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1997 SOFTBALL PREVIEW : FREEWAY LEAGUE

March 11, 1997|WENDY WITHERSPOON

Buena Park: 8-16, 1-9 in 1996. Coach: Brenda Sapp (eighth year, 64-82-2). Prospects: The Coyotes should make an improvement this season with the return of senior pitcher Alicia Davison, who sat out most of last season with an injury. Davison, who has committed to Toledo, had a 0.58 earned-run average and 142 strikeouts in 157 innings as a sophomore. She had a 0.41 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings last season before she was injured. Other returning senior starters are: outfielder Rachel Bashore (.317), third baseman Dana Galeener (.276) and first baseman Brandi Tatman (.262). Two freshmen who will start are second baseman Lolani Alvarez and pitcher/shortstop Stephanie Beltran.

Fullerton: 8-19, 3-7 in 1996. Coach: Paula Dobrowolski (first year). Prospects: Dobrowolski takes over for seven-year coach Scott Weber. The Indians return first-team all-league shortstop Katie Maggard and five other starters: second baseman Ruby Acosta, right fielder Charlene Aguilera, center fielder Kristi McEnterfer, catcher Ali Feuchter and first baseman Jill Pisani. Kelley Frisby and Angela Sorrell will share the pitching duties.

La Habra: 21-8, 10-0 in 1996. Coach: Sue Briquelet (sixth year, 97-36). Prospects: The Highlanders are a hungry group of veterans who advanced to the second round of the Division II playoffs before losing to eventual champion Saugus. They return seven starters and are led by fourth-year varsity players Heather Tom (.408, 15 RBIs) at first base and Shelley Salas (.409, 13 stolen bases) at shortstop. Junior catcher Jenny Topping (.605, seven home runs, 42 RBIs) is a returning all-county selection. Topping and first-team all-league selection Christina Gibbons (0.55 ERA) give La Habra a strong battery.

Sonora: 17-13-1, 5-5 in 1996. Coach: John Link (first year). Prospects: Link, former Sonora baseball coach, takes over for seven-year coach Gary Hunt. The Raiders are an experienced group and return eight starters from last season, when they finished third in league and lost a wild-card game against Diamond Bar in the Division II tournament. Key returners are Florida State-bound catcher Jennifer Brown, pitcher Georgeanne Wisen (17-8), center fielder Jackie Andersen, left fielder Erica Lewis and shortstop Jennifer Link (.302).

Sunny Hills: 11-13, 6-4 in 1996. Coach: Kathy Bevill (fourth year, 33-36). Sunny Hills lost three-time all-league pitcher Jennifer Deane as well as first baseman/catcher Shannon Sportsman after last season. The Lancers have good speed and solid defense but will need to work on hitting. Shortstop Stephanie Newhouse and right fielder Hele Kaawa will need to step up on offense. Susan Kim will replace Sportsman at catcher and Jennifer Hodgden will step in for Deane. Two speedy freshmen will bat leadoff and second, Erin Jones and Tiffany Luzzi.

Troy: 15-11, 5-5 in 1996. Coach: Jeff Chambers (second year, 15-11). Prospects: Chambers worked wonders with the Warriors in his first year, after he inherited a team that was winless in league and won two games total in 1995. Troy tied for third place last season and eight starters return from that team. Key returners are all-league outfielders Mindy Inman (.308) and Jessica Pitts (.285). Jean Ann Harley and Kristin Hodges will share the catching duties. Pitchers will be freshman Lindsey Knoff and senior Anni Sharp, who played junior varsity last season after transferring from Sunny Hills.

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