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2017 Softball Preseason Poll

1. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Nicole Trumpler

Last season: 17-4, ranked No. 2

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Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

Outlook: The Cavaliers lose All-Metro first-team pick Katie Seidl, who went 16-3 with a 1.86 ERA as a pitcher and hit .528 with 45 RBIs to help to them win their ninth IAAM A Conference titles since 2000. But Seidl's batterymate, Angela Sena, returns after a standout freshman season. Spalding must also find a replacement for All-Metro second-team pick Sammi Johnson at shortstop, but a solid mix of veterans and newcomers should keep the Cavaliers on top.

2. Eastern Tech

Coach: Jack Meyers

Last season: 18-1, No. 1

Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist

Outlook: The Mavericks will have a mostly new infield and outfield after returning six players from last year's team, which claimed the North Region title before falling to state champion La Plata by one run in the Class 2A semifinal. Eastern Tech is losing two of its most powerful hitters in All-Metro first-team first baseman Allison Meyers and All-Metro second-team catcher Sarah Heagy, but junior shortstop Casey Turner (.566 average, 19 RBIs, three home runs in 2016) and Abigail Heagy (.500 average, 19 RBIs, four home runs) are poised to fill those big shoes.

3. C. Milton Wright

Coach: Russ Kovach

Last season: 17-5, No. 4

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinalist

Outlook: Kovach, who has a 153-54 record in nine seasons, was named All-Metro Coach of the Year last spring after leading a young team to the North Region title. While the Mustangs will have to replace four starters — led by All-Metro first-team pick Morghan Fulton, the winningest pitcher in school history — nine players return with playoff experience after deep runs the past two seasons.

4. Northeast

Coach: Joe Hart

Last season: 17-4, No. 3

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinalist

Outlook: The Eagles return their spark plug in All-Anne Arundel County pick and All-Metro second-team selection Maria Weddle. Hart last year called Weddle "one of the best outfielders in the county, if not the best," and Northeast will need her to play like it to defend its first regional title since 2007. The Eagles also keep most of their core intact, returning talented seniors in catcher Alexis Bringle (an All-Anne Arundel County selection last spring), outfielder Sarah Gordon and infielder Kristen Midkiff, as well as junior pitcher Jenna Matulonis.

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5. Mount Hebron

Coach: Chuck Struhar

Last season: 13-5, No. 12

Postseason: Class 3A East finalist

Outlook: The biggest challenge will be replacing All-Metro first-team pick Evvie Buehlman, who's now playing at UMBC. Senior infielder Rylee Kinsella finished among the best in the county in batting average (.542), hits (39), RBIs (33) and doubles (12), and also pitched in relief, keeping the Vikings close in the regional championship game victory over Northeast.

6. Mount de Sales

Coach: Pete Waskiewicz

Last season: 18-7, No. 10

Postseason: IAAM A Conference finalist

Outlook: The Sailors return 2015 All-Metro second-team pick Taylor Forgen, a senior center fielder who batted .475 last season, and junior shortstop Carlie Stocksdale, who hit .410 last season and earned All-IAAM honors. Mount de Sales lost three to graduation, including standout pitcher and All-Metro second-team selection Emily Fitzsimmons, but have a rising star in sophomore first baseman-pitcher Olivia Donaldson. If the pitching staff can rise to the team's high expectations, the Sailors should be able to again compete for the IAAM title.

7. Lansdowne

Coach: Ken Goodman

Last season: 17-4, No. 7

Postseason: Class 3A North finalist

Outlook: Led by junior pitcher Jordyn Goodman (1.70 ERA, 190 strikeouts in the circle, .525 batting average, three home runs at the plate) and senior second baseman Morgan Thayer (.327 batting average, four home runs), the Vikings have two proven stars returning. Goodman is chasing Maude McCourry's school strikeout record of 539, reaching 315 through two seasons. But gone are starting center fielder Emily Wilkens and all-county first-team catcher Hannah Goodman, who now plays for Division II Coker in South Carolina. An inexperienced bunch will have to get up to speed quickly, but sophomore catcher Brianna Eiser, sophomore shortstop Tatum Barrass and junior third baseman Jessie Trott are poised for breakout seasons.

8. Howard

Coach: Chuck Rice

Last season: 15-3, No. 5

Postseason: Class 4A North semifinalist

Outlook: The Lions lose standout pitcher Jamie Bahrijczuk, and will need to find replacements for key seniors Rachel Oliver at catcher and Steph Yarrish at third base, but one of Howard County's top programs can rely on two-way force Ally Wieman, an All-Metro second-team selection last season. Shortstop Emma Braswell and outfielder Shayna Gordon, now juniors, will be counted on for leadership after playing key roles their first two seasons.

9. Severna Park

Coach: Meredith McAlister

Last season: 16-5, No. 5

Postseason: Class 4A East quarterfinalist

Outlook: It will be tough to replace Haley Simonds (15-4 with a 2.76 ERA while batting .532 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs last season to earn All-Metro first-team honors for the second straight year) and All-Anne Arundel County pick Nikki Burke ( .403 with three home runs and just one error defensively in center field). But first baseman Hailey Manning, catcher Cydney Moore and Sarah Sherman, all seniors, form the core of one the area's best teams from a year ago, and will motivated to make up for last season's early playoff exit.

10. Liberty

Coach: Chris Szocik

Last season: 17-4, No. 8

Postseason: Class 2A West finalist

Outlook: The Lions lose three All-Carroll County selections from last season in outfielder Kasey Bost, catcher Meghan Jacobs and infielder Lexi Jones, who combined for 45 RBIs and 19 doubles. That's a lot of offensive production to replace, but with two-time All-Metro first-team pick Lexi Trail back in the circle and senior Brook Fowlkes (.387 batting average, five home runs, team-leading 22 RBIs last spring) back in the lineup, Liberty will be tough to beat.

11. Dulaney

Coach: Dave Barwick

Last season: 14-6, No. 15

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Postseason: Class 4A North finalist

Outlook: The Lions will have to replace All-Metro second-team pick Emma Bevard, who is now pitching at Division II Millersville in Pennsylvania. But last year's impressive group of newcomers, led by sisters Alleshia and Akirra Pullen, transfers from Catonsville, is back and poised to lead one of the area's best offenses. Alleshia, a dynamic center fielder with outstanding speed and range, batted .420 last season with five home runs and 24 RBIs. Akirra is looking to fill Bevard's role as ace. Add sophomore shortstop Allison Dasch, who plays for the highly competitive Black Ice travel team, and Dulaney has the talent to make another run at a state title.

No. 12 Westminster

Coach: Ashley Harford

Last season: 14-5, No. 11

Postseason: Class 3A champion

Outlook: Led by All-Metro Player of the Year Emily Maseth, the Owls won their first state title since 2004 last season. Maseth is gone, but her batterymate, junior catcher Olivia Herman, returns. Herman was among the Carroll County leaders with a .420 batting average last season, along with 10 doubles, one triple, three home runs and 15 RBIs. She, along with senior pitcher-infielder Nicole Barrett, will be relied upon to help lead a team that lost eight seniors.

13. Broadneck

Coach: Deanna Romeo-Hamilton

Last season: 13-7, unranked

Postseason: Class 4A East semifinalist

Outlook: The Bruins are strong up the middle, led by senior pitcher Ally Thompson with senior second baseman Aley O

berdorf and junior shortstop Noelani Herrera patrolling the infield. Madie Christie, who played catched last year, will now be in the outfield. They'll have to replace their table-setter in All-Anne Arundel County outfielder Sarah Givens, who batted .413 with 22 runs and six stolen bases last year in the leadoff spot, but can lean on Thompson.

No. 14 Manchester Valley

Coach: Mike Hernandez

Last season: 14-6, No. 14

Postseason: Class 1A West quarterfinalist

Outlook: The Mavericks won their first Carroll County crown last season after a wild comeback win over Liberty, but had an uncharacteristic stumble in the playoffs, losing in the Class 1A quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Boonsboro after claiming the title the previous two seasons. They'll have to replace all-county and second-team All-Metro pick Kayla Geho, who led the county with 41 RBIs last season with a team-high .522 batting average. Look for senior utility player Lauren Vogel (.443 batting average, six doubles, two triples, 18 RBIs), an all-county pick last year, to lead the way offensively.

No. 15 Hereford

Coach: Laura Blama

Last season: 10-8, unranked

Postseason: Class 2A North finalist

Outlook: The Bulls bring back seven players from last year's team that made a deep run in the playoffs before falling to Eastern Tech. That includes All-Metro first-team pick Erin Collins, who drove in 26 runs, had a 1.38 ERA in 102 innings pitched and had a .950 fielding percentage at shortstop. Senior first baseman Destiny Sutton and freshman outfielder Heaven Henderson add to a balanced mix of youth and experience that, under Collins' leadership, is poised for another shot at a regional title.

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Atholton (13-6), Chesapeake-AA (15-4), Glen Burnie (10-7), McDonogh (12-6), Perry Hall (12-4), Pikesville (13-2)

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