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2001 SOFTBALL PREVIEW

Empire League

February 27, 2001

Century

Coach: Eddie Medina

2000 record: 11-14

League record: 3-7

Eddie Medina is the third coach in three years, replacing Shanna Stewart. Five starters return, including pitcher Crystal Soto. She will be surrounded by four other returning starters: outfielders Jessica Andrade, Jennifer Padilla and Carinee Rodriguez, and infielder Valarie Sanchez. Nicole Rivera and Elaina Mearez could also pitch. Other newcomers include outfielder Courtney Crocker, infielder Nicole Nungary and catcher Colleen Ramos.

Cypress

Coach: Lisa Castillo

2000 record: 14-12

League record: 7-3

The defending league co-champion has five starters and 11 letter-winners returning for their new coach, Lisa Castillo, who replaced Heather Illsley (three years, 38-41). Sophomore pitcher Candace Baker earned all-league recognition after posting an 11-7 record with a 0.35 earned-run average and 212 strikeouts, seventh-best in the county. Outfielder Kristen Baker enters her fourth varsity season after hitting .375 a year ago, joining infielder Allison Chislock as first-team all-league selections. Juniors Alison Diaz and Tamara Yokoyama return to the starting lineup at third base and catcher, respectively.

El Dorado

Coach: Melissa Wong

2000 record: 13-12-1

League record: 6-4

Another new coach, Melissa Wong, takes over for Jill Maytuch (two years, 35-16-1). It will be a young but experienced squad, as all seven returning starters have yet to reach their senior year. Junior pitcher Kristen Karanzias went 11-5 last year with a 1.06 ERA. Other returning starters are infielders Kristi Durant, Heather McVay and Heather Martin, catcher Kim Sanders and outfielders Adina Taul and Brittany Frieght.

Katella

Coach: Melissa Graham

2000 record: 5-17

League record: 1-9

The Knights, who finished last in 2000, welcome back all-league utility player Jill Zimmerman, their top returning hitter with a .338 average. Stacey Gardner is looking to improve on her earned-run averages of 1.48 overall and 0.74 in league. Other returning starters are catcher-infielder Dana Permenter, infielder Ashley Ratliff and outfielder-pitcher Nicole Manno.

Kennedy

Coach: Sue Hall

2000 record: 22-6

League record: 7-3

Sue Hall (14th year, 280-80-2) has eight starters and 12 letter-winners from a squad that shared the league title. Back is all-county pitcher Michelle Turner (16-6, 0.55 ERA), a junior who had 226 strikeouts in 178 innings, and also batted .341. All-league shortstop Breanne Sabol (.247), designated hitter Loraine Geiger (.182) and catcher Brooke Porter (.240) also return. Third baseman Jennifer McCard (.269) is coming off an injury-riddled season.

Loara

Coach: Scott Weber

2000 record: 19-10

League record: 6-4

The Saxons have nine starters back from a team that tied for third with El Dorado. All-Southern Section utility player Alicia Owen hit .408 with 24 RBIs and went 11-5 on the mound. Joining Owen as a 2000 All-Southern Section selection was Lauren Lappin, who batted .354. All-league picks Jenna Wheeler, Katie Joosten, Jacklyn Hunn and Mandy Servello also return. Scott Weber (fifth year, 49-62) feels team speed is a weakness, but Kim Flores stole 22 bases in 2000.

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