- hitting .442 with three triples -- and also was very solid behind the plate. Her 19 runs scored and 13 RBIs were both second on the team and she had a .577 slugging percentage.
* Lauren Henry, Westminster, Soph., outfield -- Whatever Henry did on the softball field was done at full speed. The Owls' leadoff hitter hit .310 in her first varsity season and had the team's strongest arm playing in right. "She was aggressive at the plate and aggressive on the bases," said Westminster first-year coach Scott Tobias. Henry led the team in runs scored with 10 and added 11 stolen bases.
* Beth Lister, Westminster, Sr., infield -- Lister completed the trifecta this spring when she earned a spot on softball's first team. In volleyball last fall, she made the first team as the &L; county's Player of the Year and followed that with first-team status in basketball. Lister, the third baseman, led the Owls in seven offensive categories, hitting .322 with 10 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases. She also provided a reliable glove at third.
* Jacie Mathias, Westminster, Jr., designated hitter -- Whether she reached base or not, when Mathias made contact it was almost always guaranteed to be hit hard. She hit over .300 for most of the season before dropping to .255. She put together fine back-to-back performances against county foes Liberty and South Carroll. In an 8-5 loss to the Lions, she went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. She then came back against South Carroll and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in a 12-10 win.
* Michele Mitchell, South Carroll, Soph., infield -- Mitchell, the third baseman, came into her own both offensively and defensively this season. Batting second, she finished hitting .321 with three triples, three doubles and 12 runs scored. She used her speed to steal eight bases and also had good range at third, where she got to a lot of balls and finished with a .885 fielding percentage.
* Missy Muller, Francis Scott Key, Sr., infield -- There wasn't a player in the county who could match the offensive numbers Muller put up in her final season. She finished hitting .468 with 15 RBIs and 25 runs scored. Included were eight extra-base hits -- five doubles and three triples -- and 19 walks. At third base, she made just two errors with 18 putouts and 15 assists.
* Charlene Rice, Liberty, Jr., pitcher -- With Rice on the mound, the Lions had a chance in every game. In 113 innings pitched, she finished with 128 strikeouts and walked only 11. She went 5-1 in county play to help earn the Lions a share of the county title with North Carroll. Along with throwing a no-hitter early in the season, one of her biggest wins was a 5-4 decision at North Carroll. Rice has a number of different pitches to keep opponents off-balance and will be the pitcher to watch next season.
* Kathleen Tunney, North Carroll, Jr., infield -- North Carroll coach Rich Harvey needed a leadoff hitter at the start of the season and found a good one in Tunney, who hit .382 with 22 runs scored. A first-team All-Central Maryland Conference selection, she also provided good range and a steady glove at second base.
* Laura Watson, North Carroll, Sr., outfield -- Watson quietly enjoyed a fine all-around season hitting sixth and playing in center for the Class 2A state runner-up Panthers. Watson, a first-team All-Central Maryland Conference selection, hit .300 with a homer, 14 RBIs and 12 more runs scored. She was very fluid in the outfield, catching almost everything that came close to her, and had a good arm.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: KANDI LIPPY
North Carroll, senior, pitcher -- Last Friday's effort against Parkside in the Class 2A state finals -- a 3-2 loss -- showed the kind of player Lippy was for the Panthers throughout her career.
She limited a Parkside team that scored 254 runs in its first 22 games to three and provided the Panthers with nearly all of their offense by going 3-for-3 with a triple, one run scored and one RBI.
The repeat Carroll Player of the Year was unhittable at times, pitching six shutouts and 10 other times limiting opponents to two runs or less. She allowed just one run in three postseason games going into the state final.
Lippy's consistency was a luxury for North Carroll coach Rich Harvey. "With Kandi out there, you could play the one-run game and sacrifice. We didn't have to play for the big inning," Harvey said. "If we'd get a couple of runs early, we knew we were in pretty good shape."
Almost as impressive is how she improved offensively this year. Last season, Lippy had to talk Harvey into letting her bat. This year, batting third, she led the team in hitting (.464) and drove in 15 runs. The Baltimore Sun 1995 All-Carroll County Softball Team was selected by Glenn Graham after consultation with staff writers and area coaches.