Defending state 1A champ Eagles headline VSN preseason Softball Top 20
And considering that the UCBAC is also located in a region that also boasted the best team — John Carroll School — in the top private school league in the Baltimore metropolitan area, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, it’s no wonder that the folks in Harford and Cecil counties are justifiably proud of their teams’ dominance on the diamond.
Because Bo Manor and John Carroll were led by freshmen phenoms in 2017, both squads are once again strong choices to repeat in their respective leagues.
Farther south, Archbishop Spalding and Mount de Sales Academy look to challenge the Patriots in the A Conference while Eastern Tech, Hereford, Lansdowne and Dulaney square off for Baltimore County bragging rights.
Severna Park, Arundel and Northeast and Southern have the edge in Anne Arundel County the same way that Howard High and Glenelg appear to be Howard County’s frontrunners.
Look for South Carroll to take the lead in Carroll County.
Pictured above: Bo Manor put together a compelling run to its first softball state championship in 22 years last spring. The Cecil County school is No. 1 in VSN’s preseason Top 20 poll.
Here is the entire 2018 Preseason VSN Softball Top 20:
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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this release incorrectly labeled No. 1 Bo Manor as Rising Sun. VSN regrets this error.
VSN SOFTBALL PRESEASON TOP 20
1. BO MANOR EAGLES
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #1
Final 2017 record: 21-2
Player to watch: Maddie Penta, sophomore, pitcher
On deck: Penta’s performance in the circle last spring (21-2, 244 K’s, 0 ERA in over 100 innings) makes the Class 1A state champs the team to beat in the UCBAC. Senior outfielder Amber Keene gives heft to the lineup.
2. C. MILTON WRIGHT MUSTANGS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #3
Final 2017 record: 18-7
Players to watch: Katie Murphy, senior, pitcher; Michelle Cisco, senior, third base
On deck: Minus a midseason slump, the Mustangs might have finished the season No. 1 after claiming the Class 3A title last May. With Murphy providing a strong arm and Cisco a big bat, Wright could be right back on top in 2018.
3. EASTERN TECH MAVERICKS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #2
Final 2017 record: 19-2
Player to watch: Casey Turner, senior, shortstop
On deck: Seven-time defending Baltimore County champ Mavericks hoping to break through with state title in May.
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #9
Final 2017 record: 10-7
Player to watch: Emma Ritter, sophomore, outfield
On deck: Ritter, last spring’s VSN Player of the Year as a freshman, looks to avoid so-called sophomore slump and return John Carroll back atop the IAAM A Conference.
5. HEREFORD BULLS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #4
Final 2017 record: 14-4
Player to watch: Mckenzy Hall, senior, pitcher
On deck: Losing standout Erin Collins (Rutgers) and four other major contributors to graduation hurts, but Bulls will reload with sophomore Michaela Watts (shortstop), Hall (.532 batting average last season) and sophomore centerfielder Haven Henderson in the lineup.
6. PERRYVILLE PANTHERS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #15
Final 2017 record: 10-8
Player to watch: Jordyn Reese, junior, infielder
On deck: Bounce-back year possible for the 2016 1A state champ Panthers with junior pitcher Mara Little and Reese leading the way and contributions from seniors Amber Keene (catcher/outfield) and Nicole DiGiambattista (outfield/first base).
7. LANSDOWNE VIKINGS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #12
Final 2017 record: 12-6
Player to watch: Jordyn Goodman, senior, pitcher
On deck: The untimely passing of coach Ken Goodman (Jordyn’s dad) has brought former longtime skipper Jamie Izdebski back to guide a team that returns nine starters, including Jordyn Goodman, Maddie Sadowski, Katie Amoss and Jessie Trott and juniors Tatum Barrass, Jasmine Schouster, Brianna Eiser, Trinity Piller and Bobbie Bosley.
8. NORTHEAST EAGLES
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #7
Final 2017 record: 17-7
Player to watch: Jenna Matulonis, senior, pitcher
On deck: After back-to-back East Region titles, Eagles look for another deep playoff run in 3A state postseason.
9. MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY SAILORS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #16
Final 2017 record: 13-8
Player to watch: Karlee Stocksdale, senior, shortstop
10. SEVERNA PARK FALCONS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #10
Final 2017 record: 16-6
Player to watch: Campbell Kline, junior, shortstop
On deck: The Falcons seek redemption this spring after being derailed by Arundel the past two 4A East Region playoffs.
11. ARUNDEL WILDCATS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #6
Final 2016-17 record: 20-5
Player to watch: Cheyenne Starr, senior, first base
On deck: Wildcats look to for a return trip to the 4A state semifinals.
12. SOUTH CARROLL CAVALIERS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #14
Final 2017 record: 14-6
Player to watch: Chloe Sharman, senior, pitcher
On deck: Cavaliers seek encore after reaching Class 2A state final last spring.
13. DULANEY LIONS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #5
Final 2017 record: 17-3
Player to watch: Akira Pullen, senior, pitcher
On deck: Pullen, arguably Baltimore County’s top player, will have a top-notch defensive infield with sophomore catcher Isabelle Modiste, junior second baseman Jenna Isaacson, junior shortstop Allison Dasch and senior third baseman Hope Eckhart as the Lions will try to dethrone Eastern Tech in Baltimore County.
14. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING CAVALIERS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked
Final 2017 record: 10-6
Player to watch: Angela Sena, junior, catcher
On deck: Cavaliers itching to jump back on top of IAAM A with sluggers Sena and junior outfielder Jordan Johnson anchoring the lineup.
15. HOWARD LIONS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #13
Final 2017 record: 17-5
Player to watch: Emma Braswell, senior, shortstop
On deck: The Lions are the team to beat in Howard County with Braswell, senior outfielder Shanya Gordon, junior Julia Colton (outfield) and sophomores Emily Polimeni (third base.,F) and Paige Eakes (3B/OF).
16. GLENELG GLADIATORS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #18
Final 2017 record: 16-6
Player to watch: Katie Dustin, senior, catcher
On deck: Led by all-league performer Dustin, the Gladiators will challenge again for supremacy in Howard County.
17. MCDONOGH SCHOOL EAGLES
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked
Final 2017 record: 9-8
Player to watch: Madison Gemmill, junior, catcher
On deck: The Eagles will challenge in IAAM A with battery of Gemmill, a Virginia Tech commit and sophomore pitcher Kearstyn Chapman.
18. BEL AIR BOBCATS
Final 2017 rank: #11
Final 2017 record: 15-5
Player to watch: Amanda Criss, senior, pitcher
On deck: With Criss back, the Bobcats should hold their own in very competitive UCBAC.
19. SOUTHERN BULLDOGS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #19
Final 2017 record: 14-11
Player to watch: Hannah Davis, junior, infield/pitcher
On deck: Nine returnees will have Bulldogs in the hunt in Anne Arundel County.
20. MARYVALE PREP LIONS
Final 2017 VSN Top 20 rank: #20
Final 2017 record: 10-3
Player to watch: Riley Vicendese, sophomore, shortstop
On deck: Despite losing five starters, the Lions will be favorite to claim a third straight IAAM B championship.