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1997 SOFTBALL PREVIEW : SOUTH COAST LEAGUE

March 11, 1997|PAUL McLEOD

Capistrano Valley: 13-15, 6-4 in 1996. Coach: Ron Willms (13th year, 145-147). Prospects: Senior third baseman Rachel Forbes (.353, 15 runs), a first team all-league choice in 1996, leads a list of five returning starters. Catcher Sabrina Sexton and pitcher Jennifer Sutherland (8-11, 1.79 earned-run average) make a strong battery. Sophomore Kristen Mullen (5-4, 2.05) was the second pitcher. Junior outfielder Connie Spence is the other starter back. Other returners include sophomore infielder Jen Cohen, junior first baseman Vanessa LaTorre and utility Kristen LoCurto, and senior outfielder Renee Peterson. Newcomers are freshmen Melissa Hara, Alexis Smith and sophomore Katie Smith.

Dana Hills: 9-18, 2-8 in 1996. Coaches: Courtney Pilchman, Margo Melendrez (first year). Prospects: Nearly every player is back, led by all-league second-team shortstop/center fielder Leslie Punelli. Pitchers Jennifer Carlisle (7-8) and Loren Thornburg return, as do second baseman Erin Gomez, catcher/third baseman Liz Letter, right fielder Karlie Noyes, first baseman Carissa Reiswig, third baseman Jeanine Reiswig and left fielder Heather Ruby and utility players Nicole Robbins and Breana Teubner.

Mater Dei: 30-1, 10-0 in 1996. Coach: Doug Myers (fourth year, 76-12). Prospects: The defending Southern Section Division I champions are deep enough to repeat, although several players have had nagging early-season injuries. Sophomore pitcher Marissa Young (18-1, 0.06; .402, 35 runs batted in), Division I and Times' player of the year, returns. Others back include outfielders Shealee Dunavan (.346, 20 RBIs), Kendra Meano (.444) and Jodi Schicker (.412, 25 runs, 23 RBIs), second baseman Kelsey Kollen (.583, 39 runs), first baseman Monica Lucatero (.325, 20 RBIs), catcher Courtney Ryan (.315) and shortstop Robin Walker (.363, 23 runs, 24 RBIs). The Monarchs, section finalists two years in a row, begin the season as the state's top-ranked team.

Mission Viejo: 10-14, 4-6 in 1996. Coach: Ted Catalano (first year). Prospects: Seven starters and 10 players overall return, but the Diablos' pitching is untested. Returning are sophomores Dani Durkin, Kristy Halagarda and pitcher Nicole Marian (8-7), juniors Alyssa Mauro, an all-league outfielder, Suzanne Erickson, and Katie Sakata, and seniors Brie Ford, Melissa McIntyre, Joyce Reid and Amy Squires. Freshmen Coelette Chenier, Amy Erwin, Leah Lautenschlager and Jessica Levens add depth. "This is a great freshman class," Catalano said.

San Clemente: 3-24, 3-7 in 1996. Coach: Bill Everhart (second year, 22-32). Prospects: The Tritons were 18-9 on the field, but had to forfeit 15 victories for using an ineligible player. Everhart feels the Tritons can challenge Mater Dei for the league title. The first-team all-league battery of pitcher Stephanie Swenson (12-7 before forfeits, 1.03 ERA) and catcher Melissa Naylon returns. Naylon batted .413 with 20 RBIs. Also back are Christie Bennett, Tara Frazier, Jessica Hellyer, Nicole Henry, Wendy Lewis, Lisa Neff and Nikki Shannafelt. Freshman Ashley Haight, a pitcher/infielder has shown promise.

Trabuco Hills: 11-13, 5-5 in 1996. Coach: Paul Beidler (first year). Six starters, but only one senior, return, including all-league junior catcher Megan Kirby. Third baseman Jessica Jarnigan, second baseball Lori Kwiatkowski, shortstop Jennifer Thompson (three home runs), and utility players Haley Glover (.348) and Morgan Maslowski are back. Others returning include outfielder Jody Davy, utility player Angelina Perez and pitcher Vanessa Saavedra. Newcomers include junior catcher Carrie Fill and sophomore pitcher Stephanie Walsh.

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