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1997 SOFTBALL PREVIEW : ORANGE LEAGUE

March 11, 1997|PAUL McLEOD

Anaheim: 0-15, 0-10 in 1996. Coach: Kim Jeffers (first year). Prospects: Colonists have won only one league game in the last two seasons. Jeffers, a former travel ball standout who previously taught at Glendale High, hopes to rebuild from the ground up and doesn't think four victories is out of the question this season because pitcher/third baseman Veronica Felix, third baseman Blanca Martinez, left fielder Maria Espitia and center fielder Yadira Moreno, all starters, are back. Newcomers include freshman second baseman Wendy Chacon, sophomore catcher Vera Santana and junior shortstop Haydee Villegas.

Brea Olinda: 21-8, 9-1 in 1996. Coach: Sharen Caperton (13th year, 173-99). Prospects: Geney Orris (28 runs, 21 runs batted in), who led the county with 10 home runs , will be counted on heavily this season as a pitcher, as well. Orris (12-5, 0.53 earned-run average) lost a 16-inning heartbreaker to top-seeded Upland in the Divison II semifinals, 1-0. The No. 2 pitcher, Tiffany Whitton, had a 9-3 record and a 0.70 ERA. Infielders Susan Shiplock (.366, 22 runs, 15 RBIs), Catherine Solorio (.286, .607 slugging average) and Angela Thompson (.238, 18 RBIs) complement Orris offensively. Outfielders Ashley Case and Erin Chang, who had slugging averages of .397 and .436, also return.

Magnolia: 12-12, 7-3 in 1996. Coach: Debi Burlison (ninth year, 100-84). Prospects: Senior pitcher Chrissy Hartman, who has signed with Cal State Fullerton, leads a talented group that is expected to battle for the league title. Seven starters return. Besides Hartman they are: Outfielders Kristi Benedict, Sara Louwsma and Nicole Resch, shortstop Nicole Faircloth, first baseman Christina Ontiveros and third baseman/catcher Wendy Hart. Top newcomers include four players with pitching experience: Sophomore Candace Garcia, freshmen Jessica Louwsma and Katie Todd, and senior Janelle Garjeda, a transfer from Tustin.

Savanna: 7-14, 4-6 in 1996. Coach: Dan Plamann (second year, 7-14). Prospects: The Rebels never played consistently last season, but with five starters back Plamann is optimistic. Junior pitcher Jamie Racke (7-7, 1.53 ERA) returns, as do junior shortstop Michelle Bonner and junior second baseman/outfielder Krystal Gonzalez. Starting senior outfielders include Crystal Zaleski and Stephanie Leach. Top newcomers include catchers Lori Lambaren and Shannon Pendergraft, infielders Laurel Bradley, Sarah Sanchez and Violeta Zavala (who can also pitch) and outfielder Shannon Gamache.

Valencia: 11-19-1, 5-5 in 1996. Coach: Bob Routledge (fourth year, 32-47-1). Prospects: A total of 10 lettermen, including three all-league starters, are expected to help the Tigers battle for the league title. First team all-league first baseman Erica Harding and first-team pitcher Aubrey Zamora, return, as does second-team outfielder/pitcher Allison Jacobs. Others returning include shortstop Kathleen Cunningham, catcher Annie Dedic, outfielder/first baseman Erin Dedic, outfielder Katie Eatherton, outfielder Michelle LeBlanc, second baseman Erin Spurbeck and third baseman Ginger Swanson.

Western: 17-11, 5-5 in 1996. Coach: Carl Whitson (11th year, 123-116). Prospects: Seven players, including four starters return. Pitcher Andrea LaPena (17-10, 0.89) and shortstop Adrienne Ratajczak, a pair of senior all-league first-team choices, are back. Ratajczak has signed with University of the Pacific. Also back are second baseman Jamie Jones and first baseman Brandy Moser. Jennifer Kline will see pinch-hitting duty, while three utility players, Christina Trujillo, Tiffany Vasquez and Anna Marie Zuniga give Whitson lots of options.

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