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Storylines, players to watch and top 15 teams heading into 2023 season – Baltimore Sun

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Here’s what you need to know for the 2023 high school softball season in the Baltimore area.

Where has all the dominant pitching gone?

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It appears graduations from last year will have a major impact on local teams this season. Both Patterson Mill’s Madison Knight and Archbishop Spalding’s Amaya Carroll, the area’s two best pitchers last season, have moved on to college, creating an opportunity for others. Several pitchers, such as Reservoir’s Maggie Frisvold and Crofton’s Lynsie Herman, will be very good, but can they dominate the way Knight and Carroll did last season?

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Led by junior Mya Lamp, Archbishop Spalding figures to be the class of the expanded IAAM A Conference this season.

What will the IAAM A Conference look like with six teams?

This year, the past two Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference champions, Catholic (2022) and Mercy (2021), join A Conference stalwarts Archbishop Spalding, McDonogh, John Carroll and Mount de Sales in the expanded league. This might be a good time for them to join, as the league, with the exception of Spalding, appears to be more vulnerable this season. Getting off to a good start will be crucial to the success of both promoted programs.

After a standout season at the plate and in the circle, junior Lynsie Herman will lead top-ranked Crofton softball this season.

Who’s the team to beat in Anne Arundel County?

At first glance, it would seem to be Crofton. The Cardinals have a senior class this year for the first time since the school opened, so everybody’s back. Kristen White and Lynsie Herman will handle the pitching, and coach Sarah Bible said they can go three deep in the circle. If the Cardinals stumble, then Chesapeake, one of the most consistent programs in the area, will push Crofton. Northeast is also in the mix with a great incoming freshman class.

Who’s the best team in Harford County?

This was an easy question last season, as Patterson Mill had Knight, the All-Metro Player of the Year. She has moved on to Syracuse this year, and things are a little unclear. The Huskies still return a good squad, led by Madison’s sister Mackenzie, a sophomore. Fallston is also on the rise, as well as Harford Tech. Bel Air will be in the mix, too, in what looks to be a very balanced league.

Which area teams have the best chance to win a state title?

The metro area stumbled last year, as only Severna Park (Class 4A) and Patterson Mill (1A) made it to state championship games before losing. This season could be different. Top-ranked Crofton leads a loaded 3A, which also features Reservoir, River Hill and Manchester Valley. Catonsville and Severna Park could contend in 4A, with South River as a dark horse. Northeast should be a factor in 2A, along with Glenelg, Carver A&T and Harford Tech. Patterson Mill and Fallston, as well as Francis Scott Key and South Carroll, should be the class of the local 1A teams.

Caitlyn Cornwell, Northeast, center fielder, senior

Cornwell, a Maryland commit, headlines a team that is both young and experienced. Last season, she hit .563 and stole 39 bases. This season, she has a group that can go deep in the playoffs around her.

Makenna Dean is the leader of a Mount de Sales team that should be one of the best in an improved Carroll County.

Makenna Dean, Manchester Valley, pitcher, senior

Dean is the leader of a team that should be one of the best in an improved Carroll County. She is a force not only in the circle, but also at the plate, where she led the team in most offensive categories.

Maggie Frisvold, Reservoir, pitcher-second baseman, senior

One of the better pitchers in the area last year, the UMBC commit returns for her senior season. From the circle, she posted a 0.77 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings. She also hit .551 to lead her team.

Ellie Hasegawa, River Hill, catcher, senior

One of the area’s most underrated players will play at MIT next season. Her coach loves the way she handles the pitching staff and frames pitches. At the plate, she’s a tough leadoff hitter who batted .476 last season.

Lynsie Herman, Crofton, center fielder-pitcher, junior

She pitched only 24 innings last year, but Herman struck out 55 batters and allowed only seven earned runs. At the plate, she hit .481 with a .539 on-base percentage and scored 32 runs. She’s a great all-around player.

Maddie Karns, South Carroll, pitcher, senior

Karns led her team last year in the circle and at the plate. As a pitcher, she struck out 123 batters in 119 innings. At the plate, she hit .463 with a home run. She will play next year at Delaware Valley University.

Mackenzie Knight led Class 1A state runner-up Patterson Mill in hits (34) and runs scored (32) last season.

Mackenzie Knight, Patterson Mill, center fielder, sophomore

Last year, she played in the shadow of her sister Madison, who was the All-Metro Player of the Year. This season, she’ll be out to show she can lead in her own right. She led the Class 1A state runner-up Huskies in hits (34) and runs scored (32).

Mya Lamp, Archbishop Spalding, pitcher-third baseman, junior

Lamp will be relied upon to provide a lot of the offense for the defending IAAM A Conference champions. She led the team in runs and walks last year while batting .333, stealing nine bases and recording a .443 on-base percentage.

Heather McQueeney, Wilde Lake, center fielder, junior

McQueeney was the driving force behind Wilde Lake’s run to a regional title last year. The speedster hit .507 overall and stole 41 bases. She’ll play at Shippensburg State University next season.

Alana Watts, Chesapeake-AA, left fielder, junior

Watts in the engine that makes the Cougars’ offense go. Even after missing three games with an injury, she had 33 hits in 43 at-bats with 12 RBIs and five homers. She also had a .786 fielding percentage in the outfield.

1. Crofton

Coach: Sarah Bible

Last season: 14-6, ranked No. 8

Postseason: Class 3A South Region II finalist

Outlook: This is Crofton’s first season with seniors, so Bible returns her entire team. This could be a huge advantage in a tough Anne Arundel County. The team is loaded with quality pitchers such as seniors Lynsie Herman and Kristen White, and Bible said she can go three deep with quality pitching in the circle. If the hitting comes around, the Cardinals might be the area’s best team.

2. Archbishop Spalding

Coach: Delaney Bell

Last season: 14-2, No. 2

Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion

Outlook: The Cavaliers lost four senior starters, but plenty of talent remains on a team that is the clear favorite to repeat as champions in the IAAM A Conference. Bell loves the chemistry on the team, which will carry no seniors this year. Third baseman Mya Lamp and center fielder-utility player Alyssa Derr will be the backbone of the defense. The pitching will be a strength, with three capable arms.

Senior All-Metro pitcher and UMBC commit Maggie Frisvold returns to Reservoir, giving the Gators an ace in the circle.

3. Reservoir

Coach: Julie Frisvold

Last season: 15-1, No. 6

Postseason: Class 3A East Region II finalist

Outlook: The Gators were the class of Howard County last year until they were upset by Wilde Lake in the playoffs. They should again be a leader in a more balanced league. Senior All-Metro pitcher and UMBC commit Maggie Frisvold returns, giving the staff an ace in the circle. If Reservoir can find a good defensive outfield, the Gators will once again contend for a state title.

4. Catonsville

Coach: Paul Harris

Last season: 14-2, No. 4

Postseason: Class 4A state semifinalist

Outlook: This will be a different season for the Comets, who will be in a partial rebuild after advancing to the state semifinals last season. Catonsville returns only four starters, but there is a lot of talent in this group. Senior catcher Abby Graves will lead the offense, while four-year starter Sam Rickwalder, a utility player, will captain the defense. The Comets should again be one of the leaders in Baltimore County.

5. Francis Scott Key

Coach: Steve Turner

Last season: 12-7, not ranked

Postseason: Class 1A North Region I semifinalist

Outlook: After an early exit from the playoffs, the Eagles have something to prove this season. Sophomore pitcher Jasmine Kline returns, and her arm will tell a lot about how F.S. Key does this season. Hitting will also be a strength, as 9 of 11 players return. Turner said he needs to find pitching depth, but that is one of the few weaknesses. Look for F.S. Key to fight it out with Manchester Valley in Carroll County.

6. Chesapeake-AA

Coach: Brittany Owen

Last season: 17-2, No. 3

Postseason: Class 3A South Region II semifinalist

Outlook: Owen graduated nine seniors, but there’s still plenty of talent in Pasadena. Senior varsity outfielder Alana Watts returns and will provide most of the leadership on a team that will field nine juniors. Chesapeake has a group of inexperienced but promising pitchers, and their development will tell a lot about how the team does.

All-county junior pitcher Madison Burns returns to a Fallston team that has a good nucleus and should be the favorite in Harford County.

7. Fallston

Coach: Carrie Clark

Last season: 17-1, No. 15

Postseason: Class 1A South Region I finalist

Outlook: All-county junior pitcher Madison Burns returns to a team that has a good nucleus and should be the favorite in Harford County. As you’d think, pitching is the backbone of this team, but Clark said she has been surprised by the bats. Junior shortstop Aleisa Rowe and sophomore pitcher Victoria Hudson will also be called upon to contribute at the plate.

8. Manchester Valley

Coach: Mike Hernandez

Last season: 11-7, not ranked

Postseason: Class 3A East Region I semifinalist

Outlook: Hernandez only graduated two players from a team that was on the cusp of being a contender last year. Pitcher McKenna Dean returns, as does slick-fielding shortstop Casey Thomas. Manchester Valley can hit the ball with anyone, and has both power and speed. The Mavericks should push Francis Scott Key for the Carroll County title.

9. Northeast-AA

Coach: Joe Hart

Last season: 10-10, not ranked

Postseason: Class 2A West Region I finalist

Outlook: Don’t last year’s record fool you; the Eagles have a ton of talent. Senior outfielder Caitlyn Cornwell, a Maryland commit, returns to lead a loaded team. The Eagles can go three deep on the mound. Hart will also benefit from one of the strongest freshmen classes the school has had in years. Look for the Eagles to contend for the Anne Arundel County title this year.

10. Wilde Lake

Coach: Kristina Dronenburg

Last season: 16-5-1, No. 11

Postseason: Class 3A state quarterfinalist

Outlook: The Wildecats took a big step forward last year by upsetting Reservoir in the playoffs, but Wilde Lake won’t sneak up on anybody this year. Seniors Heather McQueeney (center field) and Justyce Richard (pitcher-shortstop) are proven hitters, and Dronenburg likes her young additions to the team. It will be important for the Wildecats to do well early in a tough Howard County.

11. Patterson Mill

Coach: Jeff Horton

Last season: 21-1, No. 1

Postseason: Class 1A state finalist

Outlook: The Huskies lost Madison Knight, the All-Metro Player of the year last season, but plenty of talent remains for this perennial contender. Horton likes his young team, but this year’s group will be led by its hitting instead of its pitching. Sophomores Mackenzie Knight (center field) and Audrey March (pitcher-right fielder) will set the tone.

Pitcher Mallory Cooper will lead Carver A&T, the surprise team in Baltimore County last season.

12. Carver A&T

Coach: Kevin Klimko

Last season: 15-4, No. 9

Postseason: Class 2A state quarterfinalist

Outlook: The surprise team in Baltimore County last season, the Wildcats should have one of the better teams again this year. A good nucleus returns, including the battery of pitcher Mallory Cooper and catcher Emily Hamp. Klimko likes his pitching and defense but is looking to develop some power hitters to lead the offense. Carver will also feature a new outfield, and finding the right mix will be imperative for this young team.

13. Harford Tech

Coach: Brian Reider

Last season: 15-7, not ranked

Postseason: Class 2A East Region I finalist

Outlook: The Cobras lost one player from last year, and Reider is bullish about his experienced team. Four-year starter and center fielder Lacey Swart will lead the team, both in the field and at the plate. Pitching will be a strength for Harford Tech, and Reider said the Cobras can go four deep in the circle. Along with Patterson Mill and Fallston, the Cobras should be right in the mix in Harford County.

14. Glenelg

Coach: Anna Pallozzi

Last season: 13-4, not ranked

Postseason: Class 2A West Region II semifinalist

Varsity Highlights


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Outlook: The Gladiators bring back 12 of 16 players from last year, and that could be a big factor in a loaded Howard County race. The team has an abundance of pitchers, which is always a luxury. Junior shortstop Jamie Shaw will provide a lot of the speed, while Taylor Pence and Serafina Tinio will bring the power for this veteran squad.

15. Mount de Sales

Coach: Pete Waskiewicz

Last season: 7-12, not ranked

Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist

Outlook: The Sailors have taken their lumps the past two years but look to have a young and talented squad with everyone returning from last year. The strength of this team, which could start five sophomores, will be its defense, but finding a backup to starting junior pitcher Ava Remesch is a priority. Center fielder Olivia Berger and shortstop Olivia Ross, both sophomores, will give the Sailors strength up the middle.

Others considered: Arundel (11-3), Bel Air (10-6), River Hill (10-6), Severna Park (11-8), Towson (11-8)

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