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Prep softball: Team-by-team previews

Region 8-AAAAA

Archer Tigers

Head coach: Kris Daniels

2010 record: 21-11

Returning starters: C Jenna Graham, Soph.; 2B Taylor Albritton, Jr.; SS Alesha Mann, Soph.; P Alliyah Williams, Jr.; 1B Katie Ethridge, Soph.; 3B Abby Lyall, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: P Madison Wyngaert, Sr.; SS/2B Nicole Roberts, Sr.; P/1B Kanani Cabrales, Jr.

Outlook: The Tigers fared well in their first AAAAA season a year ago, reaching the Sweet 16. Plenty of talent off that team returns, including standout Williams. But a huge boost came in the offseason with Grayson transfer Cabrales, who went 16-10 as a pitcher and had a .436 average as a hitter last season.

Berkmar Patriots

Head coach: Duke Raines

2010 record: 6-8

Returning starters: 3B Queen Briggs, Jr.; P Jasmine White, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: 2B Natasha Smith, Sr.

Outlook: Berkmar will have several new faces in the lineup, but Briggs and White are important returnees. It helps that the Patriots are playing a non-region schedule that allows them to be more competitive.

Brookwood Broncos

Head coach: Bill Batchelor

2010 record: 34-8

Returning starters: CF Jenny Blackwell, Sr.; P/OF Brandi Jones, Sr.; INF/OF Emily Brantley, Sr.; INF/OF Ambree Muller, Sr.; P/INF Rachel Hill, Sr.; C/INF Mandy Blackwell, Jr.; C/OF Megan Litumbe, Jr.; INF/OF Daniella Ulloa, Jr.; INF Susan Norris, Jr.; INF/OF Taylor Stercay, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: OF Nicole Truett, Sr.; INF Taylor Sexton, Sr.; OF Katie Gouveia, Sr.; C/OF Taiylor Rinehart, Soph.; P/OF Ansley Jones, Soph.

n Outlook: The Broncos made a run at the state championship last year and they have a shot at another big season after losing just three players off the 2010 team. Pitcher Brandi Jones (a Mercer commitment who was 19-4 with a 1.88 ERA last season) leads a veteran team that has plenty of depth.

Central Gwinnett

Black Knights

Head coach: Nathan Berryman

2010 record: 9-16

Returning starters: CF Kara Hembree, Sr.; 1B Kandi Duran, Sr.; P/3B Katie Hussey, Sr.; SS Jackie Finnegan, Jr.; INF Sydney Buchanan, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: P/INF Taylor Hubbard, Sr.; INF Jazznee Cooper, Jr.; C Ashley Davis, Fr.; INF/OF Darien Hoyle, Fr.

n Outlook: Central hopes to surprise the region and make a run for the state playoffs this season. A solid nucleus with five returning starters will be assisted by an infusion of young talent.

Dacula Falcons

Head coach: Tracy Keefer

2010 record: 10-17

Returning starters: 3B Katie McMillian, Jr.; 2B Katelyn Daniels, Jr.; C Brittany Taylor, Sr.; OF Cassidy Culberson, Jr.; 1B April Ledbetter, Jr.; SS Taryn Anthony, Sr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: P Keeli Waugh, Soph.; P Kendra Pfister, Soph.; C Lexi McKnight, Soph.

Outlook: Dacula should be more experienced on defense, which will help as it turns to sophomore pitchers Waugh and Pfister to carry the load in the circle. A good crop of young talent will give the Falcons improved depth as well.

Grayson Rams

Head coach: Jennifer Edwards

2010 record: 22-12-1

Returning starters: C/1B Kylie Klim, Sr.; C/3B Shelbie Smith, Sr.; OF Cara Rotundo, Sr.; 2B/OF Alex Sexton, Sr.; SS Taylor Denton, Jr.; OF Niki Cook, Soph.; P/1B Breanna Ethridge, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: 2B Keelyn Hanley, Sr.; OF Kayla Ross, Sr.

Outlook: Despite losing star pitcher Kanani Cabrales to Archer, Grayson returns a strong core from a state playoff team and Edwards feels good about this team’s chemistry. The offense and infield defense will be led by Denton, an all-state player as a sophomore.

Parkview Panthers

Head coach: Joey Farah

2010 record: 21-11

Returning starters: P Amanda Chambers, Jr.; SS Eryn Stepp, Jr.; 1B Morgan Robinson, Jr.; C Sydney Dalton, Soph.; OF Ally Claytor, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: OF Patty Dennison, Soph.; 3B Grayson West, Jr.; 2B/P Taylor Muirhead, Fr.; OF Najat Ahdaya, Sr.; OF Sam Krauss, Sr.; OF Sony Adkisson, Soph.; OF Lydia Freeman, Jr.; OF Heather Rockwell, Jr.

Outlook: Six starters graduated off last year’s team, so the lineup will be filled with new starters. The good news is that a strong junior class is back, led by the region’s pitcher of the year, Chamber, who is also a strong hitter.

Shiloh Generals

Head coach: Reggie Ingram

2010 record: 10-16

Returning starters: P Jenna Carr, Sr.; INF/OF Amber Johnson, Sr.; C/IF Ayanna Spivey, Sr.; OF Aaliyah Woods, Jr.; OF Sydney Nelloms, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: INF/C Lauren Eggert, Sr.; P/OF Elizabeth Humes, Fr.; INF/OF Cortni Jones, Fr.

Outlook: Shiloh baseball coach Reggie Ingram takes over the softball team this season, inheriting a team that is potent offensively. Because of their hitting, the Generals should factor into the 8-AAAAA playoff race.

South Gwinnett Comets

Head coach: Audra Thomas

2010 record: 3-26

Returning starters: P Christina Skipper, Jr.; OF Rachel Poplawski, Soph.; OF Taylor Hogan, Soph.; OF Danyelle Wilson, Sr.; C/1B LeeAnn Rawson, Jr.; C J.J. Simao, Soph.; 2B Jessika Jentzsch, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: 3B Andrea Rosario, Fr.; SS Allye Sneed, Fr.; 3B/1B Destinee Turner, Fr.

Outlook: The Comets have struggled in recent seasons, but they aim to turn things around under Thomas, an experienced softball coach. Seven returning starters and a strong freshman group will be the catalysts.

Region 7-AAAAA

Collins Hill Eagles

Head coach: Paul Pierce

2010 record: 33-2-1

Returning starters: P/OF Kayla Floor, Sr.; 3B Mckenzie Shay Halstead, Sr.; CF Brittany Roley, Sr.; P Allison LeGette, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: OF Mariah Dickey, Sr.; INF/OF Emily Buck, Sr.; OF Janae Horton, Sr.; INF Danielle Patterson, Jr.; INF/OF Payton Wilson, Jr.

Outlook: Pierce, the longtime Collins Hill baseball coach, takes over leadership of the softball program from Billy Dooley, who led the Eagles to state titles the past two seasons. Two-time Daily Post pitcher of the year Floor (23-2, 0.85 ERA, 186 strikeouts last season) and last year’s GACA state player of the year Halstead (.442, seven home runs, 39 RBIs last season) are among the returning players who hope to lead Collins Hill to a three-peat this season.

Duluth Wildcats

Head coach: Dawn Marsh

2010 record: 15-16-1

Returning starters: 2B Casey Nellums, Sr.; C Gracie Delorenzo, Sr.; 1B Erin Lipps, Sr.; P Jeanie Perrucci, Jr.; OF Lauren Blanco, Jr.; OF Cassie Kooker, Soph.; OF Jessica Brown, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: 3B Reina Sycamore, Jr.; 1B Kayla Brown, Soph.; INF/OF Lindsey McKinney, Soph.; OF Toni Perrucci, Soph.; 2B Megan Sheridan, Soph.

n Outlook: A state tournament team a year ago, Duluth aims for a return trip this season. The Wildcats have a strong core and an experienced group of returning starters.

Meadowcreek Mustangs

Head coach: Jason Novak

Key players: Rebekka Arocho; Jah-Isha Moise; Sam Abreu; Ilenia Lopez; Tyra Lillard

Outlook: The Mustangs hope to be competitive while playing another non-region schedule. They will be led by Arocho, who has emerged as the team’s best hitter, and Moise, its new pitcher.

Mill Creek Hawks

Head coach: Roger Parham

2010 record: 24-6

Returning starters: 3B Nikki Sagermann, Sr.; 2B Chandler Griffin, Sr.; OF Jenna Holland, Sr.; SS Lauren Bennett, Jr; C Anyssa Robles, Sr.; P Tori Mitchell, Sr.; OF Alissa Stringer, Sr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: 3B Morgan Bell, Soph.; 1B Breanna Buckley, Sr.; P Taylor Rogers, Jr.

Outlook: The nucleus of the Hawks’ offense and defense returns, including college commitments Sagermann (Kentucky), Griffin (Troy) and Holland (Morehead State). Sagermann is one of the county’s top hitters, sporting a .500 batting average last season with four homers and 39 RBIs. Mill Creek did graduate two senior pitchers and finding their replacements will be the key to the season.

Mountain View Bears

Head coach: Maria Melts Sharrett

2010 record: 4-21-1

Returning starters: LF Summer Spataro, Sr.; CF Taylor Miller, Jr.; C/1B Lindsey Baxter, Jr.; P Kaylee Hennelly, Jr.; P Hannah Seagriff, Jr; RF Taylor Whitsel, Jr.; 3B Sammie Daugherty, Soph.; 2B Meghan Tonnesen, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: SS Kara Adams, Jr.; RF Cara DeSandre, Fr.

Outlook: The young Bears finally have some upperclass players who have hopes of a much better season. They will need to mesh well with young talent as the program aims for a winning record.

Norcross Blue Devils

Head coach: Hope Black

2010 record: 3-11

Returning starters: P Jean Gillentine, Sr.; CF Sheena Hartley, Sr.; C/3B Nancy Thompson, Soph.; 2B Kelly Quigley, Jr.; 3B Stephanie Branch, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: SS/C Courtney Corbin, Jr.

Outlook: Gillentine and Hartley are important leaders for a Norcross team that will rely heavily on young talent this season.

North Gwinnett Bulldogs

Head coach: Randy Black

2010 record: 22-9-1

Returning starters: 3B Lacey Najafi, Sr.; P/2B Morgan White, Sr.; P/1B Emily Wood, Sr.; OF Sydney O’Neill, Sr.; P/OF Alaina Hall, Sr.; OF Miranda Strother, Jr.; OF Tori Prince, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: INF Kelsey Summers, Sr.; OF Kendall McKinney, Jr.; C Miriah Strother, Soph.; INF Amanda Shimmin, Jr.; INF Katie Black, Jr.; P/INF Kinsley Jennings, Soph.; P/OF Hannah Harrison, Soph.; OF Draven Sonnon, Soph.

Outlook: North looks to be one of the upper-echelon teams in competitive 7-AAAAA after a strong 2010 season. This year’s squad is deep and talented, with a good mix of veteran players and underclassmen.

Peachtree Ridge Lions

Head coach: Bubba Wilson

2010 record: 15-14

Returning starters: P/OF Sarah Walker, Jr.; INF/OF Chandler Frisbie, Sr.; INF/OF Sam Pierannunzi, Jr.; C/OF Ashley Sawdey, Sr.; OF/C Kayla Jones, Jr.; INF/OF Andie McGregor, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: INF/OF Noelle Kendig, Jr.; OF/INF Brandi Mason, Soph.; P/OF Quinn Hill, Jr.; INF Maiah Johnson, Fr.; INF/C LeAnn Davis, Fr.; INF Kiara Starks, Sr.; OF/C Julie McCallum, Soph.

Outlook: Peachtree Ridge has the makings of a good offensive team with hitters like Frisbie, a College of Charleston commitment. Wilson said his team must play solid defense to have a shot at the state tourney.

Region 8-AAA

Lanier Longhorns

Head coach: Alicia Compton

2010 record: 9-11

Returning starters: SS Hannah Coursey, Soph.; 2B Holland Coursey, Soph.; 1B/C Ciera Fackler, Soph.; 1B/P Meaghan Kellett, Sr., CF Lauren Pettit, Soph.; P Kaylee Ramos, Soph.; RF/P Keisha Stone, Jr.; LF Hannah Accardy, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: RF/C Shelby Threlkeld, Fr.; P/LF Heather Kellett, Soph.; 3B Amber Spangler, Fr.

Outlook: The Longhorns are still heavy on youth, with a roster that features just one senior, Meaghan Kellett. But they have a year of playing experience behind them, good young talent coming up and three pitchers who can share the load.

Region 6-AA

Buford Wolves

Head coach: Tony Wolfe

2010 record: 32-4

Returning starters: C Lexi Overstreet, Sr.; SS Kallie Case, Sr.; LF Madyson Wynegar, Sr.; CF Kodi Ricketson, Sr.; DP Rebekah Rude, Jr.

Other key contributors/newcomers: 2B Aly Hicks, Sr.; OF Alexis Baldy, Jr.; C Lanier Paul, Sr.; P Mikala Price, Jr.; P Bria Bush, Fr.; INF Jordan Deep, Fr.; P/1B Tessa Daniels, Fr.; OF Remington Hasty, Fr.; OF Jazmin Hawkins, Jr.

Outlook: On a run of four straight state championships, as well as six in a seven-year span, Buford has some holes to fill before thinking about its fifth title in a row. Infield defense is a concern with the graduation of three starters, but Alabama commitment Case (.406 batting average, 29 RBIs, 30 stolen bases last season) is an anchor at shortstop. Overstreet (.431 average, five home runs, 43 RBIs last season) also is a key returnee and a big offensive threat for a team that should hit the ball well, but must grow up quickly in the circle after losing two pitchers who started three straight seasons.

GAC Spartans

Head coach: Judy Tenney

2010 record: 25-16

Returning starters: P/1B Brianna Stewart, Sr.; SS Sierra Lawrence, Sr.; CF Celine Talley, Sr.; P/OF Sydney Smartt, Sr.; C/3B Krista Gustafson, Sr.; P/1B Natalie deLatour, Soph.; OF/IF Mary Johnson, Soph.

Outlook: The Spartans are coming off a good late-season run in 2010, finishing third in the state tournament. Five experienced seniors will lead the way, including exceptional shortstop and Michigan signee Lawrence, while a group of younger players must contribute heavily.

Region 8-A

Hebron Lions

Head coach: LeAnn Mitchell

2010 record: 12-13

Returning starters: 1B Amber Walker, Sr.; 2B Savannah Monahan, Sr.; SS Annie Ranus, Sr.; C Amanda Fischel, Sr.; P/OF Kaylyn Brooks, Sr.; OF Brooke Crosby, Sr.; OF Taylor Ruehle, Jr.; OF Hannah Atkinson, Soph.; 3B Emily Helton, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: P Lyndey McCurry, Sr.

Outlook: Mitchell, in her first year at Hebron, inherits a veteran team with nine returning starters, six of them seniors. The new coach expects pitching to be a strength in her debut season.

Region 5-A

Providence Stars

Head coach: Neal Cypher

2010 record: 27-13-2

Returning starters: P/1B Brianna Canady, Sr.: SS Jessie Kowalewicz, Jr.; 1B Bethany Smith, Jr.; 2B/OF Katie Barry, Soph.; 2B/OF Anna Stahl, Soph.; OF Brittany Tuttle, Soph.; 3B/P MacKenzie Tuttle, Soph.; C Tayler Tuttle, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: OF Alex Kennedy, Jr.; OF Amber Roberts, Soph.

Outlook: Cypher, a longtime Providence assistant, takes over as head coach for Scotty Strong for the defending state runner-up Stars. He must replace one of the most productive pitchers in state history in Georgia Tech signee Kylie Kleinschmidt (1,315 career strikeouts, 76 career wins). MacKenzie Tuttle and Canady will step in at the pitcher’s spot, while Kowalewicz is one of the top returning hitters from a solid offensive core.

Wesleyan Wolves

Head coach: Nichole Dixon

2010 record: 20-9

Returning starters: 3B Holli Wilkins, Sr.; 1B/C Caitlin Crabill, Sr.; 2B Courtney O’Leary, Jr.; SS Katie Frerking, Jr.; C CaraMia Tsirigos, Jr.; LF Victoria DiStasi, Jr.; CF Landyn Duley, Soph.; P/LF/1B Dacia Jones, Soph.

Other key contributors/newcomers: IF/OF Natalie Genthert, Jr.; P Amanda DeLa Pierre, Jr.

Outlook: Hopes are high for the Wolves with eight returning starters, most of whom grew up playing together. A potent offense centers around Tsirigos, one of the state’s most feared hitters.