1998 All-Metro softball teams

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Player of the Year

Michelle Whelan, Glen Burnie, senior, pitcher: Whatever was necessary for the Gophers to reach their ultimate goal, Whelan ++ was there to do her best. It turned out to be a lot of this and a lot of that and by season's end, which for the Gophers meant the Class 4A state championship, Whelan had indeed done everything. On the mound, she finished 7-1 with a 1.09 ERA. At bat, she hit .387 as leadoff hitter, stole 15 bases in 15 tries, scored 20 runs and drove in nine more. She was an unselfish leader, and her team-first approach was contagious and vital in the championship run. When it counted most in the playoffs, Whelan was at her versatile best. In three of five playoff wins, Whelan, who will attend Anne Arundel Community College, scored the game's first run. In the other two, she drove in important runs -- two with a bases-loaded single in the last of the seventh to provide a 4-3 win over Chesapeake in the region opener and another in the 3-1 state final win over Roosevelt with a two-out bunt. In 13 postseason chances at either shortstop, center field or on the mound, Whelan was without error. She also won two playoff games, one a 4-0 shutout against county rival Severna Park in the region final.

Coach of the Year

Bob Broccolino, Glen Burnie: About a half-hour is all it took. His Gophers had just won the school's Class 4A state title, the awards were handed out and, shortly after, there was Broccolino, gladly shaving off the mustache he has had since 1971. "Remember this day, and remember the special group this is," he told his players afterward, dabbing for a mustache that was no longer there. Broccolino is quick to say he has been blessed with much talent that has come through the Glen Burnie system in his 12 years. But to go 181-52 without a losing season is a clear indication he's doing plenty right. That was particularly apparent this season, as his Gophers showed the confidence, poise and unity needed to claim the Class 4A state title, his second as coach and the school's third. The Gophers had every situation covered in a difficult road to the final, winning one close game after another, always able to get the big out or big hit. Their unselfish play was a direct reflection of Broccolino's leadership. "This was a dream season," said Broccolino. "When we won it in 1989, we were just so much better than most teams. This year was hard work and togetherness. We weren't as superior but always found a way to win."

The first team

Amanda Donaldson, Severna Park, junior, pitcher: A repeat first-team All-Metro performer, Donaldson was the tough luck thrower in pitching-rich Anne Arundel County this season. Despite a lack of offense most of the way, the Falcons were always in a game with this talented junior pitching. She went 11-7 on the season with a 0.48 ERA and struck out 138 batters in 117 innings. She was a catalyst offensively as well, hitting .433 with 19 RBIs, 18 runs and 12 hits for extra bases.

Kellie Evans, North County, junior, pitcher: er: The most dominant and complete player in Anne Arundel County for much of the season, Evans was able to carry the Knights during long stretches. A three-year starter and two-time team MVP, she hit .481 with 25 RBIs and 18 runs scored, finishing with eight extra base-hits and seven stolen bases. On the mound, Evans went 8-3 with an 0.89 ERA and struck out 68 in 71 innings.

Melanie Siler, C. Milton Wright, senior, pitcher: Everything expected of Siler from the day she arrived at C.M. Wright in 1995, she has delivered in impressive fashion. Siler was the driving force behind the Mustangs' first trip to the state tournament in 10 years, finishing with a 19-4 record, 133 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings and a 1.21 ERA. She threw six shutouts and four two-hitters and held opponents to a .193 batting average. An All-Metro second team selection a year ago, Siler also set school records for career strikeouts (488), innings pitched (503 1/3 ) and fewest walks (115). Her 61 career wins tied a school record. At the plate, Siler batted .357 with 12 RBIs, five doubles and two home runs. "Her impact over four seasons has given us our reputation back," said coach Joe Dunch.

Stacy Smith, Northeast, junior, pitcher: Whenever Smith was on the mound for the No. 2 Eagles, success was guaranteed. From a pure pitching standpoint, Smith accomplished more than any other Anne Arundel thrower. She was 9-0 with an 0.43 ERA and won against North County's Kellie Evans, Glen Burnie's Michelle Whelan and Severna Park's Amanda Donaldson, all fellow first-teamers. She also came up with a big effort in the Eagles' region playoff opener, knocking off state power Northern-Calvert and their senior ace Candice Rice, 2-1.

Bonnie Nevin, Glen Burnie, senior, catcher: er: When Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino and his staff were deciding on who to pitch in the state championship game, they didn't hesitate to ask Nevin's thoughts. Her knowledge of the game and how well she worked with her pitchers was only half of what she brought behind the plate. Offensively, she hit .460 with 14 RBIs and six doubles at the clean-up spot for the Gophers. Perhaps most impressive was the fact she didn't strike out once until the Class 4A state semifinal game. That was one strikeout in 63 at-bats.

Brooke Clyde, Chesapeake, senior, infielder: er: Recently-retired Chesapeake coach Dennis Thiele said in his 25 years of coaching he has never had only one senior on his roster -- until this year. He added if there was any one player he would like to have in that situation, it was Clyde. The Cougars' only senior knew a big burden would be placed on her this season. She responded, hitting .500 with 30 RBIs -- both Anne Arundel County highs -- and scoring 20 runs. She also had a reliable glove at short, finishing with a .875 fielding percentage.

Pam Goldberg, Glenelg, senior, infielder: The strong-armed shortstop, a three-year first-team All-Howard County selection, batted .413 and had a .600 slugging percentage, both second bests on the area's No. 8 team. She tied for the team high with 31 hits, including two doubles, three triples and two home runs, and led the team with 30 RBIs. No one plays the game harder and with more determination. "Pam is the most inspirational leader that I have ever worked with," said Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan. "She can do that because she has the athletic ability to back it and teach." Goldberg will play third base next season at Lake City Community College in Florida, a top softball school.

Kristin Hooker, Glenelg, senior, infielder: A three-year first-team All-Howard County selection, Hooker led her team in batting average (.500), slugging percentage (.629), doubles (five), walks and stolen bases (22). She tied for the team lead with 31 hits and drove home 24 runs. She was just as good playing first base. "We did not have a ball go by first base this year in 193 chances," said Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan. "I have never seen a defensive first baseman like her." Hooker is undecided if she will play softball at Radford University.

Marianne Ogle, Glen Burnie, senior,infielder: er: Ogle, a natural third baseman, confessed she didn't particularly like playing shortstop. But when teammate Michelle Whelan was pitching, that's where Ogle lined up. She didn't complain once. It was that kind of unselfish attitude that played big in the Gophers' third Class 4A state title this season. With the quickness to play third and the range to play short, Ogle proved to be a versatile commodity. She finished with a .910 fielding percentage and hit .338 with 13 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Sabrina Ryals, Spalding, junior, infielder: A three-time first-team All-Metro selection, Ryals has once again done a lot of everything to lead the Cavaliers. She hit .366 with 24 RBIs and 23 runs scored and was 7-1 with a 0.64 ERA and one save in her first regular season on the mound. At shortstop, she had great range, a strong arm and a good understanding of the situations. Coach Linda Taylor said Ryals always brought a lot of focus to the diamond and teammates often followed her lead.

Caroline Jones, Glenelg, senior, outfielder: Jones is the complete package: excellent student and solid athlete. The left-handed center fielder had 27 hits (including a double and three triples) and batted .443 (second on the Gladiators). She hit .818 in the playoffs as Glenelg advanced to the state tournament for the first time. Jones, a two-time first-team All-Howard County selection, is steady in the outfield. "She always catches the ball and has the arm to throw it wherever it needs to go," said Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan. Jones, who finished with a 3.93 grade point average (she got one B in four years) and was ranked No. 3 in her class, will major in engineering at Cornell University. She has't decided if she will try out for the softball team.

Amanda Stefanski, Spalding, senior, outfielder: fielder: Stefanski started coming into her own at the end of last season. This spring, she picked up right where she left off and then some. A three-year varsity player, Stefanski anchored the outfield with error-free ball in center field and was just as strong at the plate, hitting .467 with 21 RBIs, 18 runs and 16 stolen bases.

Suzanne Smith, Mount de Sales, senior, outfielder: Batting leadoff for the Sailors this season, Smith hit .338 and led the team in slugging percentage (.534), on-base percentage (.475), runs (21), triples (five) and stolen bases (13). She also had 19 RBIs (second on the team) and seven assists with no errors in center field. In her four years at the Mount, Smith has seen the Sailors go from 0-17 her freshman year to Catholic League tournament champion this season. A four-time All-Catholic League pick and a three-time All-City/Baltimore County first-team selection, Smith hit .486 for her career. She will attend UMBC and major in sports medicine.

Final Top 15

1. Glen Burnie (18-4)

2. Northeast (14-3)

3. Mount de Sales (16-5)

4. Spalding (20-4)

5. North County (12-7)

6. Severna Park (15-8)

7. Chesapeake-AA (11-8)

8. Glenelg (19-4)

9. Arundel (13-7)

10. McDonogh (14-6)

11. River Hill (18-4)

12. Howard (13-6)

13. Centennial (14-8)

14. Franklin (14-3)

15. Wilde Lake (14-7)

Other teams considered: North Carroll 13-4; Institute of Notre Dame 12-9; Seton Keough 16-7

Athlete of the Year

luncheon The 32nd Annual Baltimore Sun High School Athlete of the Year Awards Luncheon will be held Monday at Martin's West, starting at 11: 30 a.m. Athletes selected during the 1997-98 school year are invited along with their coach and both parents or any two relatives. One male and one female will be chosen as Athletes of the Year and the winners will be announced at the luncheon. For questions, call Sam Davis at 410-332-6534.

Team selection

The Baltimore Sun 1998 All-Metro softball teams were selected by the staff after consulting with area coaches.

Pub Date: 6/02/98

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