* Ocean View: 18-9, 10-0 in 1997. Coaches: Carol Groothuis/Herb Rosenthal (first year). Prospects: Junior shortstop Leah Gulla (.467) and senior outfielder Janina Miller (.393), two of the Seahawks' three first-team all-league players, are back. The third, Lovieanne Jung, transferred to Fountain Valley. Four other starters return: senior third baseman Cara Vanderhook, senior second baseman Daniella Garcia, junior pitcher/first baseman Tia Jordan and junior outfielder Jenee Cline. Vanderhook and Garcia were second-team all-league selections, and all four had on-base averages higher than .600.

* Rosary: 21-8, 7-3 in 1997. Coach: Tom Tice (fifth year, 77-34). Prospects: The Royals shared second place last season, but they are the league favorites this year as seven starters return to the lineup. Leading the way with all-league credentials are five seniors: third baseman Erin Connors (.416, 19 runs, 19 RBIs), first baseman/outfielder Theresa Cronin (.342, 22 RBIs), pitcher Christy Ledford (15-8, 0.74 ERA), shortstop Michele McCarthy (.328) and second baseman Jaime Fruth, an all-league player in 1996 who missed last season with an injury. Connors and sophomore catcher Natalie Golda (.359, 14 RBIs) were first-team all-league choices. Also returning is first baseman/designated hitter Erin Hogan (.319). Additionally, utility player Suzanne Lieber batted .357, and another player, junior Tymarie Novak, a transfer from Washington state, also was an all-league player. The only noticeable weakness is team speed, which is no small weakness in softball.

* Saddleback: 4-16, 2-8 in 1997. Coach: Cathy Buendia (second year, 4-16). Prospects: The Roadrunners could struggle after losing Linsey Buendia (Chapman), their four-year all-league pitcher. Only three starters (all seniors) return, but two were second-team all-league players: shortstop Cynthia Silva and catcher Deana Guzman. Center fielder Jennifer Aguirre also returns. Lupe Diaz (from the JV) and junior Elisa Hernandez are getting their first exposure to varsity pitching.

* Santa Ana: 7-17, 0-10 in 1997. Coach: Glenn Mitchell (ninth year, 31-145). Prospects: Mitchell is excited about this season for a couple of reasons. First, there are six starters back from last year's team. Second, there's now a batting cage on campus. Hoping to take advantage of that is sophomore second baseman Belinda Garcia, a second-team all-league player, as well as senior first baseman Isaura DeLeon, senior third baseman Argelia Valdez, junior left fielder Lorena Soto, junior center fielder Claudia Soto, and junior pitcher Lori Morales.

* Tustin: 9-16, 4-6 in 1997. Coach: John Silvas (second year, 9-16). Prospects: Junior first baseman Brook Brown, an all-league first baseman, leads six returning starters who collectively will try to make up for the loss of the graduated Jenny Odum (.452, 20 RBIs), the league MVP. Returning is most of the infield, including senior third baseman Michelle Silvas and junior shortstop Sara Montes joining Brown. Senior right fielder Angie Lopez and sophomore left fielder Myra Vasquez also return to the starting lineup.

* Westminster: 18-8-1, 7-3 in 1997. Coach: Conway deSha (third year, 38-15-1). Prospects: The Lions shared second place but took a huge hit to graduation, losing their pitcher and 1-2-4 batters in the lineup, including three-time Times all-county outfielder Kelly Hauxhurst. That leaves only two returning lettermen, junior catcher Lacy Hauxhurst (.406, four HRs, 18 runs), Kelly's sister, and third baseman Jennifer Reinig. Hauxhurst's 31 RBIs was the county's fourth-best total. Top newcomers for the Lions, who deSha says he hopes to rebuild over a two-year span, are pitcher Tina Tuskewicz and third baseman Lauree Tolen, both up from the junior varsity.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World