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SOFTBALL 1997 PREVIEW

The Top 10

March 11, 1997|MARTIN HENDERSON and ERIC MADDY

1. Mater Dei

The defending Division I champions returned nearly intact, including pitcher Marissa Young, county player of the year. Though there's a slight question about her after off-season tendinitis, the Monarchs have credible backups and enough offense and defense to still crack the top five.

2. Pacifica

Amanda Freed and Toni Mascarenas give the Mariners perhaps the best 1-2 punch from the pitching circle in the Southern Section. When this duo faced Mater Dei two years ago, they beat the Monarchs three times.

3. Foothill

OK, the Knights have taken a few hits with the graduation of Marie Gieron, Marisa Holmes and Amie Barnes and the transfer of Robin Tessman. But Lindsay Fossatti is still a pretty good pitcher, and shortstop Jaime Clark and center fielder Lauren Bauer are still two of the county's best position players.

4. Woodbridge

The Warriors have been to the Division II finals the last two seasons, and eight starters are back from last year's squad, including their two seniors, third baseman Lizzy Lemire and first baseman Ashley Boone, and junior pitcher Christy Robitaille.

5. Fountain Valley

The Barons have always been known as a slugging team, and with senior Lindsey Collins back, they should have plenty of punch again. Hotshot freshman pitcher Colleen Burdick has been touted as the next Marissa Young. If that's true, then this team is scary.

6. Westminster

A nice little team that crept into last year's top 10 returns intact, including slugging shortstop Krissy Keene and the county's preeminent senior leadoff batter, Washington-bound Kelly Hauxhurst.

7. Canyon

The Comanches put together a run last year in which they reached the Division I semifinals. If they pick up where they left off--and there are six returning starters who get that chance--then Veronica Lopez and teammates could be ones to watch.

8. Irvine

Nine starters from a team that won 22 games return. Last year, they committed more errors than opponents; if they make it easier on themselves, they could win even more.

9. Los Alamitos

If the pitching is solid in front of a trademark steady defense, then the offense--led by Cyndi Tredway--should put up sufficient numbers for the Griffins to excel once again.

10. El Toro

Dana Gulick and Jennifer Hamer have graduated, but the Chargers are well-coached, have a decent pitcher in Suzanne Guy and lead a pack of about eight teams that could make the top 10.

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