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Softball preseason poll

Howard's Berit Batterton prepares for a hit to come in her direction during a regional playoff game at Sherwood.
Howard's Berit Batterton prepares for a hit to come in her direction during a regional playoff game at Sherwood. (Jon Sham/Baltimore Sun Media Gro / Patuxent Publishing)

1. Eastern Tech

Coach: Jack Meyers

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Last season: 25-0, ranked No. 1

Postseason: Class 2A state champions

Outlook: Eastern Tech has the depth to make another title run, especially with the return of catcher Brooke Samios-Uy, center fielder Giselle Alvarez and first baseman Allison Meyers, among other standouts.

2. Northeast

Coach: Joe Hart

Last season: 21-1, ranked No. 2

Postseason: Class 3A South Region quarterfinals

Outlook: The Eagles have five returning starters from last year's dominant team and adds some talented freshmen and sophomores. The lineup is built around Ashley Prince, Mindy Weisgerber and Coral Dittmar.

3. Seton Keough

Coach: Chuck Snee

Last season: 16-3, ranked No. 5

Postseason: Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions

Outlook: The Gators have just four returning starters but should be in the mix to repeat as conference champions. Pitcher Kelly Lynch returns after going 16-3 with 11 shutouts, and senior shortstop Amber Cosgrove is in the cleanup spot after batting .509 with 30 RBIs.

4. Mount Hebron

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Coach: Chuck Struhar

Last season: 16-4, ranked No. 4

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinals

Outlook: The Vikings have the depth to compete for county, regional and state titles, and are led by Evvie Buehlman, an All-Metro first-team pick last season as a pitcher-outfielder. Maddie Bennett also will help anchor the lineup.

5. Howard

Coach: Chuck Rice

Last season: 19-2, ranked No. 6

Postseason: Class 4A North quarterfinals

Outlook: The Lions have five returning starters, including junior third baseman Berit Batterton, who batted .400 and led the team with five doubles, three triples, 26 RBIs and a .955 fielding percentage.

6. Broadneck

Coach: Deanna Romeo-Hamilton

Last season: 14-8, ranked No. 13

Postseason: Class 4A East quarterfinals

Outlook: The Bruins will be a force in 4A East with eight returning starters, including pitcher Ally Thompson, who finished the season with 140 strikeouts, and a 1.78 ERA and batted .351 with 11 RBIs and 17 runs scored.

7. C. Milton Wright

Coach: Russell Kovach

Last season: 17-7, ranked No. 7

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinals

Outlook: The Mustangs are primed for another deep playoff run after falling just short last season. They return Emily Luzetsky (.466 average) Cat Kim (.475) and Caroline Weimer (.414 and 26 RBIs).

8. River Hill

Coach: Marni Rosenbaum

Last season: 16-5, ranked No. 10

Postseason: Class 3A East quarterfinals

Outlook: The Hawks have eight returning starters and could challenge for a state title with third baseman Kinsey Johnson (.434, seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and 25 RBIs) and pitcher Kristy Selby (9-0, 1.41 ERA and 51 strikeouts).

9. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Laura Trumpler

Last season: 13-5

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinals

Outlook: The Cavaliers will try to recapture the conference crown with a strong a nucleus of returning players, including the versatile Ali Caulkins — a four-year varsity starter.

10. Chesapeake-AA

Coach: Don Ellenberger

Last season: 17-7, ranked No. 4

Postseason: Class 4A state final

Outlook: The Cougars have been a perennial power in 4A East, and that should continue this season with another talented squad that includes third baseman Hunter Royston.

11. Perry Hall

Coach: Brian Radcliffe

Last season: 16-4, ranked No. 9

Postseason: Class 4A North final

Outlook: The Gators are led by one of the top outfielders in the area in Hannah Lewis, who batted .568 with 25 runs and 10 RBIs, while Miranda Lobus will help anchor the rotation after going 12-4 with 122 strikeouts last season.

12. Mount de Sales

Coach: Pete Waskiewicz

Last season: 12-7

Postseason: IAAM A Conference final

Outlook: The Sailors have a solid group of seven returning players. Two freshmen could round out the starting lineup, which includes four-year starter Abby Zalucki, Emily Fitzsimmons, Hannah Cimerola and Taylor Forgen.

13. Hereford

Coach: Laura Blama

Last season: 14-4, ranked No. 8

Postseason: Class 2A North quarterfinals

Outlook: The Bulls will have to overcome the loss of some pitching, but they do have six returning starters, including shortstop Erin Collins and second baseman Caprice Roche.

14. Manchester Valley

Coach: Mike Hernandez

Last season: 16-6, ranked No. 15

Postseason: Class 1A state champions

Outlook: The Mavericks have the talent to repeat as state champions. Pitcher Madison Grimm and catcher Kayla Geho make up one of the top duos in the area, while shortstop Jessie Swistock also will boost the offense.

15. Reservoir

Coach: Julie Frisvold

Last season: 14-8

Postseason: Class 3A East quarterfinals

Outlook: The Gators put together a solid run and will look to carry that momentum into this season. They have an outstanding battery with senior pitcher Emily Wang and catcher Anna Bennett.

Other teams considered: Glenelg (16-6), Havre de Grace (13-3), Liberty (17-3), North Harford (14-5), Severna Park (15-9), Sparrows Point (17-3)

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