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2001 SOFTBALL PREVIEW

Sunset League

February 27, 2001

Edison

Coach: Suzy Mathieson

2000 record: 11-15

League record: 1-9

Suzy Mathieson (fifth year, 42-58) is ready for the best year in her tenure as eight starters return from last year's squad, including Scarlett Neal, a senior catcher who batted .274 and has committed to Penn State, and Leah Glenn, a junior right fielder who batted .366 and scored 17 runs. Junior center fielder Brittany Hyams batted .299 with 20 stolen bases and 19 runs. The key for the Chargers could be pitching, with senior Kelly Birk, junior Amanda Shelton and sophomore Stacey Birk working into the rotation.

Esperanza

Coach: Dennis Fox

2000 record: 17-10

League record: 3-7

Esperanza made an appearance in the top 10 before stumbling in league play. Much of the team is back, including sophomore Kristen Dedmon, who batted .366 with 14 RBIs, and went 13-8 with a 1.27 ERA. Catcher Heather Rangel and second baseman Diana Eberlein, both juniors, also return for Dennis Fox (fourth year, 41-35).

Fountain Valley

Coach: Cary Baker

2000 record: 24-9

League record: 8-2

With the graduation of Natalie King (24-8, 0.29 ERA), the Barons have a huge hole to fill, but Cary Baker (19th year, 357-165-2) thinks his defense will be solid. Senior center fielder Jennie Doezie, who had nine doubles, junior outfielder Christina Skaggs and senior shortstop Jackie Brown are among five returning starters. The others are catcher Kristin Crowder and second baseman Kirin Kumar, both seniors.

Huntington Beach

Coach: Jack Lipscomb

2000 record: 12-13

League record: 2-8

A nucleus that has been together for three years could pay dividends for Jack Lipscomb (second year), who likes his pitching and defense. Seven starters are back. Junior catcher Heidi Weil, the team's most valuable player, returns with Ashley Perkins and senior second baseman Lindy Lipscomb, both second-team all-league players, and two first-teamers, Tiffany Brown and senior outfielder Lindsay Ratowsky. Seniors Brown and Perkins alternate at pitcher and first base. Junior third baseman Kari Stockstill and sophomore outfielder Sandi Summers are also among the returning players.

Los Alamitos

Coach: Renee Bergeron

2000 record: 20-9

League record: 8-2

The Griffins captured a share of the league title with a 20-inning victory over Marina last season, and six starters from that team return, including junior pitcher Kim Dillon (10-8), who went all 20 innings. Pitcher Lynsey Farina, second baseman Merissa Hearn, third baseman Mackenzie DeLeon and utility player Emily Fultz, all seniors, return. So do sophomores Kristin Crenshaw, a second baseman, and Katherine Cusick, a catcher. Fultz could again be the designated hitter, and Hearn moves from the outfield. The question is if they can overcome the graduation of all-county players Phelan Wright, Kristin Farber and Darcey Brown.

Marina

Coach: Shelly Luth

2000 record: 23-7

League record: 8-2

Suitable pitching could be key to Marina's fortunes, and that could fall heavily on junior Bree Boyer, who was primarily a first baseman last season, and pitcher/outfielder Ramona Garcia. Shelly Luth (11th year, 210-74-2) wouldn't be the first coach to win with speed and defense, and she will rely on that combination to carry the day. Few infielders are better than senior third baseman Carrie Hagen (.406, 27 runs, 30 stolen bases), a second-team all-county performer. The Vikings are strong in the infield, with senior shortstop Heather Saltarelli (.382, 17 RBIs) alongside Hagen, and junior Nelsy Zaragoza at second base.

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