Coach: Tom Morrison (College of Southern Maryland head coach).
Top returning players: P Carrie Higdon; OF Somer Miller.
Newcomers: P Jessica Perry; C-OF Christine Shipyan; 3B Melissa Tresansky; IF Erin Mahoney.
Outlook: All-Extra pitcher Higdon (La Plata) helped lead Waldorf American to a second place regular season finish and the Big League tournament championship last season, and Morrison has high hopes for her this year.
"Any game Carrie's pitching in, we'll be in," Morrison said. Higdon had a 1.17 ERA while leading the Warriors to the Maryland 3A South Region final this spring. Recent McDonough graduate Perry, who will play for the College of Southern Maryland, is the team's No. 2 pitcher.
All-Extra selection Shipyan (Westlake) is one of the league's best hitters and will be counted on to drive in runs. She recorded 22 RBI for the Wolverines this spring.
Coach: Tim Carr.
Top returning players: OF Megan Alford; P-2B Megan Barrows; C Autumn Boyd; C-OF Celina Cote; C Katie Coughlin; U Maggie Donaldson; OF Brittany Dyson; P-OF Kristin Federici; OF Lyndsay Harrell; OF Lynn Pronobis; 1B-P Carrie Reeves; OF-2B Amanda Sparrows; U Sha Tabor; 1B Ashley Wilson; OF Christine Upright.
Outlook: Waldorf National is one of the Big League's youngest teams, but it has a leg up on team chemistry. The team has nine players who played together on a Little League travel team.
Assistant Coach Greg Boyd says the team can do it all. Donaldson and Tabor -- All-Extra selections and teammates at Thomas Stone -- bring timely and high-percentage hitting, and Dyson (Thomas Stone) and Pronobis (McDonough) bring speed and experience to the defense. Reeves is the team's No. 1 pitcher, and Federici and Barrows round out the rotation.
Coach: Andy Adams (Lackey junior varsity coach).
Top returning players: 1B-OF Erika Campos; OF-2B Heather Cramford; C-OF Liz Estella; 2B-P Stephanie Maddox; P-C Shelby Turner; P-IF Abbey Welch; 3B-OF Bonnie Williams.
Newcomers: IF-OF Amanda Bailey; OF Stacey Dunnington; U Khourtni Hester; 3B Candace Smoot.
Outlook: Starting pitcher Welch, who will turn 19 on Aug. 16, is playing her last Big League season. The former All-Met is ending her career at Longwood University, too. Welch, who went 20-5 with a 0.86 ERA this spring for the Lancers, will transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall. Potomac River had a shaky defense last year and did not focus much on it with Welch on the mound. Adams will look to All-Extra honorable mention pick Hester (McDonough) and 2004 Lackey graduates Dunnington and Smoot to provide big defensive stops.
St. Mary's Diamondbacks
Coach: Glenn Larnerd Jr. (St. Mary's Ryken head coach).
Top returning players: P-1B-3B Jess Balta; SS Kim Fowler; C Devon Czarzasty; 2B Brenda McEvoy; OF Trish Johnson; P-C Lacy Trossbach; U Becky Peters.
Newcomers: OF Nicole Jacobsen; OF-DH Caryn Russell.
Outlook: Before taking over the job last summer, Larnerd hoped that St. Mary's County softball would grow. At the start of his second season, the growth has begun. The county fielded just one team last season and had only 13 girls on a roster with room for 18. This season, however, St. Mary's will field two teams, both with full rosters. "In the past, good players would go to other counties" to play summer league softball, Larnerd said. "Now the opportunity is presented to them to stay here."
Larnerd hopes to change the reputation of St. Mary's as a slow-pitch county by making a steady transition to fast-pitch. St. Mary's finished last in the league last season, but Larnerd is not discouraged. He wants to build on last year's record and says his players have taken "gigantic steps" to be competitive in fast-pitch. "There's a ton of talent here," he said.
Coach: Mike Kriner (Bishop McNamara head coach).
Top returning players: P Katie Erwine; OF Katie Faulkner; 2B Heather Holley; C Stephanie Randolph; 3B Kelli Seger.
Newcomers: C-1B Kelsea Bullock; P-1B Nicole Kerfoot; 3B-OF Lauren Robison; IF Tiffany Sanders.
Outlook: Last year's regular season champion will be without Megan Elliott and Cory Karcesky -- All-Met pitchers who were leaders on last season's team -- but has plenty of experienced players left. Holley and Seger -- teammates at Northern and members of last summer's Big League Softball World Series championship team -- know what it takes to win. Holley scored and Seger hit a sacrifice fly to score Welch in the eighth inning, sealing District 7's 3-1 victory over Puerto Rico in Kalamazoo, Mich. Hitting should be particularly strong for Northern Calvert. Recent Northern graduate Faulkner will bat leadoff, and Holley, who will play for Catholic University next spring, will bat second.
The travel softball team is loaded with SMAC talent. Twelve of the 14 players on the 16-and-under team and 11 of 12 players on the 18-and-under team play in the SMAC.
"We tend to get the cream of the crop from SMAC schools," said Robert Radford, who coaches the 16-and-under team. In its 11th season, the team has had more than 80 players enter college with softball scholarships.
The team has four first-team All-Extra selections: C Kelsea Bullock (Patuxent), 2B Maggie Donaldson (Thomas Stone), SS Lindsey Preuss (La Plata) and 3B Sha Tabor (Thomas Stone). Preuss was also a first-team All-Met selection.
The 16-and-under team has played in tournaments in Rock Creek and Carroll County and Carlisle, Pa., compiling a 14-2 record. It took first place, going 6-0, in the May Madness. Pitchers Kristin Federici and Nikki Agambar each went 3-0, giving up a combined two runs, neither of them earned. Kristi Preuss (La Plata) scored eight times, drove in six runs and batted .643 in the tournament. Lynn Pronobis (McDonough) batted .455 and had an on-base percentage of .538.
-- Carl Little