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1998 SOFTBALL PREVIEW

Sunset League

March 10, 1998

* Edison: 10-13, 0-10 in 1997. Coach: Suzy Mathieson (second year, 10-13). Prospects: Melody Glenn from the junior varsity and freshman Kelly Birk should help the Chargers' pitching. They join seven returning starters, including senior outfielder/designated hitter Susanne Goldstone (.442), a first-team all-league player. Senior third baseman Yasmin Mossadeghi (.385, 16 RBIs) and sophomore catcher Jamie Birk (.273, 16 RBIs) were second-teamers.

* Esperanza: 12-11, 4-6 in 1997. Coach: Dennis Fox (first year). Prospects: The Aztecs are hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1988, and might do so with seven seniors and seven returning starters. Among them are Megan Daniel, a sophomore outfielder who was a second team all-league player, and senior shortstop Koral King.

* Fountain Valley: 14-15, 5-5 in 1997. Coach: Cary Baker (16th year, 285-135-2). Prospects: Lovianne Jung (Fresno State), a shortstop from Ocean View, should help Fountain Valley hit better than last year's .207. She joins seven returning starters, including junior catcher Rocky Staniorski (.318, 13 RBIs), a first-team all-league performer. Pitchers Natalie King (4-6, 1.83 ERA), Colleen Burdick (4-5, 1.67 ERA) and Angel Gonzalez (5-3, 1.92 ERA) are among five sophomores who started last season, including center fielder Nicole Rambis (second team all-league). The Barons could return to the top 10 after a disappointing season.

* Huntington Beach: 9-16, 3-7 in 1997. Coach: Amie Stewart (first year). Prospects: Twin sisters Bryn and Jamie Kreipl, two second-team all-league outfielders, begin their senior season anchoring a squad with five returning starters. Pitcher Andrea Nielson and second baseman Debby Slama, both seniors, also return to the starting lineup, as does sophomore shortstop Danielle Stillwell. Infielders Shayna Lipscomb, Kelly Medlen and Krystal Allen are seniors, giving the Oilers plenty of experience. Junior Nicole Army, an infielder, was the junior varsity MVP.

* Los Alamitos: 22-6, 10-0 in 1997. Coach: Jami Shannon (20th year, 305-159-3). Prospects: The county's winningest softball coach at one school, Shannon comes into this season with two of the county's best players at their positions. Times all-county center fielder Kristin Farber (.559, 32 runs, 30 stolen bases) is a sophomore, and junior Sara Kahler is a second-team all-county catcher. Two others, junior left fielder Kristi Bissonnette and senior right fielder Angelina Hererra, were second-team all-league players. Sophomore shortstop Phelan Wright rounds out the returning starters. Wright is a better hitter than she showed as a freshman; she will bat cleanup for the Griffins. The pitching falls to junior Andrea Castillo, who relies on her defense. The Griffins have new players at the corners, but they're solid up the middle.

* Marina: 17-10-1, 8-2 in 1997. Coach: Shelly Luth (eighth year, 138-51-2). Prospects: The Vikings, without a lot of expectation, put together a nice little season last year and upset Irvine in the playoffs. Nine of 10 starters are back from that game, including pitcher Heather Hagen, a converted second baseman who went 9-3 with a 0.33 ERA. With a year to focus on her pitching, she is the most accomplished pitcher in the league. The Vikings' infield returns intact: senior catcher Alicia Velazquez, junior third baseman Brooke Boyer (first team) and shortstop Natalie Bonillas(second team), and sophomore second baseman Christina Klinzing and first baseman Steffany Steinglein. Sophomore outfielder Sara Pagano, senior outfielder Laura Hernandez and junior utility player Devin Sailor also return. Two sisters of notable players also join the team, freshmen Carrie Hagen and Brooke Crouch, sister of former player of the year Marcy Crouch.

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