2002 All-County Softball Team: Welch, Murphy are head of the class
Player of the Year
Amy Welch (pitcher)
Welch earned her second consecutive Star⁄Gazette All-County player of the year title thanks largely to another stellar season in which she defeated area powers Spalding and Northern-Calvert. She ended her senior season with a 17-4 record, eight shutouts and one no-hitter. She fanned 133 batters, walked only 14 and had a 1.37 earned-run average in 148 innings of work. She also hit .358 (24 for 67) with seven doubles, one triple, one home run and 17 runs batted in while batting in the cleanup spot for the Panthers.
Coach of the Year
On a team that featured primarily underclassmen and no first team selections, Murphy molded the Spartans into a competitive, fundamentally sound group. Laurel completed the season 11-5, including a 3-2 victory over Bowie, despite fielding only one senior starter and a sophomore pitcher who had never pitched at the varsity level. Murphy’s team had few sluggers and often manufactured runs by slapping and bunting for hits. Defensively, the Spartans were solid and the players did the little things, which kept them in every game, a product of Murphy’s hard work and coaching.
Michelle Hardisty (pitcher)
High Point, Sr.
In the final year of her superb high school career, Hardisty went 16-5 with a 0.53 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 118 innings, including five no-hitters and two perfect game. Hardisty pitched every inning of every game during her four years at High Point, sporting a career record of 57-21 with 499 strikeouts, 19 shutouts, 11 no-hitters, three perfect games and a 1.49 ERA in 447 innings on the mound. She led the Eagles to the Class 4A South region finals the last two seasons.
Mandi Phillips (pitcher)
Phillips earned her second consecutive spot on the All-County first team by guiding Parkdale to a 16-5 mark and a share of the county 4A league championship. She finished the season with 185 strikeouts and only 22 walks and a 0.66 ERA in 128 innings. Phillips also helped her cause defensively with 50 assists and by hitting .326 (15 for 46) with 31 runs scored.
Amy Gignac (designated hitter)
A solid first baseman and a clutch hitter for the Panthers, Gignac delivered several game-winners this season. Gignac, who finished the season hitting .300, with two doubles, a triple and a homer, was third on the club with 16 RBI. Gignac provided the only RBI in Pallotti’s 1-0 win over Spalding and delivered the game-winner in a 7-6 triumph over Northern-Calvert. She drove in their only two runs in their 2-0 victory over the Institute of Notre Dame in the Private Schools Tournament semifinals.
Michelle Burroughs (shortstop)
She earned her second straight spot on the All-County first team by playing superb defense and by leading the club in several offensive categories. Burroughs batted .478 (32 for 67) with four doubles, three triples and five home runs, she drove in 29 runs. She also scored 28 runs and led the squad with an .851 slugging percentage.
Christina Smith (catcher)
A valuable asset to the Panthers both offensively and defensively, Smith earned her second consecutive slot on the All-County first team. Smith led the Panthers in hits (30), runs scored (25), batting average (.441), on-base (.536) and slugging percentage (.647) and was tied with Welch for the team lead in RBI (17).
Tae Courtney (pitcher)
Gwynn Park, Jr.
Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Shannon, Tae guided the Yellow Jackets through an unbeaten season in the 1A⁄2A⁄3A league before being handed a 6-4 setback against Mount Hebron in the 3A East region quarterfinals. Courtney fanned 187 batters while sporting a 0.86 ERA in 98 innings of work this spring. She earned her third consecutive spot on the All-County first team by tossing 11 shutouts, including nine no-hitters.
April Yakupkovic (third base)
Blessed with excellent reflexes, a strong arm and good range, Yakupkovic handled the defensive chores at the hot corner superbly for the Panthers. She rose to the occasion against Spalding in the Panthers’ 1-0 victory during the regular season with seven assists and two putouts. She batted .329 (24 for 73) with two triples, one double and 12 RBI while displaying the ability to slap the ball from the left side.
Megan Wesley (outfielder)
With quick feet and uncanny bat-handling skills, Wesley earned a spot on the first team in her first varsity season for the Panthers. The left-handed slap hitter batted .324 (22 for 68) with 16 runs scored and two doubles, and she routinely beat out bunt singles.
Wesley was superb in left field, including a running catch against Spalding, one of several huge defensive gems that helped preserved Pallotti’s 1-0 victory over the Anne Arundel County powerhouse.
Jessica Stickell (pitcher)
Grace Brethren, Sr.
This formidable right-hander was instrumental in leading the Eagles to the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference title. Stickell went 12-1, fanned 126 batters and walked only 22 while sporting a stellar 0.74 ERA in 76 innings of work. She set school records with 58 wins and 791 strikeouts in her four seasons on the mound.
Kristin Fusco (outfielder)
In only her second season, Fusco proved to be a very important member of the Pallotti team. Primarily batting in the leadoff spot, she batted .315 (23 for 73) and drew 15 walks for an on-base percentage of .438 while facing many of the top teams in the area.
Fusco also played superb defense and her one-hop throw from center to catcher Christina Smith enabled the Panthers to preserve a 1-0 victory over Spalding in April.
Peggy Montague (pitcher)
She was one of the primary reasons the Bulldogs reached the Class 4A South region semifinals this spring. Montague went 14-5 with a 0.83 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 109 innings of work. At the plate, she was equally as impressive, leading the Bulldogs in hitting (.522), slugging percentage (.940), hits (35), triples (6), homers (4) and she established a new state record for RBI (47).
Jamie Zanelotti (first base)
A four-year starter for the Raiders, Zanelotti played solid defense and helped Roosevelt with her bat. Zanelotti batted .311 (14 for 45) with 21 RBI, 12 runs scored and two home runs. She smacked a three-run home run in the top of the first inning against North County of Anne Arundel County in the state 4A championship game, and played superb defense in a 12-6 defeat.
Jessica Norton (second base)
High Point, Sr.
A key component in the Eagles’ charge to the 4A South region finals the last two springs, Norton hit .379 (25 for 66) with five doubles, five triples, four homers and 32 RBI this season. She was second on the team to Hardisty in base hits and she topped the club with a .788 slugging percentage. Norton finished her career with a .369 batting average (65 for 176) with 10 doubles, 10 triples and six homers.
Tiffany Smith (outfielder)
Roughly midway through the season, Smith was moved from her natural position in left field to catcher, where she handled the difficult duties admirably. Smith also helped the Raiders with her bat while hitting in the cleanup position. Smith concluded the season going 3 for 4 in the state 4A title game loss to North County, and was 2 for 4 with a triple in the Raiders’ 6-4 victory over Baltimore County’s Perry Hall in the state semifinals.
Shayna Pounds (utility)
Grace Brethren, Sr.
Pounds was another senior member who proved instrumental in leading the Clinton school them to the PVAC title this spring. She played shortstop and pitched this season and tied for the team lead in base hits (35). She topped the club in RBI (28), batting average (.583) and on-base percentage (638) and was third on the team in slugging percentage (.717). Pounds also went 8-1 with 102 strikeouts and a 0.69 ERA in 51 innings on the mound.