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Softball team-by-team preview

Region 8-AAAAAA

Archer Tigers

Head coach: Kristopher Daniels

2011 record/playoff finish: 24-13, second round of state tournament

Returning starters: P Nani Cabrales, Sr.; C Jenna Graham, Jr.; 1B Katie Ethridge, Jr.; SS Alesha Mann, Jr.; 3B Abby Lyall, Jr.; OF Andria Booth, Soph.; OF/P Aaliyah Williams, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: 2B Kristin Hawkins, Jr.; OF Tahra Johnson, Soph.

Outlook: Most Gwinnett coaches consider Archer not only the region favorite, but also a state title contender. Much of that praise is made because of Cabrales, a Georgia Tech commitment who is a power pitcher and a big bat in the lineup. Williams is another senior who is important with her hitting and pitching.

Berkmar Patriots

Head coach: Duke Raines

2011 record: 8-7

Returning starters: C Queen Briggs; P Jasmine White; 1B Meagan Naraine; 3B Rebecca Morgan; OF Alleeyah Casper; 2B Ilona Scott

Outlook: Raines has his most experienced Patriots team, which gives high hopes for an even better season. Briggs put up big numbers last season for Berkmar, which has improved lately against a non-region schedule.

Brookwood Broncos

Head coach: Bill Batchelor

2011 record: 35-7, tied for sixth in state finals

Returning starters: 3B Susan Norris, Sr.; C/SS Mandy Blackwell, Sr.; RF/C Megan Litumbe, Sr.; 2B Daniella Ulloa, Sr.; C/CF Taiylor Rinehart, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: SS/CF Taylor Stercay, Sr.; P/LF Ansley Jones, Jr.

Outlook: Norris and two Georgia State commitments, Blackwell and Litumbe, are part of what should be a potent offense. The key to the season will be how the Broncos fare on defense and how they replace standout pitcher Brandi Jones, a graduation loss.

Central Gwinnett Black Knights

Head coach: Nate Berryman

2011 record: 6-18

Returning starters: Jaznee Cooper, Sr.; Jackie Finnigan, Sr.; Sydney Buchanan, Sr.; Ashley Davis, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: Faith Cooper, Soph.

Outlook: Jaznee Cooper, who hit .320 last season, will spark the offense. Faith Cooper, a transfer from Archer, will be the Black Knights' primary pitcher. Central has strong senior leaders, but a young roster overall.

Dacula Falcons

Head coach: Tracy Keefer

2011 record: 11-16-1

Returning starters: P/1B Keeli Waugh, Jr.; P/1B Kendra Pfister, Jr.; 2B Katelyn Daniels, Sr.; 3B Katie McMillian, Sr.; OF Madison Mosely, Soph.; OF Kristan Lizardi, Soph.; C/OF Lexi McKnight, Jr.; OF Shania Norman, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: OF Cassidy Culberson, Sr.; 1B April Ledbetter, Sr.; C Samantha Kates, Fr.; SS/C Alexis Deadwyler, Fr.

Outlook: Keefer likes the improvements and strength gains of her pitchers, which hopefully translates to more wins this season. Despite some young players filling spots in the lineup, the Falcons aim for a return to the state playoffs.

Grayson Rams

Head coach: Jennifer Edwards

2011 record/playoff finish: 17-18, lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: SS Taylor Denton, Sr.; P Breanna Ethridge, Jr.; C Stephanie Snyder, Soph.; P Jen Spangler, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: OF Amber Miller, Sr.; 1B Rachel Seasholtz, Sr.; SS/OF Brittney King, Soph.; 2B/OF Anna Newell, Soph.; C/2B Caroline Sandhagen, Soph.; CF/SS Sierra Smith, Fr.; 3B Carly Batchelor, Fr.; 3B Jaimie Head, Jr.; 2B Taylor Dirkse, Soph.; P Amanda Kemp, Soph.; P Peyton Glover, Soph.

Outlook: Edwards will rely on a youth-filled lineup, with just four starters back from a team that lost to eventual state champion Collins Hill in the state playoffs. The Rams who are back in the lineup are strong players, though, led by Denton, who hit .494 last season and has 59 stolen bases the past two seasons.

Parkview Panthers

Head coach: Joey Farah

2011 record/playoff finish: 13-15, lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: P Amanda Chambers, Sr.; 1B Morgan Robinson, Sr.; 2B Taylor Muirhead, Soph.; 3B/SS Eryn Stepp, Sr.; 3B Grayson West, Sr.; C Sydney Dalton, Jr.; OF Heather Rockwell, Sr.; OF Patty Dennison, Jr.; OF Ally Claytor, Sr.; OF Sony Adkisson, Jr.; OF Jordan Moody, Jr.; P Kylie Gabrielson, Soph.

Key newcomer: SS Lexi Walker, Fr.

Outlook: A state playoff team returns intact for Farah, who didn't lose any seniors off the 2011 squad. All-county players Chambers and Stepp are important leaders, as are fellow seniors Robinson (a Georgia Southern commitment) and Claytor.

Shiloh Generals

Head coach: Reggie Ingram

2011 record: 19-9

Returning starters: 1B/C Aaliyah Woods, Sr.; OF/P Adia Randall, Jr.; OF/IF Cortini Jones, Soph.; OF/P Elizabeth Humes, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: 2B Cliniqua Spears, Soph.; 3B Aereca Bender, Fr.

Outlook: The Generals had an excellent 2011 season, pushing the 20-win plateau. But they are in rebuilding mode with plenty of new faces in the lineup.

South Gwinnett Comets

Head coach: Audra Thomas

2011 record: 10-17

Returning starters: P Christina Skipper, Sr.; 1B LeeAnn Rowson, Sr.; 2B Jessika Jentzsch, Sr.; SS Allye Sneed, Soph.; C Andrea Rosario, Soph.; OF Rachel Poplawski, Jr.; OF Taylor Hogan, Jr.; P Jessica Stokes, Jr.; 3B Destinee Turner, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: P Chelsea Twardoski, Fr.; 3B Haley Swords, Fr.; SS Jackie Mathers, Fr.

Outlook: The Comets have solid senior leaders, but a fairly young roster otherwise. But a lot of those youngsters played last season, leaving high hopes for this year. Hogan and Poplawski are key players in the outfield.

Region 7-AAAAAA

Collins Hill Eagles

Head coach: Paul Pierce

2011 record/playoff finish: 29-6, state champions

Returning starters: 2B Danielle Patterson, Sr.; 1B Payton Wilson, Sr.; SS Calli Star, Jr.; OF Brea Dickey, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: P Amanda Chance, Soph.; P/SS Aeshia Miles, Soph.; C Laine Simmons, Jr.; OF Reagan Morgan, Soph.

Outlook: Collins Hill has been the state's most dominant big-school program in recent years, winning the past three titles in Class AAAAA and another in 2005. But graduation took its toll on the Eagles, who lost, among others, three-time Daily Post pitcher of the year Kayla Floor. Pierce will need some role players off last year's championship team to step into more prominent positions.

Duluth Wildcats

Head coach: Dawn Marsh

2011 record: 19-12

Returning starters: P Jeanie Perrucci, Sr.; SS Jessica Brown, Sr.; RF Lauren Blanco, Sr.; CF Reina Sycamore, Sr.; 2B Cassie Kooker, Jr.; C Toni Perrucci, Jr.; 1B Kala Brown, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: 2B Megan Sheridan, Soph.; 3B Lindsey McKinney, Soph.; OF Callie Friedmeyer, Soph.; 1B Amanda Simpson, Soph.; P Rachel Holden, Soph.; Lauren Vinelli, Fr.; Rachel Matton, Fr.

Outlook: The Wildcats won nearly 20 games, but fell short of the state playoffs. The goal is a return to state this season with a lineup that is led by Jeanie Perrucci, a Middle Tennessee State commitment who is coming off a knee injury.

Meadowcreek Mustangs

Head coach: Jason Novak

2011 record: 0-15-1

Returning starters: SS Sam Abreu, Jr.; 2B Miriam Martinez, Sr.

Key newcomer: P Tamira Camacho, Soph.

Outlook: Leaning on experienced players, Meadowcreek plays a DeKalb County-heavy, non-region schedule that is a good fit. Abreu and Martinez are key leaders in the middle infield and Camacho boosts the pitching staff.

Mill Creek Hawks

Head coach: Roger Parham

2011 record/playoff finish: 35-11, state runner-up

Returning starters: SS Lauren Bennett, Sr.; 3B Morgan Bell, Jr.; OF Taylor Rogers, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: 2B McKenzie Fagioli, Jr.; OF Brittany Abbott, Sr.; OF Emily Robertson, Jr.; P Heather Felt, Jr.; INF Sarah Peery, Jr.; OF Christina Evans, Jr.

Outlook: Graduation took four Division I players off last year's team, which finished second in the state to region rival Collins Hill. Those losses will hurt run production, putting solid defense at a premium. Bennett (Kennesaw State) and Bell (Georgia Tech) have made college commitments.

Mountain View Bears

Head coach: Maria Sharrett

2011 record: 13-11

Returning starters: P/1B Hannah Seagriff, Sr.; P/1B Kaylee Hennelly, Sr.; C/1B Lindsey Baxter, Sr.; SS Kara Adams, Sr.; CF Taylor Miller, Sr.; 2B Meghan Tonnesen, Jr.; 3B Sammie Daugherty, Jr.; LF Cara DeSandre, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: RF Taylor Whitsel, Sr.; C Courtney Kichefski, Jr.

Outlook: The Bears continue to improve steadily under Sharrett, a North Gwinnett grad. This year's team is the most experienced with a large group of seniors who hope to push for the program's first state playoff berth.

Norcross Blue Devils

Head coach: Joe Padgett

2011 record: 1-19

Returning starters: OF Rickary Holloman, Jr.; 3B Nancy Thompson, Jr.; INF Kelly Quigley, Sr.

Key newcomers: P/1B Vanessa Bradford, Fr.; 2B/C Hannah Laury, Fr.; P/1B Kelly Schmidt, Fr.; OF Mackenzie Bradford, Fr.; SS/2B Sarah Jo Nasuti, Fr.; OF Anna Palmer, Fr.; C Jessee Hoge, Fr.

Outlook: The outlook is brighter this season for the Blue Devils, who struggled mightily last year. Padgett, in his first season at Norcross, will start as many as eight freshmen. But he has high hopes for the group, which includes Bradford, a promising move-in from Las Vegas.

North Gwinnett Bulldogs

Head coach: Randy Black

2011 record/playoff finish: 23-10, lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: C Moriah Strother, Jr.; 1B Amanda Shimmin, Sr.; 2B Katie Black, Sr.; SS/P Alaina Hall, Sr.; 3B/OF Tori Prince, Sr.; OF Draven Sonnon, Jr.; OF Miranda Strother, Sr.; OF Kendall McKinney, Sr.; 1B/P Kinsley Jennings, Jr.; P/OF/1B Hannah Harrison, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: SS/OF Mallory Koepke, Sr.; C Ashley Stephan, Sr.; OF/P Megan Kimble, Jr.; 2B/SS Lindsey Cobb, Jr.; OF/INF/P Randi Tuck, Jr.; 3B/OF Chase Battle, Jr.; P/INF Caitlynn Cooper, Sr.

Outlook: Black likes the experience of this team, which returns a large base of players who started off and on last season. The Bulldogs finished third in tough 7-AAAAA last year, but they could be a region title contender this season. Strother (Ole Miss), Prince (North Georgia) and Koepke (Georgia State) have already made college commitments.

Peachtree Ridge Lions

Head coach: Bubba Wilson

2011 record/playoff finish: 16-16, lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: SS/2B Miaih Johnson, Soph.; OF Sam Pierannunzi, Sr.; P/OF Sarah Walker, Sr.; OF/C Kala Jones, Sr.; 3B/1B Andie McGregor, Jr.; 1B/3B LeAnn Davis, Soph.; P/OF Quinn Hill, Sr.; 2B/OF Brandi Mason, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: C/1B Savanna Turvy; OF Hannah Marshall, Jr.; OF/C Julie McCallum, Jr.

Outlook: Peachtree Ridge has the makings of another playoff team, with hopes of advancing deeper than last year, when it lost a first-round series to Brookwood. Wilson has a strong group of senior leaders, including Pierannunzi (a Georgia Tech commitment) and Walker at pitcher.

Region 8-AAAA

Lanier Longhorns

Head coach: John Kelly

2011 record: 9-18

Returning starters: SS Hannah Coursey, Jr.; 2B Holland Coursey, Jr.; C Amberly Hays, Sr.; P/RF Keisha Stone, Sr.; P/RF Kaylee Ramos, Jr. 1B Heather Kellett, Jr.

Outlook: The Longhorns are still young, but they figure to be a playoff contender in 8-AAAA with six experienced starters back. Kelly said pitching and defense, led by the Coursey sisters at shortstop and second base, will be team strengths.

Region 7-AAA

Buford Wolves

Head coach: Tony Wolfe

2011 record/playoff finish: 34-11, state champions

Returning starters: P/1B Bria Bush, Soph.; P/1B Tessa Daniels, Soph.; 2B Jordan Deep, Soph.; OF Remington Hasty, Soph.; C Noah Sudderth, Jr.; OF Rebekah Rude, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: OF Niki Cook, Jr.; OF Jazmin Hawkins, Sr.

Outlook: After winning the last five Class AA state titles, the Wolves move into AAA this season without the graduated Kallie Case and Lexi Overstreet, the Daily Post's co-players of the year last season. But both pitchers --Bush (12-4, 1.26 ERA) and Daniels (17-4, 1.21 ERA) --return from the title team. The offense will miss Case and Overstreet, but Deep (.383, seven home runs, 37 RBIs) and Hasty (.469) are coming off big freshman seasons.

Region 6-AA

GAC Spartans

Head coach: Judy Tenney

2011 record/playoff finish: 29-8, lost in second round of state playoffs

Returning starters: SS/1B/C Courtney Czentnar, Sr.; OF/C Meghan Mitchell, Sr.; OF Caroline Oglesby, Sr.; LF Grace DeBoer, Jr.; P/C/OF Mary Johnson, Jr.; 3B Jordan Smalls, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: OF Anna Kane, Soph.; IF/OF Carly Perez, Fr.; P/IF Jada Lake, Fr.

Outlook: Five seniors are gone from last year's region championship team, which saw its state-tournament run end prematurely. Tenney has a good mix of veterans and youth, with three solid senior leaders in Czentnar, Mitchell and Oglesby.

Wesleyan Wolves

Head coach: Nichole Dixon

2011 record/playoff finish: 23-13, state runner-up

Returning starters: OF Victoria DiStasi, Sr.; C/1B CaraMia Tsirigos, Sr.; SS Katie Frerking, Sr.; P Amanda DeLaPerriere, Sr.; P/3B Dacia Jones, Jr.; CF/SS Landyn Duley, Jr.; RF Lillie Baker, Jr.; C/INF Emily Farrow, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: OF Riley Henning, Soph.; OF Sydney Stone, Jr.

Outlook: After nearly winning the state title last season, the Wolves are loaded for another title run. Three solid pitchers offer three different looks to Wesleyan opponents, while the lineup has a lot of pop with Tsirigos (an Indiana commitment), Duley, Frerking, Jones and DiStasi.

Region 8-A

Hebron Lions

Head coach: LeAnn Mitchell

2011 record/playoff finish: 19-6, lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: SS Emily Helton, Jr.; LF Hannah Atkinson, Jr.; CF Taylor Ruehle, Sr.; RF Kaylyn Gagnon, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: 3B/C Athena Hawkins, Fr.; C/1B Brooke McCollum, Fr.; P/2B Emily Chiacchira, Fr.

Outlook: The Lions are in rebuilding mode after losing seven key starters to graduation. Four veterans with starting experience are back, and Mitchell hopes their leadership sets a standard of high expectations. Helton is poised for a breakout season at shortstop.

Providence Storm

Head coach: Neal Cypher

2011 record/playoff finish: 14-16, lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: SS/C Jessie Kowalewicz, Sr.; OF Alex Kennedy, Sr.; 3B/P MacKenzie Tuttle, Jr.; OF Brittany Tuttle, Jr.; Utility Katy Barry, Jr.; OF Amber Roberts, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: P/1B Abigail Roberson, Fr.; Utility Aubrey Gold, Sr.; 2B/OF Averie Ross, Fr.; Utility Megan Broom, Fr.

Outlook: Providence, which lost to eventual state champion Gordon Lee in last year's playoffs, will need to play solid defense behind its inexperienced pitching. Offense shouldn't be a problem, though. Kowalewicz, a Georgia Tech commitment, hit a school-record .500 last season with five home runs and 33 RBIs, while Brittany Tuttle (.444 batting average) and MacKenzie Tuttle (.398) also had big seasons.