All eyes will be on this senior, who will replace multiyear All-County pitcher Marissa Heuer. In her relief appearances last spring, Dingess compiled an 0.72 ERA, striking out 32 batters. Now that she’s in the spotlight, coach Meredith McAlister believes she’ll be one of the top 10 pitchers in the state.
The Cougars’ ace had 148 strikeouts, a 1.88 ERA and a 19-2 record last season. Combine that with her bat, hitting .663 with 51 runs, 14 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 37 RBIs and 17 stolen bases, and Chesapeake might have a shot for an even deeper run with Downin leading the charge. She had 61 hits, which would have been a state record if Campbell Kline hadn’t hit eight more.
McDonogh, senior, catcher
Gemmill, a three-time All-IAAM selection, powered the Eagles to their first conference crown in nearly two decades with the winning run against Archbishop Spalding last season. Gemmill (.360 batting average, 21 RBIs and four home runs) is committed to Virginia Tech.
Heagy is bound to remain in the Mavericks’ record books for a long time. The second-team All-Metro selection last spring batted .482 with 30 RBIs and will be key in turning last year’s Class 2A state finalists into this year’s 2A state champions.
Severna Park, senior, shortstop
Kline, a two-time Capital Gazette Softball Player of the Year and last year’s Gatorade Maryland Softball Player of the Year, batted .750 with 69 hits (state record), 53 runs, 12 doubles, six triples, eight home runs, 39 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. The Maryland commit is bringing an even faster swing to the plate this year, per McAlister, which she’ll need to get the 19 hits she needs to break another state record.
The All-Howard County first-team member thrived with a .483 batting average and 25 RBIs last spring and helped turn five double plays. As the sun rises on a Centennial squad gaining more experience, Marcotte will be front and center.
Ritter, a two-time All-Metro first-team selection, sparked the Patriots’ IAAM A playoffs run with 36 RBIs, nine home runs, nine triples, seven doubles and 26 runs (.590). The Virginia Tech commit was equally sticky with the glove and on the base paths, robbing four would-be home runs at the wall and stealing 12 bases.
Glenelg, senior, pitcher
The Gladiators relied on Stetser’s arm last spring, and that isn’t likely to change this year. The multiyear first-team All-Howard County pitcher completed a 12-5 county record with a 2.33 ERA and 70 strikeouts over 89 1/3 innings.
Fielding either corner of the diamond, Turner was equally effective for the Gophers last season. At the plate, she notched 32 RBIs, seven doubles, four triples and five home runs with a .640 batting average.
Long Reach, senior, outfielder
Walker found consistency in her swing last spring to become one of Howard County’s most formidable sluggers. She topped the area’s batting leaders with a .733 average and 44 hits in league games.