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1998 SOFTBALL PREVIEW

Sea View League

March 10, 1998

* Corona del Mar: 8-19, 0-10 in 1997. Coach: None. Prospects: The Sea Kings' first-year coach, Robert Weibort, resigned the first week of practice when not enough players showed up to field a team. Only five players went through tryouts, according to Athletic Director Jerry Jelnick, who said many of the players participate in other sports. He got approval from the league to play a junior varsity-only schedule and is hopeful that a varsity team can be fielded in 1999.

* El Toro: 24-8-1, 7-3 in 1997. Coach: Jim Daugherty (13th year, 242-130-1). Prospects: Six starters are back from last year's team, including the county's second-winningest pitcher, senior Suzanne Guy (19-7, 0.79), a second-team all-county pick. Also back are two sophomores, outfielder Laura Joiner (.404, 20 runs, 19 stolen bases) and second baseman Nicole Everett (.296), who batted .367 in league. Junior outfielder Megan Smietana (.299) also finished with a flourish; she batted .455 in league. The Chargers have pitching, defense and speed, but lack punch and experience behind the plate. El Toro would win titles in most leagues, but instead, must to settle for trying to hold off Irvine and Santa Margarita for second place.

* Irvine: 18-10, 7-3 in 1997. Coach: Lisa Baker (ninth year, 158-53-1). Prospects: Edel Leyden (.463, 4 homers, 24 RBIs, 23 runs), a second-team all-county outfielder headed to Illinois, moves to third base where she joins Heather McConnell (.373, San Diego) on the left side. Senior Colleen Young (13-6, 1.07) and Tracy Habiger comprise the battery. Senior Katy Morrison (.362, 19 RBIs) and junior Brett Nakabayashi (.316, 10 stolen bases) provide offense from the outfield.

* Newport Harbor: 9-12, 2-8 in 1997. Coach: Frank Talley (first year). Prospects: With an inexperienced pitcher, freshman Bonnie Kinsey, in the circle, it will be tough for the Sailors to move up in the standings. They do have speed atop the lineup, a strong outfield and experienced infield, Talley said. Double-play tandem Kyle McNichols and junior shortstop Shawn Talley are two-year starters. Sophomore first baseman Kristen Smith and junior third baseman Kristen Urban complete the infield. Michelle Sheridan returns to the outfield.

* Santa Margarita: 15-10-1, 4-6 in 1997. Coach: Tammy Delp (third year, 31-21-1). Prospects: The Eagles are solid on the infield, anchored by senior shortstop Kristen Morley (.500, 24 runs, 29 stolen bases). First baseman Karlie Reiss (.300, 18 RBIs) and Jesseka Bartholomew (.303, 19 RBIs) also contribute. Senior catcher Katie Fenelli (.289) will be a boon to sophomore pitcher Danielle Rodriguez (4-0, 1.47 ERA), who will get few breaks in this league.

* Woodbridge: 34-2, 10-0 in 1997. Coach: Alan Dugard (seventh year, 184-43). Prospects: The defending Division II champion has won 15 consecutive league titles and two of the last three section titles. The Warriors return seven starters who compensate for the loss of all-county third baseman Lizzy Lemire (.407, 33 RBIs, Notre Dame) and first baseman Ashley Boone (.363, 16 RBIs, Florida), both All-CIF players. The offense will come from senior second baseman Nichole Thompson (.445, 16 RBIs, 30 runs, Arizona State), center fielder Lisa Watanabe (.379, 27 runs, 12 RBIs, Harvard) and junior shortstop Natasha Watley (.445, 39 runs, 27 stolen bases). Lindsey Cohan, courted by Colgate, is no slouch at catcher, and Christy Robitaille (24-2, 0.28 ERA, Cal State Fullerton) and junior Tracy Alcaraz (9-0, 0.39 ERA) complete the battery. Erica Greenberg (.396, 11 RBIs) and Kristy Clarke (.203) fill the corner outfield positions. Woodbridge, ranked sixth nationally last year by USA Today, is again considered an elite team.

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