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2019 Baltimore-area softball preseason Top 15 poll

2019 Baltimore-area softball preseason Top 15 poll
McDonogh teammates celebrate on the field as the last out is recorded in their 1-0 win over Archbishop Spalding during the IAAM A-Conference softball championship at Harford Community College on Saturday, May 12. (Brian Krista/Staff)
1. Severna Park

Coach: Meredith McAlister

Last season: 23-2, No. 1

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Postseason: Class 4A state champion

Outlook: Armed with senior shortstop and Maryland commit Campbell Kline (.750 batting average last spring) and an abundance of seniors, Severna Park is well-equipped for success. After outscoring playoff opponents 41-1, the Falcons graduated only four players. McAlister believes senior pitcher Kylie Dingess is ready to step in as the Falcons’ ace.

2. Chesapeake-AA

Coach: Don Ellenberger

Last season: 21-2, No. 2

Postseason: Class 3A East semifinalist

Outlook: The Cougars entered the postseason as the top seed after an undefeated regular season, but were knocked out by rival Northeast. This year, Chesapeake — led by senior pitcher Haley Downin (1.88 ERA, .663 batting average last spring) — will be a formidable competitor in Anne Arundel County and 3A despite an influx of youth to its ranks.

3. Eastern Tech

Coach: Jack Meyers

Last season: 14-4, No. 10

Postseason: Class 2A state finalist

Outlook: The Mavericks, who return five starters, look to take one step further than they did last season. Senior first baseman Abbie Heagy hit .482 with 30 RBIs last season, while senior second baseman Savannah Bucalo (.348, 14 RBIs) helped turn six double plays last spring.

4. McDonogh

Coach: John Folfas

Last season: 10-5, No. 7

Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

Outlook: The Eagles graduated just two seniors and return all nine starters. Virginia Tech commit and catcher Madison Gemmill (.360, four home runs, 20 RBIs last season) and title-winning pitcher Kearstyn Chapman (.352, three home runs, 14 RBIs) lead a deep roster of skilled multiposition players.

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5. C. Milton Wright

Coach: Jim French

Last season: 16-5, No. 6

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinalist

Outlook: Six starting seniors plan to bring the Mustangs to their sixth state appearance. Stepping up to fill All-Metro infielder Emily Kim’s shoes are two Salisbury commits — three-time All-Harford County first baseman Lauren Meyers (.444 batting average in 2018) batting cleanup and leadoff hitter Meghan Reed (.402).

6. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Delaney Bell

Last season: 10-7, No. 13

Postseason: IAAM A Conference finalist

Outlook: Spalding will have a new look under first-year coach Bell, but otherwise returns the main core of its lineup. Senior catcher Angela Sena threw out 12 attempted base-stealers last spring with a .979 fielding percentage while hitting .373 (19 hits, 13 RBIs, three doubles, a triple and two home runs).

7. Marriotts Ridge

Coach: Renard Parson

Last season: 17-4, No. 4

Postseason: Class 2A South finalist

Outlook: The Mustangs graduated just two seniors, and they’re still primed to repeat as Howard County champions. Of the nine players and seven starters returning, senior Molly Nies (.597 batting average in 2018) and juniors Madi Costigan (.482) and Megan Hughes (.467) intend to lead from the circle and the batter’s box as Marriotts Ridge aims to compete for a region and state championship.

8. Howard

Coach: Chuck Rice

Last season: 18-6, No. 5

Postseason: Class 4A state semifinalist

Outlook: Senior outfielder Julia Colton and sophomore pitcher Samantha Hobert (49 Ks, 1.96 ERA over 64 1/3 innings in county play in 2018), as well as junior catcher Paige Eakes and sophomore shortstop Lindsey Smith, will have to keep Howard contending in an increasingly difficult county. The Lions bid farewell to only two starters but still field a young team.

9. Towson

Coach: Jon Salvino

Last season: 12-6, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A North finalist

Outlook: The Generals return 14 of last season’s 18-member squad, of which eight are seniors. With that kind of arsenal, it’s difficult for any one player to stand out, but the two who will keep it all grounded are ace Jessie Leatherwood (.529 batting average last spring), who played through injuries to the playoffs, and Taylor Brumagin (.576).

10. John Carroll

Coach: Sherry Hudson

Last season: 10-7, not ranked

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: Led by two-time All-Metro center fielder Emma Ritter’s powerful bat (.590, 36 RBIs, nine home runs in 2018), the Patriots will be a resilient squad in a tough IAAM A Conference. A deep pitching staff will boost John Carroll, including senior Emma Kropkowski, who led the Patriots to the championship in 2017 but missed last season because of injury.

11. Sparrows Point

Coach: Duke Vickery

Last season: 18-3, No. 3

Postseason: Class 1A state semifinalist

Outlook: The players that won the program’s first Baltimore County championship are more than capable of doing more this season, even with the loss of pitcher Jessica Miller. Sophomore Karen Fritzges will step into the circle, backed on the base paths by third baseman Megan Hamp (.446 batting average, eight doubles, four triples, three home runs last season), Sidney Monaldi (.420, five doubles) and junior Alyssa Shiflett. The Pointers face an uphill schedule filled with larger schools and two meetings with No. 3 Eastern Tech.

12. Century

Coach: Stephanie Haines

Last season: 13-5, not ranked

Postseason: Class 2A West semifinalist

Outlook: Though the loss of Olivia Carmack will sting, the 2018 county champion Knights field six returning starters that numbered the All-County first- and second-team rosters last spring, including Emily Kain (.414, four home runs, 12 RBIs, 35 runs in 2018) and Brianna Kessler (.426, 18 RBIs, five doubles), who’ll strengthen the top of the lineup. Both pitchers and catchers skew young but are expected to aid the defending county champions.

13. Glenelg

Coach: Shannon Riley

Last season: 14-6, not ranked

Postseason: Class 2A South semifinalist

Outlook: Gladiators ace Amy Stetser returns for her final season after a standout 70-strikeout year that earned her back-to-back All-Howard County nods. Now she and the other five returners, including sophomore shortstop Sage Huber (.571, 32 hits last spring), must step up and guide the five freshman on the roster.

14. Catonsville

Coach: Steve McCleary

Last season: 14-5, No. 12

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Postseason: Class 4A North semifinalist

Outlook: The Comets plan to still be swinging come late May. With junior outfielder Don’ya Truesdale (.393, 20 RBIs, five home runs in 2018) and Erin Kreis (.501, 17 RBIs, seven doubles) balancing the Comets’ offensive and defensive efforts, McCleary expects Catonsville to journey deep into the playoffs and to compete within Baltimore County at the highest level.

15. Northeast

Coach: Joe Hart

Last season: 15-9, No. 15

Postseason: Class 3A East finalist

Outlook: After finishing short of a state tournament berth in 2018, the Eagles got younger. With only two seniors, including California transfer Gabbi Baquol, new pitchers Mallorie Hetzel, Cecilia Swarthout and Taylor Norfolk and center fielder Makayla Belanger will have to take the lead if Northeast hopes to go further this May.

Others considered: Dulaney (10-9, not ranked), Glen Burnie (17-7, not ranked), Lansdowne (14-3, No. 11), Reservoir (17-7, No. 10), South River (16-5, No. 9), Westminster (13-7, No. 14).

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