* THE PROVEN: Experience abounds around the region, especially among Mission League pitchers, where all six return. The best of that crop is junior Maureen LeCocq (17-8) of Chaminade, followed by Kim Diener of Alemany (22-4) and Anna Russell (16-7) of Harvard-Westlake. . . . Amanda Fortune (21-7) of Hart hopes to improve on a breakout freshman season. Teammate Chris Chao is headed to Stanford on scholarship. . . . Agoura ace Jennifer Grennan (0.69 ERA), a four-year starter, is vying for school records for career home runs and RBIs. . . . Royal catcher April Vaughn made just two errors in 103 chances last season and batted .344 with 15 RBIs. . . . Kristi DiMarco of Palmdale stole 32 bases for Golden League co-champions. . . . Shortstop Kelley Cook is one of nine returning starters for Glendale and signed early with Fresno State. . . . Newbury Park's Oli Keohohou established herself among the area's elite hitters last season, batting .420 with a region-leading nine triples. Teammate Cindy Muran, a junior shortstop, batted .368 and scored 22 runs. . . . Westlake center fielder Michelle Notaro batted .356 with a team-high 26 hits. . . . Cleanup hitter Jennifer Richards of Thousand Oaks led the Lancers with seven doubles and 22 RBIs. Teammates Kristin Combe and Colleen Spencer, both middle infielders, are being courted by Division I colleges. . . . Kris Herman of Buena has 42 hits in 27 games, including seven triples. . . . Crescenta Valley shortstop Becca Baldridge is one of the slickest infielders in the region. . . .

* THE PROMISING: Folks around the Conejo Valley are already talking about Newbury Park freshman pitcher Katie Stokx, whose sister Darlene is a junior catcher. . . . Junior outfielder Vanessa Hanson of Thousand Oaks is the younger sister of Erika, the 1997 Times Ventura County player of the year who is now playing for Arizona. Lancer pitchers Sheridan Fowler and Nicole Angelo, both freshmen, will have to grow up in a hurry in the competitive Marmonte League . . . . Saugus will go as far as pitcher Stephanie Blaire can take them.

* FAST FACT: The last team from the region to win a Southern Section Division I title was Simi Valley in 1993.

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