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Gourley shares National Championship memories 

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

LAKESIDE (7-20-14) — The glow remains apparent after former El Capitan High standout DELANIE GOURLEY captured the Women's College World Series with the Florida Gators.

"In that moment, I remember jumping on the dog pile like there was no one else in the world. It was only us celebrating --we were so happy, Gourley recalled. "Then I looked around and saw the stadium full of people, then the TV cameras and remembering everyone back home could see it, too."

When describing the once-in-a-lifetime moments, the other word Gourley often repeated was "surreal," and she also gained the pitching victory in relief with a pair of no-hit innings in Florida's 6-3 victory over conference rival Alabama.

The Florida Gators outlasted Alabama, 6-3, to sweep the best-of-3 series
to capture the Women's College World Series. El Capitan alum Delanie Gourley
did not allow a hit in two innings of relief, gaining the pitching triumph.
(ESPN screen shot)

The University of Florida
hoists the NCAA trophy
after sweeping Alabana to
capture the Women's
College World Series at
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Freshman Delanie Gourley,
an El Capitan High alum,
pitched a pair of no-hit
innings with two strikeouts
to gain the victory.

(Photo by Sarah Phipps;
courtesy, The Oklahoman)


  NCAA Division I Bracket  

Florida pitcher Delanie Gourley (left) and catcher Aubree Munro.
(Photo courtesy of GatorZone.com)
Gators' Gourley fires no-hitter
in NCAA opener vs. FAMU

© East County Sports.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (5-18-14) — In her first appearance for the University of Florida back in February, El Capitan High product DELANIE GOURLEY established a school milestone with the program's 800th all-time victory.

On Friday, the left-hander achieved a personal milestone.

In the opening game of the NCAA Regional, Gourley tossed a no-hitter in her first collegiate postseason outing, leading the Gators past Florida A&M, 8-0. With the victory she raised her record to 14-1.

Later in the weekend, 5th-seeded Florida would sweep all of its regional opponents, gaining home field for next weekend's Super Regional to determine a berth to the Women's College Eorld Series.

Gourley, a freshman, retired the Rattlers in order in the first with two strikeouts and a groundout. Kelsey Stewart tripled to lead off for Florida (46-11), and came home on a sacrifice fly by Stephanie Tofft. The center fielder for FAMU (25-28) misplayed Tofft’s fly ball, allowing the senior to advance to second to set up a two-run home run by Lauren Haeger that put the Gators ahead 3-0. After Bailey Castro reached on a fielder’s choice and Kirsti Merritt singled through the left side, Taylor Schwarz launched a three-run shot to left-center that pushed Florida’s lead to 6-0.

Gourley allowed a leadoff walk in the second, but Aubree Munro caught the runner stealing before the lefty struck out the next two batters. Stewart singled and then stole second to begin the home half, then came home with UF’s seventh run on Tofft’s sac bunt.

The Gators will host the University of Washington in the Super Regional's best 2-out-of-3 series.


COLLEGE WOMEN'S FASTPITCH PLAYOFFS
CSU San Marcos eliminated by host College of Idaho

CSU San Marcos captures NAIA World Series opener

SDSU meets defending champ Michigan after gaining NCAA playoff berth / FOLLOW THE AZTECS HERE

Florida, Gourley (13-1), host NCAA Gainesville regional as No. 5 seed / FOLLOW THE GATORS HERE

NCAA Division I National Championship BRACKET


Utah State pitcher Noelle Johnson set a Utah State strikeout mark.
(USU courtesy photo)

Johnson 'ramms' to Utah State strikeout record

© East County Sports.com
LAS VEGAS (5-13-14) — Former West Hills High standout NOELLE JOHNSON has established a new single-season strikeout record for Utah State.

 
Noelle Johnson
Johnson, a sophomore, needed to go down to the final weekend of the regular season, yet reached the Aggies milestone in a season-finale loss at UNLV at Eller Media Softball Field

The record-breaking strikeout came in the 2nd inning, when Emily Haslinger struck out swinging for the second out. The strikeout was Johnson's 218th of the season, passing Mary Lou Ramm who had 217 in 1980.

Johnson now has 345 career strikeouts in just two seasons with the Aggies, good for fifth in the USU record book.

Utah State ends the season 18-37 overall and 6-18 in its first season in the Mountain West Conference. Johnson completes the season with a 16-22 record.


Rapoport concludes CCU career as most decorated

© East County Sports.com
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (5-5-14) — Former Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT recently completed her softball career at Colorado Christian University as one of the Cougars' most decorated players ever in any sport.

A member of the NFCA First Team All-America team in 2012, Rapoport was just named to her third All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team after batting a team-leading .327 this season, including a 2-for-4, one run, one RBI outing in her final game against Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction, Colo.

One-third of her 48 hits went for doubles (0.36/game) to rank among the NCAA Division II national leaders.

 
Heather "Cali" Beintema, who once played for Grossmont High, will be inducted into the Rider University Athletics Hall of Fame.
(Rider Broncs courtesy photo)

Beintema to be enshrined
in Rider Hall of Fame

© East County Sports.com
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (5-14-14) — Former Grossmont High spftball player HEATHER "Cali" BEINTEMA, who also played for a variety of club and travel ballclubs in the East County at the turn of the century, is the classic case of a late bloomer.

Despite limited playing time as a non-descript ballplayer as a teenager, one minor opportunity to pitch transformed Beintema's life into a career in softball, leading to next month's induction into the Athletics Hall of Fame at Rider University (NCAA Division I).

Beintema, who gained induction in her first year on the Broncs ballot, is the school's career leader in victories and strikeouts, becoming the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pitcher of the year as a sophomore in 2004 after being named the MAAC Rookie of the Year as a freshman, leading Rider to the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Her family noted years of frustration when club coaches would rarely play Beintema, leaving her on the bench except late-inning play during blowouts. But in one of those seemingly meaningless, run-rule affairs many summers ago -- unknown to her club coaches -- she was inserted to pitch while Rider coach Tricia Carroll looked on.

Impressed, Carroll invited Beintema to Rider, where she starred for four seasons. She just completed her seventh season as pitching coach for the Broncs.

Beintema's Hall of Fame induction is slated for Reunion Weekend on June 6

Her school records include single season and career strikeout records as well as a tie for the single season record for wins with 22. As a frosh, she ranked among the top 21 pitchers in the nation in both strikeouts and earned run average, then was named MVP of the MAAC Championships.


Jenny Lahitte
 
USD's Lahitte blanks SDSU in freeway series

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (4-30-14) — Former Granite Hills High standout JENNY LAHITTE placed an exclamation mark on her collegiate career with the USD Toreros by blanking crosstown rival San Diego State, 5-0, Tuesday (Apr.29) in the ballclub's final home game of the season.

Lahitte spun a 4-hit shutout, giving the Toreros (23-21) their first home victory over the Aztecs since 2005.

The Toreros’ offense wasted no time, jumping all over Aztecs’ starter Andi Smith. Senior Dana Prelsnik reached on a bunt after Smith misfired her throw to first, and two batters later Chloe Kaneko hit a single up the middle to put runners on first and third. Olivia Sandusky brought both of them home with a double to left field to give the Toreros a 2-0 lead.

Charly Swanberg and Kylie Ordos, who were playing in their last career home game, helped the Toreros tack on one more in the bottom of the second. After Ordos doubled to left field, Swanberg knocked her in with a single through the right side, which ended Smith’s night.

The seniors continued their offensive barrage in the bottom of the fourth when Jenny Lahitte hit a leadoff double to left centerfield. After she was pinch-ran for by Kylie McNutt, Danielle Mavridis hit an RBI single through the right side, giving USD a 4-0 lead.


CSUSM's Alex Miler *West Hills HS)
discusses her award as the Cougars'
Female Student-Athl;ete of the Year.
(CSUSM courtesy video)
CSUSM All-America candidate Alex Miller
(CSUSM courtesy photo)
Miller named CSUSM Female Athlete of the Year,
Gunion gains entry to Cougars Hall of Fame

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (4-27-14) — Cal State San Marcos recently honored a pair of standout student-athletes with roots in the East County at its annual sports banquet, held at the brand-new University's Grand Ballroom at the Student Union.

Alex Miller
 
On Thursday (Apr. 24), the Cougars named West Hills High product ALEX MILLER as the school's Woman Student-Athlete of the Year. Miller shared the honor with volleyball player Alyssa Foster.

Meanwhile, Helix High product KAYCEE GUNION, a member of the women's soccer team from 2008-11, was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame.

Director of Athletics Jennifer Milo announced that 50 percent of CSUSM's over 300 student-athletes have a grade-point average of 3.00 or higher. Included were nine student-athletes who received the Mangrum Award for Academic Excellence by having a 4.0 GPA during the 2013 school year. The softball team won the Highest Team GPA Award for having a cumulative GPA of 3.34.

Gunion addressed the crowd to cap-off the evening, commenting on the growth of the department and the opportunities she's been granted due to the fact that she played soccer at CSUSM.

Prior to Miller, two former winners of the award are also softball players who hail from East County, BRENNA SANDBERG (West Hills) and ALYSSA DRONENBURG (Helix).

UPDATE: Two days later, Miller capped the regular season with a g-ahead grand slam and eight RBI, powering the Cougars to a doubleheader sweep of the newest school in Southern California, the University of Antelope Valley.

For the day, Miller went 6-for-8 with three doubles to go along with her bomb, par of her six RBI in Game One. It'sd the most RBI by any CSUSM player since Miller set the school record with seven RBI in a single game.

The Cougars now advance to the A.I.I. Conference tournament, starting May 1 in Gwinnett, Ga. Despite a 35-5-1 record, they are the second seed.


Rachel Stalford
Taylor Hallahan
UPDATE: 5-6-14: Both players
were named GSAC All-Academic
Vanguard's Stalford, Hallahan, selected All-GSAC

© East County Sports.com
AZUSA (4-21-14) — A pair of former East County standouts now playing for Vanguard University of Costa Mesa have been named to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference women's fastpitch team.

Receiving first-team honors are Eagles pitcher RACHEL STALFORD, the former CIF San Diego Section pitcher of the year out of Grossmont High, and center fielder TAYLOR HALLAHAN, an all-East County pick out of West Hills High. Both are juniors.

Stalford was also named this week's GSAC Pitcher of the Week, gaining a pair of victories without allowing a run in triumphs over Arizona Christian and Azusa Pacific. She now has more than 100 strikeouts this season.

Hallahan led the Lions (30-20) with 65 hits this season, finishing third on the ballclub with a .371 batting average.


Christian Brothers University's Kylie Steagall
(School courtesy photo)
Division II Notebook: Steagall's strong frosh season

© East County Sports.com
MEMPHIS (4-21-14) — Former Steele Canyon High standout KYLIE STEAGALL Is posting a solid second half of the season at Christian Brothers University (NCAA Division II).

In a recent doubleheader sweep of Talladega College (27-13), Steagall gained the pitching win in a complete-game, 5-hit shutout, the clean-up batter also went 3-for-4 with three RBI, including a 2-run double to open the scoring.

The freshman later added a sacrifice fly for a run in helping win the second game, too.

For the season, Steagall leads the Lady Bucs with a .309 batting average, including seven home runs (the rest of the team has six).

Gentry in RMAC play
SILVER CITY, N.M. — Former Christian High standout RICKI GENTRY again ranks among the leaders for Western New Mexico University (NCAA Division II).

Gentry is batting .331 for the Mustangs, starting all of the ballclub's 49 games.

In a recent conference victory over Colorado Mines, Gentry went 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and a run scored.


 
 
Jackson State's Kelsey Townsend,
the former Grossmont College standout
Townsend displaying her stripes
for SWAC leading Jackson State


© East County Sports.com

JACKSON, Miss. (4-1-14) —Former Grossmont College standout KELSEY TOWNSEND is pitching Jackson State University to the top of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) standings.

Kelsey Townsend
 
Townsend, a junior, leads the Tigers pitching staff in victories, including two of the team's win in an 8-0 start in conference play to lead Texas Southern by two full games.

Jackson State opened the season with an 8-23 mark, playing one of the nation's toughest schedules. But the experiences has carried over to the fast start in conference play. If they remain on top, the Tigers will qualify for the NCAA national playoffs.

Vanguard duo star in homecoming

By Nick Pellegrino
© East County Sports.com

SANTEE (3-30-14) — A pair of East County products – Grossmont High's RACHEL STALFORD and West Hills' TAYLOR HALLAHAN – who both captured CIF softball championships, are finding success at Vanguard University.

On Saturday (Mar. 29), the pair held a homecoming in front of family and friends, as the Lions played a Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader against San Diego Christian College at Sportsplex USA .

"The team is doing extremely well," said Stalford, the 2011 CIF San Diego Section Division I and East County pitcher of the year. "We're known as a hitting club, but we have seven girls in the bullpen who can really pitch, too."

Stalford didn't need any assistance, pitching a complete game in the opener, raising her record to 9-3 following a 7-2 triumph over the Hawks. The decision should keep Vanguard among the honorable mention in the NAIA national rankings.

Stalford is also finding success in the classroom. The junior is on-track to graduate with a double major of history and political science.

Meanwhile, Hallahan, the leadoff hitter, batted a combined 3-for-8 in the doubleheader. The center fielder also recorded a pair of running catches in the gap in the second game, helping the Lions to a 7-1 lead.

"Everyone on the team practices hard and works hard," said Hallahan, an accounting major also set to graduate next spring. "The experience here with this coaching staff has been fantastic."

Hallahan was an All-East County honoree in 2010.

On this day, the host Hawks gained the last laugh, rallying from a 6-run deficit to take an 8-7 decision.

SDCC first baseman Hannah Romanski batted 4-for-4 and drove in four runs, including a 2-run double down the right field line for the game-winning hit. It was the lone mistake by Vanguard, who had an open base at first, yet elected to pitch to the clean-up hitter.

San Diego Christian (11-9, 7-5 GSAC) ended a 7-game losing streak with the late rally. Vanguard moved to 24-16, but remain one game behind the Hawks for third place in GSAC at 6-6.


 
Virginia's Madison Labshere
(UVa courtesy photo)
Labshere slugs two homers for Virginia

© East County Sports.com
ATLANTA (3-13-14) — Former Valhalla High standout MADISON LABSHERE continues to perform for the University of Virginia women's softball team.

Madison Labshere
 
On Tuesday's (Mar. 12), Labshere, a freshman, smacked two home runs in the second game of a doubleheader, although the Cavaliers were swept by Atlantic Coast Conference rival Georgia Tech at Mewborn Field.

In the opener, the Cavaliers scored both of their runs in the fourth on back-to-back home runs by Murrieta's junior Heidi Velk and Labshere. It was Velk’s first home run of her collegiate career, while it was Labshere’s third of the season.

In Game Two, Labshere led off the 4th inning with a deep shot to left-center field to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.

With the losses, UVa fell to 3-18 (1-7 ACC), while the Yellow Jackets improved to 15-6 (4-4 ACC).


Mary Grabowski
Grabowski garners WCC honors

© East County Sports.com
SAN BRUNO (3-11-14) — USD sophomore MARY GRABOWSKI, the 2011 East County player of the year out of Christian High, is lighting it up for the Toreros, receiving West Coast Conference player of the week honors for the period ending Sunday (Mar. 9).

Grabowski batted .389 with a team-high six RBI, helping the Toreros win their last four games of the Highlander Classic at UC Riverside.

Grabowski had at least one RBI in all of the Toreros four wins, including the game winning RBI in their 3-2 extra inning win over Idaho State on Sunday.

In Tuesday's doubleheader against Utah State and UC Riverside, she went 4-7 with four RBI to help the Toreros win both games.

For the season, Grabowski leads the team in RBI (11) and is second in runs (seven), total bases (25), average (.333), slugging percentage (.596), and on-base percentage (.380). She also clouted home runs in the team's first three ballgames this season.

Grabowski and the Toreros will play their next 22 games at home beginning with a Thursday doubleheader against Weber State.

 
Micherie Koria
Koria gains LSC laurels

© East County Sports.com
SAN ANGELO, Texas (3-11-14) – Angelo State's MICHERIE KORIA and Sandra Serna were named Lone Star Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week after leading the 24th-ranked Rambelles to doubleheader sweeps of Texas A&M-International and No. 4 Texas Woman's College.

Koria, a former standout at West Hills High, led the Rambelles (20-7, 5-1 LSC) to a sweep of Texas A&M-International and No. 4 Texas Woman's with an .846 average and .842 on-base percentage.

The junior went 10-for-13 for the week and scored 10 runs with eight RBIs. She was perfect on the base paths going five-for-five stealing bases. She also drew three walks and hit two doubles while slugging 1.000.

Koria is hitting .485 on the season, which is fourth in the LSC. She is tied with TWU's Bailey Vrazel with 19 stolen bases on the year. It is the first LSC Hitter of the Week award for Koria.


Delanie Gourley owns the nation's best pitching record at 9-0 for the No.1 ranked Florida Gators.
(Courtesy, Univ. of Florida GatorVision)

 
Collage showing the projectory of motion
for Delanie Gourley's screwball.
(Courtesy, Univ. of Florida GatorVision)
Gourley moves to 9-0 for top-ranked Gators

© East County Sports.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (3-10-14) — Former El Capitan High standout DELANIE GOURLEY captured the series-clinching victory to open Southeast Conference play, keeping her University of Florida Gators on top of the national women's fastpitch rankings.

Delanie Gourley
 

On Sunday (Mar. 9), Gourley, a freshman, ran her national-leading record to 9-0 after blanking OIe Miss, 2-0, at KSP Stadium. The lefty allowed three hits over seven innings with two walks and four strikeouts, tossing her second shutout of the year.

"I was just really excited and ready to go," said Gourley. "I was just preparing myself and I was like, ‘Hey, it’s my first SEC start. I’m just going to show them what I have and pitch how I know how.’”

Gourley retired the Rebels in order in the first two innings before she allowed two baserunners in the third on a hit and a walk, yet pitched out of the difficulty. Head coach Tim Walton was pleased with Gourley's performance.

"She’s faced some good at-bats. She’s faced some good hitters. I think it’s going to give her a lot of experience. The main thing we’ve got to be able to shape her into is the confidence. She’s got to be able to have the confidence to go out there and throw her pitches—any location, any pitch, any spot, any situation."

Florida (24-1, 2-1 SEC) next travel to LSU for its next SEC action. Watch on GatorVision.


McNeese State's Tori Yanitor.
Yanitor propels McNeese State past No. 7 Alabama

© East County Sports.com
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (2-25-14) — Former Steele Canyon High standout TORI YANITOR is heavily contributing to a renaissance in McNeese State women's softball, helping the Cowgirls race past 7th-ranked Alabama, 5-3, Sunday (Feb. 23).

Yanitor collected two hits, then laid down a perfect suicide bunt which produced the ho-ahead run against one of the nation's top pitchers, Jaclyn Traina, in the final ballgame of the Easton Bama Bash.

The victory was McNeese State's first-ever over Alabama.

Yanitor finished with a double, two RBI and a pair of stolen bases.

In the 2nd inning, the Cowgirls took a 2-0 lead when Yanitor smacked an RBI double and scored on a passed ball after moving to third on a sacrifice bunt.

Alabama fell to 12-3, while McNeese State (10-7) added the Crimson Tide to a list of conquered foes that already included Texas A&M, Oregon State , UAB, Virginia Tech and Central Florida .

Yanitor was a first-team all-East County selection last spring.


Kat Canciller-Petty
Head coach
Cheryl Schaefer
PHOTO GALLERY
(By Nicole Kallis)
 

Canciller-Petty makes Hawks history
Scores game-winning run in debut contest

© East County Sports.com
SANTEE (2-18-14) — The debut of the new San Diego Christian College women's softball program proved to be a success... with an East County flavor.

The Hawks scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the 7th inning, then Santana High product KAT CANCILLER-PETTY rambled to score the game-winning run during International Tiebreaker play in the 8th en route to a 6-5 decision over Embry-Riddle University.

SDCC (2-0) then completed the doubleheader sweep by taking nightcap, 12-5, at Sportsplex USA.

Canciller-Petty was inserted as a pinchrunner as the placed runner at second base. The Hawks attempted to bunt her to third, but saw the first two pitches get fouled off. So leadoff batter MORGAN WHEELER golfed a sharp ground ball up the middle, allowing the former Sultans speedster to race home.

The hit came off hard-luck Embry-Riddle losing pitcher KEANA NAKATA, a freshman out of Helix, who tossed the final two innings, but saw both runs charged against her coming unearned.

In the second game, SDCC center fielder MORHAN McGEE batted 3-for-3 with three RBI and four runs scored to help the Hawks post 12 unanswered runs after quickly falling behind 5-0 in the 1st.

  Labshere is UVa's
ray of sunshine

© East County Sports.com
CONWAY, S.C. (2-17-14) — The University of Virginia women's softball team continues to re-build thanks to Valhalla High product MADSION LABSHERE.

Participating at the Coastal Carolina's Kickin' Chicken Tournament, Labshere batted 4-for-4 with an RBI, although the Cavaliers (1-7) dropped a 7-2 decision to Towson. For her effort, Labshere was the lone UVa player selected to the all-tournament team.

The freshman infielder is batting clean-up for Virginia.


It only takes one game for Gourley
to reach Florida record book
Freshman from El Cap registers save
in Gators' 800th all-time victory

© East County Sports.com
TAMPA, Fla. (2-8-14) — The collegiate debut of University of Florida pitcher DELANIE GOURLEY (El Capitan) came 24 hours sooner than expected.

Slated to start Saturday (Feb. 8) against Michigan in the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament, instead Gourley was called upon to make a piece of Gators history.

With Florida clinging to a 3-2 lead, Illinois State loaded the bases with no outs in the 7th inning, so Gurley was summoned from the bullpen. The freshman registered three straight outs – a pair on strikeouts – to garner the save in a triumph over the Redbirds.

The victory was the 800th in school history.

Florida (3-0), ranked third in the country to open the season, remains undefeated in the tournament, which is hosted annually by the University of South Florida.

Day to remember in Hutchison's debut

© East County Sports.com
TEMPE, Ariz. (2-7-14) — Following an explosive opening debut to her collegiate career, perhaps former Steele Canyon High standout MOLLY HUTCHISON should immediately quit NCAA play and immediately take another step up to National Pro Fastpitch.

On Thursday (Feb. 6), Hutchison smashed a pair of home runs for North Carolina State, which is participating in the Kajikawa Classic (hosted by Arizona State) at the Tempe Sports Complex.

In the 5th inning of Game 1, Hutchison took the first offering over the barrier in right-center field, although the Wolfpack would fall to Oregon State, 6-2. She earlier posted an RBI single to drive in both of her team's runs.

A few hours later against No. 22 Stanford, Hutchison again started in right field, batting 2-for-2 including a solo shot in the 2nd to give NC State an early lead.

Labshere success
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The collegiate debut of former Valhalla High standout MADISON LABSHERE was a solid one.

Starting at first base for the University of Virginia, Labshere capped her first day at the NCC Division I level by slugging a 2-run homer, when the Cavaliers busted loose for six runs in the 4th inning to expand a 2-1 advantage to finally down NC-Central, 8-1, at Cyril Stadium.

Labshere, who also played at second base, drilled her blast to left field.

Grabowski goes deep, leads USD in hitting
LAS VEGAS .— MARY GRABOWSKI, the former East County player of the year out of Christian High, launched a home run to open the scoring Sunday (Feb. 9), lifting the University of San Diego to an 8-4 triumph over UNLV, the host to the annual Sportco Kick Off Classic.

Grabowski's shot landed beyond the barrier in centerfield in the 2nd inning. The designated player went 2-for-4 against the Rebels, lifting her batting average ort .455 to lead all Toreros hitters.

Grable gains key hit, run, in debut
BOCA RATON, Fla. (2-87-14) .— KAYTI GRABLE, the former Grossmont Valley league player of the year and a three-time All-East County and All-CIF performer, registered a key hit on the first day of her collegiate career for Northern Illinois University.

A freshman starting at first base for the Huskies, Grable singled, then scored on a three-run homer by teammate Emily Naegele smashed a 3-run homer, the difference in a 3-2 triumph over Florida Atlantic.

Grable is a second-generatio, multipsort n standout from Santana High.

Lefty's first win
TAMPA, Fla.— The first starting pitching assignment for former El Capitan standout DELANIE GOURLEY suddenly turned from disappointment into her first collegiate victory.

In an 8-inning thriller, Gourley was forced to pitch two unexpected innings en route to a complete-game victory. Her Florida Gators scored four times in the 7th inning, then posted five more markers in the 8th to stun Michigan, 9-4, at the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament.

The lone runs off Gourley were a grand slam by Sierra Romero in the 3rd. The left-handed pitcher then blanked the Wolverines over the final six frames for the 3rd-ranked Gators (3-0).

Rapoport tops RMAC poll
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (2-8-14) .— Former Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT, an NAIA All-America selection last season, heads the preseason All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference team.

The Colorado Christian pitcher heads the first-team as the coaches' pick for player of the year. Rapoport is also the Cougars' all-time leading batter.


 
2013 SEASON
 
Rapoport honored at Colo. Christian

© East County Sports.com
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (6-15-13) — Former Grossmont High and Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT continues to pile up the awards at Colorado Christian University.

Following a 2012 campaign which led to a Daktronics Second Team All-America berth, Rapoport was named to this season's All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference first team, and a pair of second-team All-Region berths by both Daktronics and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Rapoport led all Cougars hitters with a .410 batting average, which included 13 doubles and a home run on the final day of the regular season.

Carpenter caps Ball State career

© East County Sports.com
MUNCIE, Ind. (6-15-13)— Former Santana High standout AMANDA CARPENTER recently concluded her college career as one of the most celebrated players in Ball State softball history.

Carpenter was just named to her third all-conference team, leading the Cardinals to their third Mid-American Conference championship while at the school.

In addition, Carpenter was one of 22 student-athletes honored on the MAC All-Academic squad. She owns a 3.27 grade-point average while majoring in elementary education

In 2013, Carpenter was the MAC leader and among the NCAA national leaders in doubles, while ranking among the best in the MAC in batting (.333) and RBI (39). She also posted a team best 10-game hitting streak.

A four-year starter for the Cardinals, Carpenter played in 221 of a possible 226 games over her career, making 220 starts. A .321 career batter, which is 13th in program history, Carpenter also ranks second in program history with 51 career doubles, third in total hits (228), third in RBI (150), fourth in runs scored (142) and fourth in home runs (21).

  
A historic 1997 photo of Sarah Dawson (now Kerr)
when she captured Southland Conference pitcher
of the year laurels after leading the Redhawks to
their lone NCAA Torurnament berth. She was just honored on the conference's 50th anniversary team
as its first-team pitcher. (ULM courtesy photo)
Dawson Kerr honored
as greatest Southland
pitcher

© East County Sports.com
FRISCO, Texas (6-10-13) — SARAH (DAWSON) KERR, arguably the greatest softball pitcher from the East County in the 20th Century, gained another honor nearly two decades after gaining Player of the Year laurels in National Pro Fastpitch.

Kerr, the former Christian High standout, was named the Southland Conference's all-time pitcher as part of its 50th anniversary team. Pitching for Northeast Louisiana University (now Louisiana-Monroe), she established records which still stand today while powering the Redhawks to their lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 1997.

"The Southland Conference has a storied softball history, and our collective success is a big part of the Conference's 50th anniversary celebration," said conference commissioner Tom Burnett. "All members, past and present, have played a big role in our competitive and academic achievements."

In her ULM career, Kerr was a four-time all-Southland choice from 1994-97, and was the 1994 and 1997 Player of the Year, and earned 1996 and 1997 all-Tournament honors. She is the Southland and ULM's all-time wins leader in a season (45) and career (120), and also holds the circuit's strikeout marks in a season (445) and career (1,280) among many other marks.

Sarah (Dawson) Kerr
Following her college career, she was the most dominate pitcher in NPF's debut season for the Orlando Wahoos, ranking No. 1 in wins (30) and saves (4) and second in shutouts, complete games, earned run average and opponent's batting average.

In 2013, Kerr served as an assistant coach at NC-Greensboro, helping the program amass 38 victories which is the third highest total in school history. Previously, she served 10 seasons as head coach at Louisiana Tech, qualifying for a record-tying seven consecutive Western Athletic Conference tournaments.

Her mother, ROMA DAWSON, was the long-time head coach at Christian High who guided the Patriots to 10 CIF championship games, claiming four San Diego Section championships.

As a player, the second baseman also captured the 1964 ASA national championship earning induction into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum's Class of 1993, which also featured a Rose Bowl champion football team from the University of Oregon.


CSUSM outfielder Kaitlin McGinley
McGinley, Miller, gain NAIA West Region honors

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (5-28-13) — The Cal State San Marcos softball team had five players named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NAIA All-West Region Teams, including two first team selections.

The awards were selected by NFCA member coaches in each of the five regions, and all 133 student-athlete honorees from across the country are eligible to be named to the NFCA NAIA All-American Teams, which will be announced June 4.

Leading the way for the Cougars on the West Region first team were outfielder KAITLIN McGINLEY, a Valhalla High alum, and pitcher Cortney Allen.

McGinley hit above .400 for the second straight season, going 67-for-167 (.401) with 42 stolen bases in 43 attempts. Her stolen base total was the fourth best in the NAIA, and her 7 triples ranked third nationally.

Allen finished the year 34-7 with a 1.12 ERA in 249.2 innings pitched, striking out 203 batters. The senior from Elk Grove, Calif. was second in the NAIA in wins, was a part of 14 shutouts, and allowed opponents to just a .196 batting average against.

CSUSM also had three players make the second team All-West Region. First baseman ALEX MILLER led the Cougars with a .435 batting average and a team high four homeruns. However, the slugger from West Hills High also led the entire NAIA in doubles with 23 — a goal she set out to achieve at the beginning of the season. Miller also walked 26 times compared to just 10 strikeouts, giving her a .507 on base percentage.


Randle gains Missouri Valley honors

Nicole Randle
© East County Sports.com
DES MOINES, Iowa (5-25-13) — Former Steele Canyon High standout NICOLE RANDLE, who now stars for Drake University, has been named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, as voted by conference coaches.

Randle, a junior left fielder, led the Bulldogs with a .373 batting average (.467 in MVC action) and 41 RBI, the third-highest total in school history.

She closed the season with hits in 16 of Drake's final 17 ballgames, including an 8-for-8 effort in a series with Illinois State , which featured two home runs, a triple, three runs scored and four RBI to sweep the Redbirds.

Drake (29-20) finished with six honorees, evenly divided between the first and second teams.

Randle was a three-time All-East County performer, including a first team berth as a junior in 2009, when the Cougars captured a second straight league crown.


Coleman snaps another
strikeout mark at USD

© East County Sports.com
SANTA CLARA (5-6-13) — On the final day of the regular season, USD junior right-hander CASSIDY COLEMAN became the Toreros' all-time strikeout leader in Sunday's (May 5) 6-0 victory over Santa Clara in game one behind Coleman's one-hit shutout.

The host Broncos (8-45, 5-19) were able to take the season finale, 5-4, as USD (24-29, 9-15) split the 4-game series.

With her eight strikeouts, Coleman (13-13), who now has 455 career strikeouts, surpassed Jennifer Ellenbeck (447 Ks; 2007-10) for first place on the career strikeout list.

Coleman entered the season as the CIF San Diego Section career strikeout leader, until surpasses by El Capitan's DELANIE GOURLEY, who will pitch for Florida next season.

USD got started right off the bat in game one by pushing across a pair of runs in the top of the first on an RBI double by Chloe Kaneko and an RBI single by Christian High product MARY GRABOWSKI.

The Toreros increased their lead to 3-0 in the top of the third when Lauren Tomey doubled to left-center, bringing home former Granite Hills standout MORGAN JURTZ.

With Coleman in control in the circle, USD's offense kept adding on. The Toreros plated another two runs in the top of the fifth on an RBI single down the left field line by Tomey and an RBI double to right-center by Grabowski.

CSU-San Marcos' Alex Miller gains All-Academic honors.
(CSUSM courtesy photo)

Another All-Academic honor for WHHS alum Miller

© East County Sports.com
TOWSON, Md. (5-21-13) — Former West Hills High standout ALEX MILLER, now one of the leaders for the No. 5 Cal State San Marcos softball team, has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Third Team in the College Division, it was announced Monday (May 20). Winners were selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Miller, a junior, is no stranger to athletic success, having led the Cougars to back-to-back NAIA Final Four appearances and having been named a 2nd Team NAIA All-American each of the past two seasons.

Currently, Miller leads the Cougars in batting average (.429), on-base percentage (.505), and slugging percentage (.629), as well as runs scored (51), doubles (22), homeruns (4), and walks (23). She is also 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts.

She's no slouch in the classroom either, boasting a 3.41 grade point average as a Human Development major at CSUSM. Miller is currently in Columbus, Ga. for the NAIA National Championships after leading the Cougars to three straight wins in the opening round after going 8-for-9 (.888) with three walks and seven RBI.

Miller earns All-Academic honor at CSUSM

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (5-4-13) — Former West Hills High standout ALEX MILLER, a two-time NAIA All-America selection at Cal State San Marcos, keeps adding to her lengthy list of awards.

Miller, a junior shortstop, has been named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team, it was announced Friday (May 3) by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The citation, which covers District 8 (Alaska , California , Hawaii , Oregon , Washington and Canada), now qualifies Miller for consideration to the Academic All-America Team, which will be released May 29.

The CSUSM career leader in doubles (58), Miller has twice been a first team A.I.I. Conference selection and has led the Cougars to back-to-back NAIA Final Four appearances. In addition, she has been awarded second team NAIA All-American recognition for each of the last two years.

Currently, Miller leads the No. 5 Cougars in batting average (.404), on-base percentage (.478), and slugging percentage (.584), as well as runs scored (47), doubles (20), homeruns (3), and walks (23). She is also 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts.

Miller also excels in the classroom, boasting a 3.41 grade point average as a human development major at CSUSM.


Hall of Champions honors CSUSM's McGinley

© East County Sports.com
BALBOA PARK (5-3-13) — Former Valhalla High standout KAITLIN McGINLEY, who has helped Cal State San Marcos to near the top of the NAIA national softball rankings, as been named among the Breitbard Stars of the Month for April by the San Diego Hall of Champions.

McGinley led the 5th-ranked Cougars to a 9-3 record in April by hitting .460 (17-for-37) at the plate with three doubles, two triples and 10 stolen bases in 11 games. She also racked up 10 runs and seven RBI on the month, and went 4-4 against Hope International to help clinch head coach Dave Williams'700th career victory.

For the season, the speedster is hitting .392 and is 3rd in the NAIA in steals with 39 steals in as many attempts. She also ranks 6th in the NAIA in triples with six. On top of that, McGinley has a 13/7 BB/K ratio, and is a skilled defender with excellent range and a strong arm in the outfield.

A second-team NAIA All-American in 2012, McGinley was also named to the A.I.I. All-Conference Team for the second straight season on Wednesday. The official release can be found on the San Diego Hall of Champions website. Other notable Breitbard Award winners from this month are Major League Baseball players Chris Denorfia (San Diego Padres) and Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles).


Hunyady named PacWest player of the week

© East County Sports.com
OAKLAND (5-2-13) — Former West Hills High standout KAELI HUNYADY, who now plays for NCAA Division II program Holy Names University, has been named one of the Pac West Conference's softball players of the week.

Hunyady, a junior utility player, posted a big week in six ballgames (five starts), batting a cool .467 (7-for-15), with a double and three RBI for the Hawks.

In three seasons on the West Hills varsity, Hunyady always batted at least .300, with a best of .354 as a senior in 2010.


Stalford honored twice as GSAC's best

© East County Sports.com
COSTA MESA (4-23-13) — For the second time this season, former Grossmont High standoit RACHELSTALFORD has been named the Golden State Athletic Conference softball potcher of the week. The Vanguard University sophomore won for the weeks ending Apr. 1 and Apr. 22.

Stalford's first citation came after earninh 3 wins and a save as Vanguard won all four contests in which she pitched. The right=handed pitcher earned a save in her first outing of the week and allowed just one run in 19 innings of work while striking out 8 batters

Three weeks later for the Lions, Stalford tossed a complete game shutout against Hope International and recorded 5 strikeouts on the week. Then she allowed only 3 hits in the 5-0 win over the Royals. She also held No. 3-ranked Cal State San Marcos to just 1 run in 6 innings of a 1-0 loss.


USD's Mary Grabowski
goes yard twice – both
game-winners – over the
weekend at Saint Mary's.
(USD courtesy photo)
Grabowski smacks game-winning HRs on consecutive days

© East County Sports.com
MORAGA (3-31-13) — Former Christian High standout MARY GRABOWSKI, the 2011 East County player of the year, smacked her firsr career home runs over the weekend, and both were game-winners to help the USD Toreros split doubleheaders with host Saint Mary's in Pacific Coast Softball Conference action at Cottrell Field.

On Friday (Mar. 29), USD had just allowed a 5th-inning run to the Gaels to open the scoring, but Grabowski answered in the 6th with a 3-run homer to take the lead in a contest won by the Toreros, 4-1.

One day later, Grabowski belted a 2-run shot in the 9th inning to make a winner of USD pither JENNY LAHITTE (Granite Hills) in a 4-2 triumph over Saint Mary's on Saturday (Mar. 30). Lahiite was tagged for a pair fo early runs, then closed with a solid effort, firing 8.1 innings of shutout ball.

The blasts gave USD (17-18, 2-6) splits in both doubleheaders.

The Toreros return to action on Wed,, Apr. 3, when they travel across town to play San Diego State at 6 p.m.


CSUSM softball keeps winning, yet drops to No. 2 in nation

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (3-19-13) — Sporting a stellar record of 26-4 and posting an 11-game win streak during the first month of the season, still it wasn't enough for the Cal State San Marcos women's softball team to remain at the top of the NAIA national rankings.

In the association's first coaches' poll of the regular season, Southland rival Concordia University of Irvine assumed the top spot, although CSUSM gathered more first-place votes than the Eagles.

Concordia still collected four more voting points than the Cougars, 560-556, following its 25-2 start. They started the season at No. 5; San Marcos drops to No. 2

Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Lee (Tenn.), No. 4 Rogers State (Okla.) and No. 5 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.).

CSUSM hosts three doubleheaders next week, March 26-28, against Simpson (Calif.), Columbia College (Mo.) and Hope International, respectively. First pitch for each contest is 2:00 p.m.


No. 1 CSUSM Extends Win Streak to 11

© East County Sports.com
LA MIRADA (3-10-13) — Former West Hills High standout ALEX MILLER drove in runs in both games, while All-American Cortney Allen extended her pitching streak to just one earned run over her last 73.2 innings, leading Cal State San Marcos to Saturday's (Mar. 9) doubleheader sweep.

The NAIA top-ranked Cougars (20-3) ran their winning streak to 11 after blanking both William Jessup, 2-0, and host Biola, 8-0, at Freedom Field.

In game one, Valhalla alum KAITLIN McGINLEY scored the first run on a run-scoring single by Olivia Lucatuorto, who leads the ballclub with her 27th RBI of the season. McGinley reached base with a 1-out single, then moved into scoring position with her 20th stolen base in as many attempts this season.

Miller added an insurance run with an RBI in the 6th, as Allen tossed a 5-hit shutout.

Against Biola, CSUSM scored five times in the 1st en route to a run-run victory.

Brogan Hoenisch went 2-for-3 with a bases loaded triple and tallied four RBI, while Miller added two hits and two RBI to back Allen (16-1), who leads the natiol in victories.

The Cougars will put both their 11 game winning streak and 27-game home winning streak on the line as they host William Woods (Mo.) Monday at 2 p.m. at the CSUSM Softball Field.


Claudette Tanabe-Smith
Micheire Koria
Smith, Koria fuels Howard to 16-1 start

© East County Sports.com
BIG SPRING, Texas (2-24-13) — Howard College is expected to be named the top-ranked women's softball team in the nation in the initial NJCAA poll of the regular season following an astounding 16-1 start by the Hawks.

And former Helix High all-state player CLAUDETTE SMITH is one of Howard's key performers.

Now using her full name of Claudette Tanabe-Smith, the starting outfielder is batting a solid .365, but her power numbers are even more impressive. The former All-East County standout already has six home runs and five doubles among her 19 hits lifting her slugging percentage to a mere .808.

In addition, former West Hills standout MICHERIE KORIA ranks among the Hawks' leaders, too. The Howard shortstop has posted 19 stolen bases in 17 starts, and even owns a home run, her first at a school program since her freshman year with the Wolf Pack in 2007.

Koria was twice tabbed to the All-East County team, including a first-team berth as a catcher in 2010, the same season twin sister FAITH KORIA gained the same honor playing second base for West Hills.


University of San Diego starting pitcher Jenny Lahitte
(USD courtesy photo)
USD's Lahitte spins 4-hitter at Fresno State

© East County Sports.com
SANTA BARBARA (2-15-13) — Former Granite Hills High standout JENNY LAHITTE tossed a complete-game 4-hitter, pacing the USD women''s softball team to a 2-1 triumph over Fresno State in the Gaucho Classic at UC Santa Barbara's Campus Diamond.

Fresno State was the 1998 NCAA national champions.

Lahitte settled in after allowing a 1st-inning run. After allowing a triple and an RBI single to open the ballgame, she blanked the Bulldogs on just two additional hits over seven innings, striking out four.

Meanwhile, the Toreros (2-2) rebounded with RBI singles by second baseman Danielle Mavridis and center fieler Dana Prelsnik, who knocked in Christian High alum MARY GRABOWSKI in te 2nd for what proved to be the winning run.

The Bulldogs threatened in the 3rd, but Lahitte was able to strand Fresno State runners on second and third to end the inning and preserve the lead.


Brown finds success at Dominguez Hills

© East County Sports.com
CARSON (2-14-13) — Posting a solid 8-2 mark to open the season, Cal State Dominguez Hills will meet Chico State in its home opener Thursday (Feb. 15) in a doubleheader.

Catherine Brown
Helping lead the Toros charge is starting center fielder CATHERINE BROWN, who has started in all 10 ballgames after transferring from Concordia. The El Capitan High grad is batting .289 for Dominguez Hills, including a 2-for-3 outing against Dixie State.

The Physical Therapy major transferred after helping Concordia post the best record in school history.

Also on the Toros roster is Patrick Henry High product LAUREN HARPER, one of the team's two starting pitchers. She's 3-2 with a 2.59 ERA.

   Miller, Allen, both perfect for CSUSM

© East County Sports.com

SAN MARCOS (2-11-13) — West Hills High alum ALEX MILLER equaled a Cal State San Marcos record by going 6-for-6 at the plate in a doubleheader, yet her effort was overshadowed by a perfect game by pitcher Cortney Allen, as the No. 1 ranked Cougars swept an A.I.I. twinbill from La Sierra, both games finishing 8-0 on walkoff, run-rule hits.

Miller's day included a double, a stolen base, three runs and a trio of RBI by the center fielder for CSUSM (7-2) in the ballclub's home openers.

Meanwhile, Allen struck out five of the first six batters she faced en route to retiring all 15 Golden Eagles batters she faced.

The perfect game was the Cougars' first at home since All-American BRENNA SANDBERG (another West Hills graduate) defeated Emerson College in March 2011.

   East County alums aid
USD in openers

© East County Sports.com
ALCALA PARK (2-9-13) — A pair of East County products contributed to a season-opening doubleheader split by the University of San Diego women's fastpitch team.

Hosting McNesse State, Christian High alum MARY GRABOWSKI, the 2011 East County player of the year, starting the campaign with a bang, driving in USD's first run of the season with an RBI double to left-center field.

In game two, Santee resident CASSIDY COLEMAN (Horizon HS) tossed a 5-hit shutout in a 2-0 triumph. She overcame six walks with five strikeouts, including one after McNeese State loaded the bases in the 5th inning.


CSU San Marcos opens campaign ranked No. 1 in NAIA

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK (2-3-12) — The top ranked Cal State San Marcos softball team impressed in their season debut Saturday (Feb. 2), taking 2 out of 3 games at the Best of the West Invitational hosted by Cal State Stanislaus.

Included was an impressive 4-hit shutout of Chico State, an NCAA Division II school, in a 4-0 win. The Cougars (2-1) also defeated Holly Names, then fell to San Francisco State.

Among East County players, centerfielder ALEX MILLER (West Hills) walked to load the bases for NAIA second-team All-America outfielder KAITLIN McGINLEY, who snapped the scoreless tie with a 2-run single.

Miller later added a 2-run double in an 8-1 win over Holy Names.

Meanwhile, Chico State went 0-3 on Day One following the loss of a pair of seniors in team batting champion BRITT WRIGHT (Grossmont College, .384) and RACHEL FAILLA (Santana).


East County Products at 4-Year Schools
Name School/Hometown NCAA D-1
Amanda Carpenter Santana Ball State VIDEO
Cassidy Coleman Horizon (Santee) U. San Diego
Jazmin Daigle Steele Canyon Coastal Carolina
Melanie Goff Mira Mesa/
Grossmont Coll.
Louisiana Tech
Amanda Grable Santana North Dakota St.
Madison Hanten Steele Canyon Stanford
Lorena Klopp Steele Canyon San Diego State
Morgan Kurtz Granite Hills U. San Diego
Jenny Lahitte Granite Hills U. San Diego
Kelly Majam Mtn. Empire Hawai'i
Mari Majam Mtn. Empire Northwestern
Amanda Omahen Granite Hils Wisc.-Green Bay
Alli Scott Christian Harvard
Name School NCAA D-2
Carly Aceves Helix Adelphi (FHockey)
Jenna Basnight West Hills Dakota State
Catherine Brown El Capitan CS Dominguez Hills
Natalie Camarda The Bishop's (Lakeside) Adelphi
Cora Cordova Valhalla Southern Utah
Rachel Failla Santana Chico State
Ricki Gentry Christian Western N. Mex.
Jayme Jarvis Steele Canyon Chapman
Hannah Rapoport Grossmont HS/
Grossmont Coll.
Colorado Christian
Torrey Rook Valhalla

San Francisco St.

Britt Wright Grossmont Coll. Chico State
Alisha Wyckoff El Capitan Western N.Mex.
Name School NCAA D-3
Leslie Kohen Helix Whittier
Name School NAIA
Vanessa Adame Steele Canyon Dickinson St. N.D.
Amber Beebe Santana/
Grossmont Coll.
Sterling (Kan.)
Heather Brewer El Capitan/
Grossmont Coll.
NW Oklahoma St.
Alyssa Dronenburg Helix CS San Marcos
Monique Elliott Christian Okla. Christian
Alli Gunter Christian Concordia (Ore.)
Taylor Hallahan West Hills Vanguard
Angela Lovelady Granite Hills/
Grossmont Coll..
Oklahoma City U.
Shaley Madruga Helix Simpson
Kaitlin McGinley Valhalla CS San Marcos
Alex Miller West Hills CS San Marcos
Ashley Renaldi Grossmont HS Ottawa (Kan.)
Rachel Stalford Grossmont HS Vanguard
Alyssa Taylor Grossmont Coll. NW Oklahoma St.
Kylee Wilson Granite Hills/
Grossmont Coll.
NW Oklahoma St.
Name School Non-Calif. JC
Claudette Smith Helix Howard College
Yes, we know the list is incomplete. Email to us
names of those who(m) should be added HERE
2012 SEASON
Elliot finishes as top frosh at OCU

© East County Sports.com
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (6-13-12) — Former Christian High standout MONIQUE ELLIOTT recently closed out her freshman season at Oklahoma Christian University with an 11-game hitting streak, powering the Eagles deep into the playoffs.

The starting second baseman batted .313 this season, including .394 during her hot streak to close the season, as Elliott, the team's leadoff hitter, advanced to within one game of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament championship round, held at the Hall of Fame Stadium Complex in Oklahoma City.

Starting in all 52 ballgames this season for OCU (35-17 overall, 14-12 SAC), Elliott ranked among the team's leaders in almost every offense category, including first in sacrifices.

Elliott was a three-time member of the All-East County team, including a first team berth as a senior in 2011.


2012 Season Round-Up of locals at NCAA Division I schools

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (6-15-12) — A compilation of former East County standouts during their 2012 collegaite season:

HARVARD:
ALLIE SCOTT (Christian High), the starting catcher for the Crimson, batted .279 while catching for former Scripps Ranch pitcher Rachel Brown (21-7), earnng a berth to the NCAA Seattle Regional after claiming a second straight Ivy League championship. Harvard went on to eliminate Maryland and No. 23 Texas Tech before falling in the final to No. 16 Washington.

Brown was one of 10 members of the Harvard class of 2012 were honored at the annual Senior Letterwinners' Dinner at histroic Murr Center, taking home the Radcliffe Prize as Harvard's outstanding female athlete.

Meanwhile, Harvard assistant coach CARRI (LETO) MARTIN, who starred at Valhalla and Northwestern before becoming a National Pro Fastpitch All-Star second baseman, delivered a baby girl last week, reports her father NICK LETO, for whom the Norsemen diamond is named after (along with his wife).

LOUISIANA TECH: MELANIE GOFF (Mira Mesa/Grossmont College) was named first team All-Western Athletic Conference, making 44 starts between shortstop, third base and pitcher.

The junior batted .409 the second-ever Lady Techster to bat over .400 – with 47 hits in 115 at bats, including 14 doubles, one triple and two home runs. Goff also set a WAC Tournament single game record by scoring five times in a 17-7 win over Fresno State . In her Division I pitching debut against nationally ranked Michigan , Goff allowed only one hit and no runs in 3.0 innings of action.

For her efforts, Goff was voted the Louisiana Sports Writers Association State Co-Newcomer of the Year by a panel of media and sports publicists after earning a first team all-state citation at the utility position by LSWA.

For her efforts, Goff was voted the Louisiana Sports Writers Association State Co-Newcomer of the Year by a panel of media and sports publicists after earning a first team all-state citation at the utility position by LSWA.

The Lady Techsters are coached by former Christian High standout SARAH DAWSON, who later became National Pro Fastpitch MVP.

WISC.-GREEN BAY: AMANDA OMAHEN (Granite Hills) led the Fighting Phoenix (23-27) in home runs, RBI and runs scored to cap her senior year. Included was a 5-RBI outing against St. Peter's on Mar. 14, then a 4-for-4 game with a pair of homers against Butler on Apr. 14. For the season, Omahen batted .285 in 43 starts, as the ballclub overcame a 1-8 start to nearly finish at .500.

NORTH DAKOTA STATE: AMANDA GRABLE (Santana) started in all 60 games at third base for the Bison (38-22), advancing to the NCAA Tucson regional, where they defeated Hawai'i (featuring former Mountain Empire standout KELLY MAJAM ), and fell to Notre Dame and the host Arizona Wildcats.

Grable batted .269, and was among the team leaders in almost every offensive category, including first home runs (9) in walks. The ballclub qualified for the NCAA Tournament after capturing the Horizon League tournament title for the fourth consecutive season.

COASTAL CAROLINA: JAZMIN DAIGLE (Steele Canyon), a junior third baseman for the Chanticleer’s (school record 44-20), batted .269 in 46 starts this season, finishing second in stolen bases.


Balough blossoms in Tennessee, named NAIA All-America

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (5-30-12) — Former Santana High standout BRITTANY BALOUGH received NAIA All-America second team honors as a pitcher for Lee University.

Balough, a senior, won 25 games against just three losses, with an earned run average of 1.26. She also received the same honor from CoSIDA, a national group of college athletics public relations representatives.

Balough helped the Lady Flames gain a berth in the NAIA Tournament, then was solid in her lone appearance at the event, working a five-inning complete game, allowing no runs on just two hits, while striking out four and walking none.

Over her four-year career at Lee, Balough has pitched in 110 games, 80 of those as a starter. She has accumulated a 66-22 record and an ERA of 2.09. Her .750 winning percentage is tops in Lee program history (minimum 50 decisions), while her career ERA is fourth best in Lee history.

Earlier this season, Balough was named Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) All-Conference, plus was honored in the classroom as a member of the SSAC All-Academic team.


No. 2 CSUSM at NAIA Nationals
SDSU at NCAA L.A. Regional
UCSD at NCAA Division II Nat'ls.


Ball State's Carpenter named All-Mid-American Conference

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND (5-15-12) — Ball State University saw six members of its women's fastpitch team gain All-Mid-American Conference laurels Monday (May 14), including former Santana High standout AMANDA CARPENTER. The junior center fielder received a second team berth.

Carpenter batted .335 in the regular season, ranking among the team leaders in almost every major offensive category. She started in all 55 Ball State ballgames this year, yet did not commit an error on defense.

She also led the team in stolen bases, while her one home run was a grand slam. Her 58 total hits rank 10th in the conference.

Ball State teammate Jennifer Gilbert became just the fifth player in Cardinals history to earn MAC Player of the Year,

The Cardinals, the regular season MAC champions, enter Thursday's opening of the conference tournament as the top seeds, facing either No. 4 Ohio, No. 5 Western Michigan or No. 8 Toledo after receiving a first-round bye.


Rapoport, CCU, place second at RMAC
Waiting begins for NCAA Division II bid

Colorado Christian's Hannah Rapoport

© East County Sports.com
GOLDEN, Colo. (4-29-12) — After falling in the opening game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament, former Grossmont High and Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT and her Colorado Christian University Cougars ran off five consecutive victories to force a play-back final. However, Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colo.) hung on to take the tournament championships after the third-seeded Skyhawks beat the fourth-seeded Cougars, 7-4, at the Colorado School of Mines Softball Complex.

Rapoport, the center fielder and leadoff batter, went 2-for-4 in the opener, yet CCU was drubbed by Neb.-Kearney, 7-0. However, Colorado Christian rebounded to whip the host Orediggers (6-4), Regis (13-3), a rematch with Neb.-Kearney (5-0), and Colorado Mesa (6-1) to reach the championship round.

Rapoport's best outing was a 2-for-3 effort against Regis, which featured a run and two RBI, including a sacrifice fly.

In Saturday's (Apr. 28) final of the double-elimination event, CCU defeated the Skyhawks, 4-3, to gain a playback final, but Fort Lewis still gained the automatic entry to next week's NCAA Division II regional in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Colorado Christian, a first-year program, will wait until Monday's announcement for at-large berths to the regional, which will include a total of eight teams from the RMAC and the Northern Sun Conference.


Rapoport named RMAC player of the year

© East County Sports.com
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4-24-12) — The last piece to the building of the new women's fastpitch program at Colorado Christian University proved to be the most important one.

On Tuesday (Apr. 24), the first-year Cougars announced that former Grossmont College and Grossmont High School standout HANNAH RAPOPORT was named the player of the year in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Rapoport, the leadoff batter, led all RMAC hitters with a .482 batting average – also the fourth-best nationally among NCAA Division II schools. The sophomore pitcher/outfielder also ranked among the national leaders in hits and runs scored.

She clinched the batting title by going 6-for-8 over the weekend in a doubleheader split with Colorado-Colorado Springs.

"What else can I say about Hannah? She was on fire again today to wrap up the conference batting title," said Cougars head coach Daven Bond.

Colorado Christian also received the No. 4 seed to the RMAC Championships, meeting Neb.-Kearney in Thursday's first-round pairing. The tournament will be held at Regis University in Denver.


Adame bunts to success in North Dakota

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, N.D. (4-10-12) — For former Steele Canyon High standout VANESSA ADAME it was a simple enough play. Put down a bunt and sacrifice her Dickinson State teammate to second base.

However, when the catcher's throw to first base sailed toward what seemed like Canada, Adame was almost caught by surprise.

“I was in shock,” Adame recalled after reaching second base. “As soon as I’d seen (head coach Kristen Fleury) waving me around, I was like, ‘OK, this is what you want? Alright.’”

Adame not only scored the game-tying run, her Blue Hawks went on to an 8-3 victory over Black Hills State in Monday's (Apr. 9) game at Gress Softball Complex. It was the team's sixth consecutive victory.

Following a slow start, Adame is enjoying her senior season in the Dakotas . Dickinson State (19-15) is a perfect 4-0 and in first place in the Dakota Athletic Conference. Her big weekend raised her batting average over .300.

Against Valley City State (N.D.), Adame drove in two runs in the first game of a doubleheader, then belted a 2-run homer in a 2-for-3 performance, with two runs and a career-high three RBI, in the second contest.

After just two collegiate homers entering the season, Adame now has four bombs this season. She is also just 12 hits shy of 200 in her career with the Blue Hawks.


Rapoport gets a Rocky Mountain high

© East County Sports.com
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (4-4-12) — Former Grossmont High and Grossmont College standout HANNAH RAPOPORT received her second player of the week citation in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for the period ending Apr. 1.

Rapoport, a pitcher/outfielder, had a monster week at the plate, going 15-for-22 (.681) with fire runs and five RBI, lifting Colorado Christian University to within one full game of first place Fort Lewis (Colo.) in the RMAC standings after a 4-game sweep of Colorado State-Pueblo as she posted multiple hits in each contest.

She also pitched a shutout against Regis College of Denver.

For the season, Rapoport is batting .696 this season, ranking among the NCAA Division II national leaders.


Carpenter named MAC player of the week

© East County Sports.com
MUNCIE, Ind. (3-27-12) — For the second time this season, the Ball State University softball team swept the Mid-American Conference West Division's weekly awards with junior outfielder AMANDA CARPENTER (Santana High) earning player of the week and senior Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz.) garnering pitcher of the week.

The pair helped guide the Cardinals to a 3-1 record at last weekend's Miami Invitational as BSU out-hit its opponents .304 to .212, while posting a 1.62 team ERA compared to an 8.12 mark for opposing pitchers.

"Amanda and Audrey played key roles in our success at the Miami Invitational," said Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson. "Amanda had a great weekend and came through with some big hits for us. Audrey turned in a dominating performance versus Dayton and really set the tone for how we competed the rest of the weekend."

Carpenter, who earns MAC Player of the Week honors for the second time in her career, led the Ball State offense with a .467 batting average over the four games at the Miami Invitational. She finished the tournament 7-for-15, with three multi-base hits including a pair of home runs.

Her two long balls, both coming versus Loyola, moved her into a tie for fourth all-time in program history with 14 career home runs. Carpenter's home run in the second game versus the Ramblers drove in what proved to be the game-winning run.

Carpenter scored six runs in the four games to climb from sixth to fourth in program history with 96 career runs scored. She also finished the tournament with five RBI to raise her career total to 92 which ranks fifth in program history.


Hallahan, Stalford capture East County alumni battle

© East County Sports.com
COSTA MESA (3-25-12) — In a battle of East County alumni, former West Hills High standout TAYLOR HALLAHAN blasted a tie-breaking, 2-run triple in the 5th inning, powering Vanguard University past visiting Ottawa (Kan.), 3-1, in a non-conference, intersectional contest at The Pitt.

Hallahan, the leading hitter for the Lions this season, recorded her hit off the Braves' ASHLEY RENALDI, the former Grossmont High pitcher who is the career strikeout leader for Ottawa.

In the second game of the teams' doubleheader, another former Grossmont standout, RACHEL STALFORD, pitched a complete game in a 2-1 verdict to complete the sweep.

Stalford, the 2011 East County pitcher of the year for the CIF Division I champion Foothillers, also drove in the winning run with a triple when Vanguard (22-15) scored twice in the bottom of the 5th to offset a 1st-inning run by Ottawa (11-14).

Grossmont High coach Jerry Lerud witnessed two alums,
Vanguard's Rachel Stalford (GHS '11) and Ottawa's Ashley
Renaldi (GHS '08), pitch against each other last Saturday.
"It made a happy coach very proud to see how well these two are doing," said Lerud. "It's the first time in my 17 years to have two players from GHS throwing against each other."
(Grossmont High courtesy photos)
Vanguard's Rachel Stalford
Ottawa's Ashley Renaldi


Braves softball visits The OC
Former Foothillers collide in Saturday doubleheader

© East County Sports.com
COSTA MESA (3-22-12) — Already ranking among the school's leaders in every important offensive category, Grossmont High product ASHLEY RENALDI will be visiting the Southland this weekend playing for Ottawa University (Kan.).

Ottawa's Ashley Renaldi

Included will be a Saturday (Mar. 24) doubleheader against Vanguard University, which features another former Foothiller in RACHEL STALFORD, plus West Hills grad TAYLOR HALLAHAN.

Playing in the Midwest, Renaldi sometimes gets lost among East County alumni, but Ottawa coaches know about her value.

In three seasons with the Braves, Renaldi ranks among the best in batting averaging (.373), and is second in career pitching victories.

Last season, despite missing half of the season due to injury, she still gained a second team berth on the All-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference team for the third consecutive season.

Meanwhile, Hallahan is the top hitter for Vanguard with a .358 batting average, along with 13 stolen bases in as many attempts. Stalford is second on the Lions with a .346 avg, and is also their top pitcher with an 8-3 record and a 1.04 ERA.


Mar. 20: USD pitcher Jenny Lahitte earned
her second PCSC pitcher of the week citation.
(Photo by Suzy Lahitte)

CSU San Marcos tops national softball rankings

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (3-20-12) – Buoyed by a trio of East County products – plus a school-record 19-game winning streak – the Cal State San Marcos women's fastpitch team moved to the top of the NAIA Softball Coaches Top 25 Poll in results released Tuesday (Mar. 20).

The Cougars (28-2) garnered 11 of 20 first-place votes, gaining its first-ever appearance as the nation's top-ranked program, placing among the national leaders in both pitching (1.04 ERA) and offense (201 runs scored).

Three of the top four hitters for CSUSM hail from East County. The batting average leader is ALYSSA DRONENBERG (Helix), with a .476, with her 8 homers boosting her slugging percentage to .991. Meanwhile, ALEX MILLER (West Hills) is 1-2 in opposite categories. Her batting average is a solid .407, but with a team-best 13 doubles, her slugging percentage is an even 1.000.

In addition, KAITLIN McGINLEY (Valhalla) is tied for fourth with a .360 mark and is 22-for-22 in stolen base attempts.

Elsewhere in the NAIA rankings, Concordia (Ore.), featuring former Christian High standout ALLI GUNTER, is among the honorable mention. Gunter, a sophomore, is battng .371 while leading her ballclub in runs scored.


Rapoport, Colorado Christian, grab RMAC lead

© East County Sports.com
SILVER CITY, N.M. (3-18-12) — In a battle among East County alumni, HANNAH RAPOPORT (Grossmont High/Grossmont College) and her Colorado Christian University Cougars took over first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference following Saturday's (Mar. 17) doubleheader sweep of RICKI GENTRY (Christian High) and her Western New Mexico University Mustangs, 6-5 and 15-12, at WNMU Softball Complex.

Rapoport, a sophomore who starts in centerfield, went 2-for-5 with an RBI and scored twice in the second game for CCU (15-12,11-3 RMAC).

On Mar. 4, Gentry, a freshman, won her first decision of the season by defeating Colo.-Colorado Springs. Since then, Western (11-20, 6-12 RMAC) has dropped 10 in a row.

The ballclubs are slated to play another doubleheader (weather pending) on Sunday.
Failla, Wright, aid Chico State explosion

© East County Sports.com
ARCATA (2-29-12) — Former Santana High standout RACHEL FAILLA was part of a record-breaking weekend by the Chico State women's softball team, which scored 57 runs on 69 hits in a 4-game sweep of host Humboldt State.

Failla, an All-East County performer when leading the Sultans to the San Diego CIF Division III crown in 2008, started her senior with the Wildcats in style, smashing a pair of home runs against the Lady Jacks, moving within a bomb for third place on the school's career list.

For the season, Failla, a four-year starter at first base, is batting .395.

Also on the Chico State roster is former Grossmont College standout BRITT WRIGHT, who bats leadoff and plays in right field.

Wright is batting at a .410 clip, ranking second on the ballclub in stolen bases and third in total hits despite missing five contests.


CSUSM to meet NPF champion Pride

© East County Sports.com
CATHEDRAL CITY (2-22-12) — The No. 2 ranked Cal State San Marcos women's fastpitch team, which features East County standouts in senior ALYSSA DRONENBERG and sophomores ALEX MILLER and KAITLIN McGINLEY, will get a treat while being tested on the field at the same time.

On Thursday (Feb. 23), the Cougars will meet the best team in the nation in an exhibition ballgame, facing the USSSA Pride, defending champions of Women's Pro Fastpitch.

The Pride (30-9 last summer) feature several former Olympians and NCAA All-Americans, including gold medalist and NCAA career ERA leader Cat Osterman, as well as 4-time NCAA All American and Olympic gold medalist Jessica Mendoza.

The Cougars will also have to face reigning NPL batting champion Natasha Watley, who hit .459 last year at the plate. Dueling against CSUSM on the mound will be Danielle Lawrie, a two-time NCAA Player of the Year award winner.

The contest will take place at Yankee Stadium of the Big League Dreams Sports Park, starting at 8 p.m. CSU San Marcos is 11-2 this season.

Update: The Pride won, 10-0 in five innings.


Klopp gains SDSU home run record

© East County Sports.com
TEMPE, Ariz. (2-12-12) — The San Diego State women's fastpitch team gained a split of games at the Kajikawa Classic on Saturday's (Feb. 11), with former East County pitcher of the year LORENA KLOPP responsible for the victory in record-setting fashion.

Following a close 6-5 loss to No. 9 Tennessee, the Aztecs bounced back to take down No. 23 Georgia Tech, 3-2, as Klopp drove in all three runs for SDSU (3-2).

Klopp's first at-bat against the Yellow Jackets was a deep, 2 -run homer to also bring home Hayley Miles (double), giving the Steele Canyon High product her school-record 18th of her career. She eclipsed the career record formerly held by four-year players Megan McDonald (2005-08) and Erryn Gutjahr (1996-99).

By the way, Klopp is just five games into her second season with the Aztecs.

Georgia Tech, which earlier defeated No. 8 Arizona, eventually tied the ballgame. However, Klopp delivered the game-winning hit in the 6th inning, bombing a double to score freshman Kayla Jordan (Bonita Vista).

The Aztecs conclude the tournament against No. 11 Oregon on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. MT.


Another season, another Dronenburg bomb
Helix alum's 40th career HR is game-winner
in Cal State San Marcos' season opener

© East County Sports.com

TURLOCK (2-5-12)— The senior year for Cal State San Marcos slugger ALYSSA DRONENBURG started with a bang in her very first game of the season.

Dronenburg, the former Helix High standout, belted a game-winning, 2-run homer Saturday (Feb. 4), leading the Coyotes to a 3-2 verdict over Cal State Dominquez Hills at the Bank of the West Tournament.

Her 3rd-inning blast snapped a 1-1 deadlock for the first baseman's 40th career homer.

Later in the day, CS San Marcos (3-0) also defeated tournament host Cal State Stanislaus, 5-3, and San Francisco State, 7-3, to complete a sweep of NCAA Division II programs. The Coyotes are ranked second nationally in the NAIA.

For the day, Dronenburg batted 3-for-9 at Pedretti FIeld. She is the three-time reigning offensive player of the year among NAIA independent programs.

CS San Marcos also features two other East County products in sophomores ALEX "High Life" MILLER (West Hills), a second-team All-America selection last spring, and center fielder KAITLIN McGINLEY (Valhalla).

2011 SEASON
CSUSM at NAIA Nationals
Sandberg, Miller named NAIA All-America

Cougars' best season ends with 4th at NAIAs

Dronenburg powers CSUSM to the Final Four


Scott gains All-NFCA regional berth

© East County Sports.com
STARKVILLE, Miss. (5-23-11) — Former Christian High standout ALLIE SCOTT, a member of the All-East County team last season, has been named to the All-Northeast Regional team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Scott, a freshman catcher for Harvard, initially earned a second-team, All-Ivy League berth, then out-voted the senior catcher from Penn to gain the regional award. The honor also included an automatic berth for consideration to the All-America team.

Scott ranked seventh among all Ivy players with a .421 batting average, leading all conference catchers in slugging (.877), home runs, doubles, RBI and total bases. On defense, the left-handed catcher also led all conference backstops in fielding percentage (.993), put outs, assists, fewest errors and fewest stolen bases allowed.

Harvard catcher Scott leads way for NCAA berth

© East County Sports.com
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (5-10-11) — A key factor in a historic season for the Harvard women's fastpitch team has been the play of former Christian High standout ALLIE SCOTT.

Along with capturing the school's fifth Ivy League championship, and with it an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Championship, the Crimson set a record with their 36th victory of the season. All of this occurred after Scott stepped on campus and took over as starting catcher as a freshman.

Scott led all Ivy catchers on both offense and defense. Along with a near-perfect .993 fielding percentage, she finished seventh among all Ivy batters with a .421 average, tying for second place in home runs (8), doubles (8) and slugging percentage (.877).

Scott also drove in a pair of runs during the final game of the Ivy Championship Series, a 4-0 triumph over Cornell, to sweep the best-of-3 series.

The NCAA Tournament selection show will take place this Sunday (May 15).


Balough sisters shine at Lee

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (5-22-11) — The Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) announced its annual awards Thursday (May 19), naming former Santana High standout DANIELLE BALOUGH to the all-conference team for the third consecutive season.

Balough, a senior for Lee University , hit an even .400 entering the SSAC conference tournament, leading the team with 10 home runs and 44 runs batted in.

The Lady Flames had three players named to the All-Division Team, including junior BRITTANY BALOUGH.

Both sisters also were SSAC All-Academic performers, with Brittany also gaining a national NAIA scholar-athlete berth.


East County players dominate CSUSM picks

Klopp: Mountain West player of the week
Klopp breaks Aztecs record for RBI
  Winning streak reaches record-tieing 13 straight
Two more HRs for Steele Canyon alum Klopp

UCSB's Kasden making waves at San Diego Crew Classic

© East County Sports.com
MISSION BAY PARK (4-4-11) – Former Grossmont High softball standout CORAL KASDEN must've been excited when her UC Santa Barbara rowing team captured its flight of the San Diego Zoo & Safari Park Cup at the San Diego Crew Classic on Saturday (Apr. 2).

But where do you stay if you're a club rowing program without the funding of a regular varsity outfit?

For the 22 members of the Gauchos rowing team, you stay at the Kasden residence in La Mesa.

"I heard it was pretty wild, with people sleeping everywhere," said Foothillers softball coach JERRY LERUD. "I guess they were filling every nook and cranny at her parents' house."

However, after posting a time of 7:04.60 to win by more than six seconds over the closest competitor in the race, no one was complaining. Meanwhile, Kasden, an All-East County second team centerfielder last season, competed in the Novice 'B' final, finishing second to USD.


Amber Taynton
Taynton gains NJCAA honor

© East County Sports.com
YUMA, Ariz. (3-24-11) — Former El Capitan High standout AMBER TAYNTON has been named the NJCAA Region I (Arizona) pitcher of the week after a trio of strong outings for Arizona Western College during the week of Mar. 14-20.

Over 25 innings of work, Taynton struck out 23 batters in leading the Matadors to three victories. Taynton allowed just two earned runs in a 10-5 triumph over Scottsdale , and a pair of unearned runs in a 4-2 decision over Paradise Valley among her victories.

As a senior for the Vaqueros in 2010, Taynton posted a solid 5-2 record and 1.33 earned-run average while pitching behind freshman standout DELANIE GOURLEY. Included were 56 strikeouts in only 42 innings. Taynton also batted .276 and ranked second on the ballclub in triples.


USD pitcher Jenny Lahitte
(Photo by Suzy Lahitte)
Velovich, Lahitte, pitch USD to Classic II title

Klopp homers twice, equals SDSU single-season home run record

Dronenburg hits key Cougar Clash HR, then Miller scores GW run for CSUSM

West Hills alum Sandberg tosses no-hitter, perfect game on same day

CSU San Marcos' East County products (l-r):
Alyssa Dronenberg, Alex Miller and Brenna Sandberg.
(Photos by Lenny Gemar)


Chico
Chico's chicas

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK (2-28-11) — Chico State, a turnaround program which moved to within one victory of a NCAA Division II Women's College World Series berth last season, is off to a flying start thanks to a pair of East County products – BRITT WRIGHT and RACHEL FAILLA.

Wright, Grossmont College's All-Pacific Coast Conference standout last season, started her Wildcats career by collecting six hits, three stolen bases and a pair of RBI on the first day of the season-opening Best of the West Invitational on Feb. 5.

Through seven contests for Chico State (5-2), Wright, the leadoff-hitting right fielder, leads all Wildcats with a .476 batting average and five stolen bases.

Meanwhile, Failla came through big following a 3-week break due to the weather, posting the best effort of her collegiate career in Sunday's (Feb. 27) California Collegiate Athletic Association opening doubleheader against Cal State Stanislaus.

Failla, the Wildcats first baseman out of Santana High, went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored in a 17-7 verdict. The four hits were a career best, raising her average to .286.


College Softball Notebook: 'Pearls' for February
Miller earns monthly award; Gunter takes weekly award

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (2-25-11) — They do things differently in the North County.

Although February has yet to turn into March, Cal State San Marcos already announced its athletes of the month for the year's shortest month, with West Hills High product ALEX MILLER among the honorees.

The freshman second baseman hit .513 for the month of February, starting in all 13 of her team’s games. Miller leads the squad with 20 hits, 18 RBI, 14 runs scored and 8 doubles.

Most recently, Miller blasted two home runs – including a grand slam – as part of a 7 RBI performance in the team’s home opener in a doubleheader sweep of Mayville State, 10-0 and 17-1.

Weekly Honors
PORTLAND, Ore. (2-25-11) — Former Christian High standout ALLISON GUNTER, a freshman at Concordia (Ore.), was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference pitcher of the year for the period ending Feb. 20.

Gunter, an All-East County selection last season, led the Cavaliers go 4-0 at the Northwest Cup in Clackamas, Ore., over the weekend.

On Saturday, Gunter came on in relief in two games and notched wins in both outings. In nine innings of work, Gunter allowed seven hits, no earned runs, walked two and struck out nine.

She also was 8 of 14 (.571) at the plate, scoring a team-high six runs and was 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts during the tourney.

Golden Griffins in Oklahoma
ALVA, Okla. (2-25-11) — The 4-year college career for former Granite Hills High and Grossmont College standout KYLEE WILSON was triumphant.

Wilson, now the starting catcher for Northwestern Oklahoma State, saw her Rangers sweep a season-opening doubleheader from Tabor College ( Kan. ) on Monday (Feb. 21). The next day, during a Sooner Athletic Conference opening twinbill against nationally-ranked Oklahoma Christian, the junior added a double.

Meanwhile, KATIE THOMAS, WIlson's former Griffins teammate, is the starting Rangers third baseman. In the opener against Tabor, Thomas (Santana) batted 2-for-2 and scored twice in an 8-0 victory.

Out of the gate, Thomas leads the Rangers with a .500 average, with including doubles on three of her four hits for a .876 slugging percentage.

Other Notes: Former Santana standout SHAE BASS, the 2006 and 2007 East County pitcher of the year, is reported to have left Michigan State and is now living with her mother in Montana... In Finnish, the month February is called helmikuu, meaning "month of the pearl." When snow melts on tree branches, it forms droplets, and as these freeze again, they are like pearls of ice.


San Diego State freshman Lorena Klopp.
(Courtesy, SDSU media relations)
Collegiate debuts special for Klopp, Gentry

© East County Sports.com
LOS ANGELES (2-13-11/Revised 2-16-11) — Former Steele Canyon High standout LORENA KLOPP, who burst onto the scene with a CIF San Diego Section record for RBI with 60 as a freshman, is doing the same thing in her first season with San Diego State.

Klopp, a two-time All-CIF state selection with the Cougars, slugged a home run and drove in five runs, plus gained a pitching triumph, helping the Aztecs to a pair of victories Saturday (Feb. 12) in the season-opening Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament at UCLA.

The Aztecs (3-0), who are receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls, run-ruled Utah State, 10-1, in five innings in the first game, then downed Central Florida, 5-1, in the nightcap.

In the opener against the Aggies (0-3), Klopp wrapped up a six-run, second inning for SDSU with a two-run homer over the center field fence. It was the second consecutive game that Klopp homered, also going deep in Friday's season debut triumph over North Dakota State.

Klopp (1-0) earned the win for the Aztecs, allowing one run on three hits and two walks over four innings. She struck out two Utah State batters.

In the second game, SDSU spotted the Knights a 1st-inning score, and then scored five unanswered runs. State loaded the bases with one out in the 3rd, then Klopp cleared them with a double to left field. She now has 6 RBI in her first three collegiate outings.

SDSU wraps up tournament play with games Sunday (Feb. 13) against Utah State (11:30 a.m.) and the host, top-ranked and defending national champion UCLA Bruins (2 p.m.).

Also special in Silver City
Meanwhile, former Christian High standout RICKI GENTRY opened her collegiate career by being named Western New Mexico University's student-athlete of the week for the period ending Feb. 13.

Gentry registered an on-base percentage of .500 during the Mustangs' appearance at the Desert Stinger Classic in Las Vegas. Included was a 3-for-3 outing against Lewis University, then Gentry belted home runs against Western Oregon and St. Edward's.

For the season, Gentry, the designated player, leads Western New Mexico (2-9) with a .450 batting average.


Best in the West, but the nation, too?

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK (2-8-11) — A trio of former East County standouts – led by NAIA All-America pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG – were named to the all-tournament team after leading 8th-ranked Cal State San Marcos to the championship of the Best of the West Invitational held at Cal State Stanislaus.

Sandberg, a West Hills High product, was joined by Cougars infielders ALYSSA DRONENBURG (Helix) and ALEX MILLER (West Hills) on the all-tournament team.

Sandberg posted a 4-1 record during the event, posting a 1.35 earned-run average.

Dronenburg, one of the NAIA's top hitters last season, is off to a .563 start, with a home run and 9 RBI. Meanwhile, Miller is batting .471, with a pair of doubles and 5 RBI.

Cal State San Marcos (5-1) can make a dent in the national rankings this week, traveling to Hawai'i to meet reigning NCAA Division II national champion Hawai'i Pacific on Wednesday (Feb. 9), followed by contests with BYU Hawai'i and Chaminade. All three are scheduled as doubleheaders.


2010 SEASON
Danielle Balough
Sarah Seymour
Brenna Sandberg
NAIA All-America honors for trio

© East County Sports.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (7-31-10) — A trio of East County products earned berths on the NAIA All-America team, the association announced.

Gaining second-team berths are Lee (Tenn.) infielder DANIELLE BALOUGH (Santana) and Cal State San Marcos pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG (West Hills), while Dordt (Iowa) first baseman SARAH SEYMOUR (Christian) received an honorable mention citation.

Balough powered Lee to a remarkable 57-5 overall record, as the school advanced to within a game of the NAIA Elite Eight at the national finals. She batted .410 with 11 homers and 59 RBI for one of the most proficient offenses in NAIA history (403-121 advantage in runs; .351 team batting average).

Meanwhile, Johana Gomez, Balough's teammate for the Lady Flames, edged Sandberg for national pitcher of the year accolades. Gomez posted a 30-1 record while also batting .516 for Lee.

Sandberg pitched the Cougars to its first NAIA regional championship, also gaining a berth to the nationals. Just like Lee, CSUSM fell one game short of the Elite Eight after also posting a 2-1 record in pool play.

The junior pitcher led the NAIA in victories (38) and innings pitched (328 1/3) this season to become the first All-American in the Cougars' four-year history.

Sandberg went 38-12 with a 1.26 ERA and 318 strikeouts this season, tossing consecutive no-hitters in the team's first two postseason contests.

Seymour, a member of the 2007 All-East County team, led the Defenders with a .411 batting average. She led the ballclub in nearly every offensive category, including school records for home runs (9) and slugging percentage (.768), to go along with 6 triples, 46 hits and 35 RBI (second-most in school history).

Over the final 8 games of the year (including 4 conference tournament games), Seymour batted an even .500 (11-for-22) for Dordt.

For her efforts, Seymour was also tabbed the Great Plains Athletic Conference player of the year.


Laurie Lindow
(UTM photo)
Lindow completes career in style

© East County Sports.com
MARTIN, Tenn. (5-22-10) — Former Santana High catcher LAURIE LINDOW, a member of the 2004 and 2006 All-East County teams, called it a career after 17 seasons of softball following the elimination of her Tenn.-Martin Skyhawks from the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.

Lindow, a 3-year starter, helped UTM post a solid 47-11 record this season before falling in the OVC championship game to Jacksonville State .

During the tournament awards ceremony, Lindow and two of her teammates were named to the OVC All-Tournament Team. It was Lindow's second such citation. She was also named to the regular-season All-OVC select as a first-team honoree, leading in conference in number of runners picked-off or caught attempting to steal.

Lindow batted a solid .287 this season, ranking among the UTM leaders in home runs (8) and RBI (39). Included was a .375 mark during the team's 11-game winning streak in March, then .333 over another 11-game stretch to complete the regular season.

For her UTM career, Lindow ranks in the school Top 10 in RBI.

She is majoring in forensic geology.


The 2009 East County Sports
Co-Players of the Year gain similar
freshman awards in college.
Jazmin Daigle
(CCU photo)
Amanda Carpenter
(Ball State photo)

Daigle named Frosh of the Year

© East County Sports.com
CONWAY, S.C. (5-15-10/revised 5-22-10) — Coastal Carolina University softball standout JAZMIN DAIGLE (Steele Canyon HS) took home one of the major awards given by the Big South Conference, named as the Division I circuit's Freshman of the Year.

Daigle also gained a second-team berth on the All-Big South team after ranking fourth in the Big South (tops among first-year players) with a .371 batting average.

Daigle ranks fourth in the Big South (tops among first-year players) with a .371 batting average.

Hitting in the third spot for the Chanticleers, the rookie leads her team in several offensive categories, including batting average, hits (59), doubles (9), RBI (28) and total bases (89).

Daigle registered a 14-game hitting streak during the season, hitting .420 during the span. She also tallied 16 multiple-hit games and seven multi-RBI performances during her freshman campaign, including a grand slam in her first collegiate game against USC Upstate.

Coastal Carolina will host the 2010 Big South Championship as the 6th seed against No. 3 Winthrop.

   Carpenter ain't no apprentice

© East County Sports.com
AKRON, Ohio (5-15-10) — Ball State University left fielder AMANDA CARPENTER, a Santana High product, has been named to the All-Freshmen team for the Mid-American Conference, in results announced after balloting by conference coaches.

Carpenter ranks second on the Cardinals with six home runs, and owns the team's fifth-highest batting average with a .305 mark.

She is ranked No. 2 in the conference with 39 runs scored and 40 RBI. In conference play alone, Carpenter is batting at a .324 clip and is tied for first on the team with four home runs. Additionally, she ranks in the top-five in the MAC in three categories – runs scored, RBI and total bases.

At Santana, Carpenter established school and East County records for doubles in a season.


Panthers slugger Jayme Jarvis
(Chapman Univ. photo by David Rubene)

Anything but a lemon
Jarvis tabbed NCAA D-3 All-West Region

Courtesy, Chapman Media Relations
ORANGE (5-14-10) — Chapman University softball player JAYME JARVIS, a product of Steele Canyon High School, has been named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III All-West Region team.

The sophomore designated player earned first team honors in voting by the coaches panel, and was the lone Panthers fastpitch player represented among the region’s best.

Jarvis had a breakthrough year in 2010 – her first as an everyday player – batting .282 and tying for the team lead with four home runs. She ranked third on the team with a .487 slugging percentage and finished with four doubles and 14 RBI in 28 starts for Chapman (16-20).

The slugger recorded a team-best 8-game hitting streak from March 10-22, during which she batted .450 (9-for-20) and raised her season average from .182 to .355.

On May 1, Jarvis blasted Chapman’s first home run at its new home field at El Camino Real Park – a two-run shot to left-center field in a win over University of Dallas.

The Panthers’ pair of 9-1 victories over Dallas placed an exclamation point on an equally festive day where Chapman and the City of Orange celebrated the official grand re-opening of El Camino Real Park, followed by a ceremony for five Panthers seniors playing in the final games of their careers.

Jarvis is the first Chapman softball player to earn All-Region honors since a trio of Panthers were named to the team in 2008.

Jarvis was a two-time All-East County left fielder for Steele Canyon, gaining first team honors as a senior in 2008, and second team honors as a junior in 2007.

  
Danielle (top) and Britti Balough, the
sisters for Lee Univ
women's softball.
(Lee U. photos)
A league of their own

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (5-14-10) — "Playing with Fire," the slogan to market the Lee University athletic department, couldn't be any more appropriate for the Lady Flames women's fastpitch team. And the BALOUGH sisters of Santana High – junior infielder DANIELLE and sophomore pitcher BRITTY – are leading the way.

Lee enters the week ranked second nationally in the NAIA with a school record-tying 55 victories in its stellar 55-4 record. Included is a mark of 30-2 for the championship in the Southern States Athletic Conference, then the school swept to the title in conference tournament with a 10-2 decision over Shorter College in the finale.

With the crown, Lee gains the conference automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship, set for May 20-26 in Decatur, Ala.

Danielle owns a .419 batting average, including 10 homers and 57 RBI, ranking second among the Lady Flames in each category.

Britty is also the No. 2 pitcher for Lee, yet possesses a 15-2 record and a 1.82 earned-run average.

The school enters nationals riding a 12-game winning streak. Lee will meet Notre Dame of Ohio in its pool-play opener on May 20, then battle Savannah Arts (Ga.) (May 21), followed by Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) (May 22), which set a record with 68 home runs this season.

Meanwhile, Point Loma Nazarene (28-14) qualified for its 10th appearance at nationals, while Cal State San Marcos (38-14) is making its debut in just its fourth season of competiiton.

Shorter and Point Loma Nazarene were placed in the same pool along with Ottawa (Kan.) and Mid-America Nazarene (Kan ). CSU San Marcos plays in a pool with Union (Ky.), Mount Mercy (Iowa) and William Carey (Miss.).


Dickinson St. (N.D.) sophomore outfielder Vanessa
Adame (Steele Canyon HS), shown bunting against Black Hills State, has been one of the many Blue Hawks softball players to show improvement during
the team’s 18-game win streak. The Blue Hawks,
who won their fifth consecutive Dakota Athletic
Conference title last Sunday (May 9), open the
DAC Tournament on Saturday in Valley City, N.D.
(Photo by Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press)

Escalante named All-SCIAC for third time

© East County Sports.com
EAGLE ROCK (5-10-10) — Former Grossmont High standout ALYSSA ESCALANTE capped her career at Occidental College with her third All-Southern Californian Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team selection.

Escalante, a senior who split time between catcher and designated player, was voted by the coaches to the second team for the third time in her four seasons with the Tigers. She also landed berths following her freshman and sophomore seasons.

She batted .333 this season, leading Oxy in totals hits (22), slugging percentage (.485 in SCIAC play) and total bases (32), including four doubles and a pair of home runs.

Occidental concluded the season with an 8-24 overall record, 5-19 in SCIAC games.


Sandberg, Dronenburg lead CSU San Marcos to NAIA nationals
Sandberg, 2 no-hitters; Dronenburg, .500 avg. in regional

Brenna Sandberg (top),
Alyssa Dronenberg

© East County Sports.com
HOUSTON (5-10-10) — West Hills High product BRENNA SANDBERG tossed a 5-hit shutout, while Helix High alum ALYSSA DRONENBURG batted 3-for-4 and scored three times, leading Cal State San Marcos to a 9-0 pasting of Simon Fraser (B.C.) in the title game of the NAIA regional for independent ballclubs.

The victory, the first regional championship in school history, gives the 5th-ranked Cougars (38-14) an automatic berth to the NAIA National Championships, slated to open May 20 in Decatur, Ala.

The Clan (38-14) came out of the challengers bracket and beat CSUSM, 5-4, to force a playback final. But Sandberg dominated, striking out six and allowing just five singles to the team from British Columbia.

During the tournament, Sandberg carried a stretch of 15 consecutive innings without allowing a basehit, tossing back-to-back no-hitters against Ohio Dominican and tournament host Houston-Victoria earlier in the double-elimination event.

Sandberg owns an NAIA-best record of 36-10.

Meanwhile, Dronenburg fueled a 5-run rally in the 1st inning with a hit. In the 4th, Dronenburg tripled and scored, then the sophomore singled and register her third run in the 6th.

In four tournament contests, Dronenburg led all hitters by batting .500 (5-for-10) and was walked four times.


Jessie Owens
(PLNU photo)
Owens lone frosh
on All-GSAC team


© East County Sports.com
POINT LOMA (4-30-10) — JESSIE OWENS, a former All-East County player for Christian and Santana high schools, continues to shine for 6th-ranked Point Loma Nazarene University.

Owens, who plays in the outfield for the Sea Lions (26-12), was the only freshman named to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference softball team. The listing of 18 players was voted on by GSAC coaches.

Owens leads all PNLU batters with a .347 batting average – the 9th-best in GSAC – starting in every contest for the Sea Lions this season.

The left-handed hitter (Owens is a righty when pitching) also leads the conference in stolen bases with 24, five more than second-standing AMANDA OMAHEN (Granite Hills), an Alpine resident who is the leading hitter (.326 average) for Vanguard University.
   CSU San Marcos makes huge jump

© East County Sports.com
HOUSTON (4-28-10) — Earning its highest national ranking of the season, the No. 7 Cal State San Marcos women's softball team earned the top-seed in next week's NAIA regional for independent ballclubs. The 6-team, double-elimination event will be hosted by 21st-ranked University of Houston-Victoria.

The Coyotes (35-13) are led by pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG (West Hills) and power-hitter ALYSSA DRONENBURG (Helix).

Sandberg owns a 33-10 record and a 1.30 ERA, with her win total leading all of NAIA national softball. Among the junior right-hander's recent victories was a 7-4 verdict over top-ranked Cal Lutheran last Wednesday (Apr. 21) in Riverside.

Dronenburg owns a club-best .440 batting average and an even more impressive .888 slugging percentage, placing her 10th in the nation. Nearly half of the sophomores hits go for extra bases, including 16 home runs, plus 48 RBI.

One of her homers came in back-to-back fashion with teammate Ciera Ashman (Patrick Henry HS) in the win over Cal Baptist.

The Coyotes earned a first-round bye in the regional, meeting the winner between Ohio Dominican and Brithish Columbia. on Thurs., May 6. The other half of the draw features 2nd-seed Simon Fraser (B.C.), plus LSU-Alexandria and host UHV.

The event winner will gain an automatic berth to the NAIA Women's World Series, slated for May 20-26 in Decatur, Ala., although San Marcos seems a lock for an at-large berth.

Adame lifts Blue Hawks into DAC lead

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, N.D. (4-26-10) — Paced by some key hits by Steele Canyon High product VANESSA ADAME, Dickinson State University extended its winning streak to 10 games Sunday (Apr. 25) after sweeping its fifth straight Dakota Athletic Conference doubleheader.

Over the weekend, the Blue Hawks (24-9, 15-3 DAC) took four games from visiting Mayville State (N.D.). The ballclub now shares first place with Minot State (15-3) and Jamestown College (12-2) heading into the final week of the regular season.

Adame, the starting centerfielder who has batted 9th most of the season, took advantage of her promotion to the top of the batting order. The sophomore extended her hitting streak to nine consecutive games by going 6-for-13 with a pair of doubles and four RBI over the weekend, and is now batting an impressive .571 (16-for-28) during her hot streak, raising her season average to a club-leading .402 following a 1-for-10 slow start to the season.

Also on the Dickinson State roster is Grossmont College product CHARNEL ZETSCH, who is red-shirting this season.

  

Mtn. Empire alum leads NCAA in HRs

© East County Sports.com
RENO, Nev. (4-26-10) — The University of Hawaii is now nationally ranked (23rd and 25th in the both major women's fastpitch polls) after Wahine pitcher Stephanie Ricketts fired a perfect game at Nevada on Saturday (Apr. 24).

Mountain Empire High product KELLY MAJAM, the starting centerfielder, aided the effort by batting 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI as the leadoff batter for first-place Hawai'i (39-11, 17-0 Western Athletic Conference).

Majam, a red-shirt freshman, is now batting .403 this season, leading all NCAA Division I batters with 25 home runs. When Majam hit her 24th homer back on Apr. 17 against Louisiana Tech (coached by former Women's Pro fastpitch MVP and Christian High product SARAH DAWSON), it broke the WAC single-season record.


Samantha Beasley
Beasley sets Aztecs 'K' record

© East County Sports.com
Sat., May 1
UNLV at
SDSU, 1 pm

Televised on
Cox Ch. 320

PROVO, Utah (4-26-10) — Former Steele Canyon High standout SAMANTHA BEASLEY struck out 11 BYU batters Friday (Apr. 23), lifting San Diego State to a 9-4 Mountain West Conference victory over the host Cougars.

With the effort, Beasley's career-long 9th consecutive victory, the junior set an Aztecs record for strikeouts in a single season with 277, two more than Christina Ross (2008). Beasley has now won 17 of her last 18 decisions for SDSU (27-11, 5-1 MWC).

In the same contest, SDSU senior Brittany Knudsen homered and drove in a career-high five runs, while becoming the all-time school leader in doubles.


Terese Diaz
Diaz throws no-hitter in Buffalo home opener

© East County Sports.com
BUFFALO, N.Y. (4-22-10) — One of the problems playing outdoor sports in the northeast is always the weather. So unlike their Southern California brethren, the University of Buffalo women's softball team didn't hold its home opener until Apr. 14. But it was memorable.

Former Helix High standout TERESE DIAZ established a school record with 16 strikeouts, throwing a no-hitter at St. Bonaventure in a 7-0 victory.

Diaz, a sophomore, smashed the old Bulls strikeout mark, which was just 12 since the school gained NCAA Division I status for the 2000 season, in tossing her first shutout of the season (third career).

In addition to her pitching, Diaz is tied for the club lead in home runs, and tied for second in triples in just 74 at bats.


Ashley Lovelady
Three times a Lovelady

© East County Sports.com
CLAREMORE, Okla. (4-21-10) — While a pair of younger sisters were celebrating a championship with Grossmont College on Tuesday (Apr. 20), former Griffins standout ASHLEY LOVELADY is continuing to find success at Northwestern Oklahoma St., an NAIA school located in Alva, Okla.

The 2009 Player of the Year in the Pacific Coast Conference, Lovelady again paced Northwestern's Rangers to a road doubleheader split with Rogers State (Okla.).

In game one, Lovelady batted 2-for-6 in an 11-inning loss, but bounced back in the second contest by going 2-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBI in a 4-1 triumph. The big blow was a 2-run homer to left field in the 3rd inning, raising her season batting average to .440 with seven homers.

A week earlier, Lovelady helped the Rangers mount a 6-game winning streak, capped by a personal-record performance against Oklahoma Baptist on Apr. 14.

In the doubleheader sweep, Lovelady batted 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in each contest. The first game included four RBI, as the centerfielder finished with six RBI on the day.

Lovelady played her high school ball at Mount Miguel and Grossmont high schools, gaining team MVP honors with the Foothillers as a senior in 2003, gaining a pair of All-East County second team berths,

She is majoring in business administration.


Balough sisters on 22-game win streak

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The final season of Point Loma Nazarene University softball finds the Sea Lions ranked third nationally in the NAIA. Above them: defending national champion Cal Baptist as a unanimous No. 1 at the top rung of the rankings, followed by Lee University (Tenn.), which features several East County products.

The Lady Flames (36-3) are currently riding a 22-game winning streak, aided by starters DANIELLE and BRITTY BALOUGH of Santana High.

The Flames lead the Southern States Athletic Conference by 4.5 games following Tuesday's (Apr. 6) doubleheader road sweep at Brenau University (Gainesville, Ga.), raising their conference mark to 19-1.

Brittany Balough (11-1) threw the complete game shutout, giving up just four hits and two walks, needing just 56 pitches to complete the game. She also earned a save in the first game.

Meanwhile, Danielle Balough posted a pair of RBI singles. The second baseman raised her batting average to .393, ranking second on the ballclub with 6 home runs.

Elsewhere, Cal State San Marcos (27-9) jumped seven spots to No. 16 in this week's poll.


CSU San Marcos pair leads DH sweep

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (3-30-10) — With an influx of players from San Diego County, both Cal State San Marcos and little Simpson College of Redding rank among the winningest NAIA teams in the west this season. The teams met in an important doubleheader with playoff implications on Monday (Mar. 29), heavily influenced by East County products.

Helix High alum ALYSSA DRONENBURG slugged a grand slam in the opener, while West Hills High product BRENNA SANDBERG struck out 14 over both contests, allowing just one earned run, as CSU San Marcos swept the twinbill, 8-1 and 2-1.

Dronenburg batted 2-for-4 including the slam, with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Sandberg tossed a 2-hitter and a 5-hitter, running her record to 22-6 for the Cougars (23-9). Simpson fell to 25-12.

Notes — In Conway, S.C., former Steele Canyon standout JAZMIN DAIGLE batted 3-for-3 against St. John's, including a home run and three RBI, leading Coastal Carolina to a 15-2 victory. The Chanticleers, which went 2-2 at their own Coastal Softball Tournament, enter Big South Conference play with a 16-17 record.


Ball State Cardinals freshman outfielder Amanda Carpenter
(on left in group photo) during a break in the tournament.
(Courtesy, Ball State University)

Carpenter Named MAC Player of the Week

© East County Sports.com
MUNCIE, Ind. (3-20-10) — Former Santana High standout AMANDA CARPENTER is building a nice career at Ball State University.

The starting freshman outfielder for the Cardinals capped a big week by being named the Mid-America Conference player of the week for the period ending Mar. 14. It was the left-hander's first career citation for her playing during a two-week, spring break roadtrip to Clearwater, Fla.

Carpenter led the Cardinals by scoring in every game and recording six runs, six RBI and a slugging percentage of .824 during the Under Armour Invitational, hosted by the University of South Florida. She was also 2-for-2 in stolen bases and posted a .412 batting average in 17 at bats.

Her best day of the week was March 13 when the Cardinals faced Temple and Stony Brook. Against Temple, the rookie had two hits, including one triple, and a pair of runs scored. Her accuracy held against Stony Brook, going a perfect 3-for-3 including her second home run of the season, raising her batting average to .327 through 19 appearances.

Ball State (15-5) posted a perfect 5-0 record, with the middle win giving Cards coach Craig Nicholson his 100th career victory.


Beasley Named MWC Pitcher of the Week
Wins third conference award of the season

Courtesy, SDSU Media Relations
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (3-12-10) — San Diego State junior SAMANTHA BEASLEY (Steele Canyon HS) has been named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league announced Thursday (Mar. 11). It is the third weekly award for the righthander and the seventh of her career. MORE

The following week, Beasley topped former Helix High standout pitcher TERESE DIAZ, as the Aztecs (13-8) won their fifth straight victory after topping the University of Buffalo, 5-0, Wedesday (Mar. 10) at the SDSU Softball Stadium.


Chico State Wildcats sophomore first baseman Rachel Failla.
(Courtesy, Chico State University)

Failla tabbed Top Cat

© East County Sports.com
CHICO (2-24-10) — Sophomore RACHEL FAILLA, Chico State's top slugger from a year ago, is already providing the Wildcats with plenty of middle-of-the-lineup production in 2010.

Failla batted .364 over the weekend, collecting a pair of extra base hits – including her first home run of the year – and drove in four runs in Chico State 's four-game series against Cal State Monterey Bay. For her efforts, Failla is the first Chico State softball player this spring to be honored as Wildcat of the Week.

In Friday’s (Feb. 19) doubleheader opener against the Otters, Failla went 2-for-4 with three RBI, including a run-scoring single and a two-run homer over the left field fence. In the second game, she got Chico State on the board with an RBI double, then singled to prolong a 4-run seventh inning as the ’Cats beat Monterey Bay, 5-1, to avoid a series sweep.

Failla’s .333 batting average leads all Chico State batters, and she also tops the team’s stat sheet in extra base hits (4), RBI (8) and slugging percentage (.556), tied for the team lead in doubles (3) and home runs (1), and is second in hits (9) and on-base percentage (.424).


Dronenburg among national leaders

© East County Sports.com
RIVERSIDE (2-21-10) — Former Helix High standout ALYSSA DRONENBURG will be listed among the leaders when the first set of NAIA national batting statistics are released shortly.

Entering Saturday's (Feb. 20) ballgame against top-ranked Cal Baptist at the Southern California Smash tournament, Dronenburg, the starting Cal State San Marcos first baseman, was batting an even .500 following a 2-for-2 outing earlier in the day against Holy Names. The sophomore also walked twice, including once with the bases loaded.

In the second game, undefeated Cal Baptist (15-0) held Dronenburg in check (0-for-3) to "only" lower her average to .455, but the Lancers again pitched around the slugger, also yielding another bases loaded walk.

Still, the RBI gives her 15 for the season, which should also rank among the nation's best. Dronenburg still sports an amazing 1.061 slugging percentage, while being walked in 10 times in 45 plate appearances.

San Marcos, ranked 20th in the NAIA last week, is off until next Saturday (Feb. 27) when they travel to Point Loma Nazarene. To attend the game, slated for the Navy Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) Field, located on the San Diego Bay side of the Point Loma peninsula, you must apply for security clearance by Monday HERE.

Bear it all — The senior year at Cal for former Santana High standout TAYLOR KELLY has opened strongly.

After dropping their opener to Texas A&M, the 11th-ranked Golden Bears have won six straight ballgames at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., with Kelly sporting a .333 batting average. Included was a 3-for-3, three RBI performance against Illinois-Chicago on Friday (Feb. 19), which featured a 2-run homer.


Sam Beasley
(SDSU photo)

Fastpitch Notebook: Beasley named MWC's best
Fast starts for Daigle, Failla

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (2-16-10) — San Diego State junior SAMANTHA BEASLEY (Steele Canyon HS) was named the pitcher of the week in the Mountain West Conference. It was her fifth career MWC citation.

Beasley, a 2009 all-MWC performer, registered four of the Aztecs' five victories to open the season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., last week, each against ballclubs receiving votes in both major national polls. Over 22 1/3 innings, she struck out 32 batters while posting a 0.31 earned-run average.

Included was three inning of hitless relief with six strikouts to stop Creighton in Thursday's opener, then a pair of Friday victories over NCAA Tournament teams Purdue and Kentucky.

Beasley wrapped up her stellar weekend on Saturday against Oregon, scattering three runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk over eight innings. She struck out 11 batters in SDSU’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory in eight innings.

San Diego State, which is once again receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball national polls, are featured in an ESPN.com article HERE.

A slammin' debut — Coastal Carolina freshman JAZMIN DAIGLE opened her collegiate career just about as good as one could. In the Chanticleers' opener at the Palmetto State Showdown in Columbia, S.C., Daigle belted a grand slam in a 2-for-3 outing to help down UNC-Upstate, 6-1.

The slam snapped a 1-1 tie, as Coastal Carolina eventually won in five innings due to snow.

Down 1-0, CCU tied the game on a hit batter to force in a run. Daigle then cleared the bases with her jack over the right-center field wall.

Chico and the women — The revamped Chico State women's fastpitch team, which suffered tremendous termoil earlier in the decade, including a brief suspension of the program, is off to its best start since 1985 after sweeping a doubleheader over the weekend from host UC San Diego, 2-0 and 7-6.

The combination of Jenna Wermer and RACHEL FAILLA (Santana) fueled the offense in the nightcap. With two outs in the 3rd inning, Wemers smacked a 2-run single, followed by an RBI single by Failla for a 3-0 lead. An inning later, Wermes and Failla again struck for consecutive run-scoring basehits.

Failla, the starting first baseman, is third among Chico State batters with a .313 batting average through six contests.

Last season, the Wildcats went 0-5 against UCSD, which bounced back to sweep Sunday's doubleheader in La Jolla.

A second attempt — Plans for a victorious coaching debut for first-year Christian Brothers University skipper KIMMI HAYDEN (Valhalla) went ruined when the Lady Buccaneers' home opener was snowed out. Things slipped another notch when CBU then dropped a doubleheader on the road to Central Baptist (Ark.), 6-5 and 5-0, to start the season Monday (Feb. 16) in Conway, Ark.

Christian Brothers will make-up its home opener later today (Wed., Feb. 18) against Union (Tenn.).

UPDATE: MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University sophomore shortstop Alana Kramer belted a pair of two-run homers in the second game of Thursday (Feb. 18) afternoon's home-opening doubleheader against Union, helping the Lady Bucs win the second game, 5-4, after a 2-0 loss in the opener. The victory was the first career triumph for first-year head coach KIMMI HAYDEN.


Dronenburg's blasts, Sandberg's arm, propel CSU San Marcos in '10 openers

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (2-3-10) — Former Helix High standout ALYSSA DRONENBURG helped christen the new softball diamond at Cal State San Marcos by blasting a pair of home runs, powering the Cougars to a doubleheader sweep of Redlands on Saturday (Jan. 30).

CSUSM, behind Dronenburg's blasts, captured the opener, 6-1. Former West Hills standout BRENNA SANDBERG, a junior, then captured her second pitching victory of the day with a 4-3 decision in 8 innings in the debut of new Cougars coach Dave Williams, the former long-time skipper at Point Loma Nazarene.

Dronenburg smacked a 2-run homer down the left field line in the 1st to take a 2-1 lead, then went to right-center with a blast in the 3rd for a 6-1 advantage. The sophomore first baseball went 3-for-4 with four RBI. Meanwhile, Sandberg survived a 1st-inning home run to allow just a pair of singles the rest of the way.

In game two, Sandberg again got through a shaky opening inning, as San Marcos rallied with a run in the 6th and two in the 7th to forge the international tie-breaker. Included was a sacrifice fly for a run in the 6th by Ciera Ashman (Patrick Henry).

The winning run was set up when Dronenburg was walked for a third time, this one intentional, followed by an RBI single by senior second baseman Erica Coelho (Clairemont).

The Cougars returns to their new, on-campus diamond on Friday (Feb. 5), hosting Southern Oregon in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

Notebook — For those interested in attending Point Loma Nazarene home games this season, be aware, you must give 10 days notice.

With the closure of the Sea Lions' old field (which was reclaimed by City of San Diego Parks & Recreation Dept.), the school could only find a nearby home field at the U.S. Navy's Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) Field, located on the San Diego Bay side of the Point Loma peninsula.

According to the PLNU website, "We need the names of every person that will be attending a game at the field, along with the make, model and license plate number of every vehicle that will be entering the base. In addition, we will need to know the event(s) and date(s) you will be attending. That information must be turned in 10 days prior to each attended event. All visitors must pass through a manned check point; please make sure to bring identification. Teams: It is very important to not only send us the information for the vehicles that your team will be arriving in, but your parents and fans must have their autos on the list as well. Please help us communicate this necessity with Navy security, to help avoid problems on game day."

Fans may register online HERE.

The Sea Lions feature a host of East County talent, including JESSIE OWENS (Christian/Santana) and ALYC KALAMAHA (Grossmont College) for head coach Cheryl Schaefer, who was recently inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, Owens' older sister, former San Diego State standout MELISSA OWENS, is in her first season as an assistant coach at Southwestern College.


2008-09 SCHOOL YEAR
Balough honored twice

© East County Sports.com
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (6-10-09) — Lee University second baseman DANIELLE BALOUGH (Santana HS) has been selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region team for the 2009 season.

Balough, a sophomore, hit .405 for the NAIA 16th-ranked Lady Flames this past year, socking three home runs and 16 doubles. She also scored 31 times and recorded 48 RBI, earning an All-Southern States Athletic Conference berth to lift Lee (39-14 overall) to a second-place finish in the SSAC Tournament.

Her sister, freshman BRITTANY BALOUGH, posted an 11-7 pitching record for the Lady Flames.


Hayden becomes youngest NCAA D-I coach

© East County Sports.com
MEMPHIS (5-20-09/UPDATED 5-29-09) — Former Valhalla High standout KIMMI HAYDEN, the 2005 East County player of the year, just became the youngest head coach in NCAA softball.

Kimmie Hayden

One week after graduating from the University of Memphis, where her career prematurely ended due to injury, Hayden, 21, has been named head coach at crosstown Christian Brothers University. Buccaneers athletics director Joe Nadicksbernd made the announcement.

After Hayden's injury, the Tigers were kind enough to keep the school's multi-record holder on scholarship. Meanwhile, while still attending classes, Hayden was picked up by CBU as an assistant coach, helping the young Division I program equal its school record for most victories in a season.

"The players on this year's team really like Kimmi," Nadicksbernd said. "I believe she is a perfect fit to be our new coach. She is extremely organized and is excited about this opportunity to coach college softball."

The San Diego native was a three-year starter at catcher for Memphis before suffering a career-ending shoulder injury. She graduated magna cum laude from the Sports Management program at Memphis, and she is enrolled in its graduate program,

Hayden replaces Donna Crone, who was CBU's head coach for 10 years before being promoted to Assistant Athletics Director / Compliance Coordinator.

Rising from the ashes
As the door to her playing career was closing, Hayden worked hard to close the process.

"Overcoming surgery may have been one of the hardest things I have had to endure in my career," Hayden recalled. "After my first shoulder surgery, I never thought I was going to be able to throw a ball again. I did my physical therapy in San Diego, but at that point, I was really just trying to get my range of motion back."

"Once I got back to Memphis, as usual the doctor and the training staff at the University of Memphis took very good care of me and got me ready for my sophomore season."

However, the problems in her shoulder continued to mount.

"I struggled at the beginning of my sophomore season, especially with my throwing because I basically had to learn how to throw again," she added. "But I worked very hard on it and ended up having a great season."

"But in my junior year, I dove for a ball, and I remember feeling something pop and had the most excruciating pain."

The anchor that tacked her labrum to the bone pulled out from her first surgery. A clean-up operation during the ensuing summer saw the doctor clean up the labrum, rotator cuff and re-tack the labrum back into place.

"However, my left shoulder was popping out of socket and because of the wear and tear from catching, a minor injury from my sophomore year, and over-compensating from two shoulder surgeries."

Soon, everyday activities were nearly impossible because of her left shoulder. The decision for a third surgery just six months later was "heart-breaking."

"That's when I received the sad news that my playing days were most likely over," pointed out Hayden. "This was news I had not expected and I became an even bigger fan of the training room, hoping I could continue playing if I worked hard enough."

"I spent a lot of my collegiate career in there, and I love the staff. The head athletic trainer, Amos Mansfield, was great to me; Amos and his training staff and Dr. Phillips took great care of me while at Memphis, and they still do. However, I came to accept the fact that my softball playing days were over."

Following 17 years excelling in softball, the chapter closed quickly.

"Believe me, leaving softball was one of the most heart-wrenching decisions I have made because I love the sport so much. But I truly believe in the saying that when one door closes, another one opens, and so I began a new phase of my life without sports."

"Or so I thought."

The fork in the road
One of the requirements for Hayden to graduate was to complete nine credit hours in an approved internship. A friend happened to be long-time friends with Crone, the head coach at Christian Brothers University, and offered to call Donna to find out if she had anything open for an internship.

"I met with coach Crone, who was not only the softball coach, but also the Senior Women’s Administrator and Compliance Officer. She was in need of an assistant to help with compliance paperwork with my background, she thought I could be of assistance to her department."

Hayden registered for the 3-hour internship class and after weeks of working on compliance paperwork, Crone then asked if Hayden would be interested in doing the strength and conditioning coach with the softball team for the balnce of the fall term to fulfill the remaining required hours for the internship.

"She didn’t need to ask me twice – this would be a way for me to still be involved in the sport," added Hayden, who jumped at the opportunity. "This for me was an opportunity of a lifetime; I was going into my second semester of my senior year and had the opportunity to coach a collegiate softball team in the same city I was attending college."

"This was not just an internship for me; this was the start of a new career path with my playing days over. Coaching was the next best thing."

As fate would have it, toward the end of the season, Crone received a grant from NCAA to become the Assistant Athletic Director for CBU, and she suggested for Hayden apply for the head coaching position.

"I knew at that point that because I was only 21, my age would be a factor with this position, but being given the opportunity to at least compete for the job was a huge honor in itself."

"I thought it would be a long shot on actually obtaining the position."

On May 19th, much to her surprise, Hayden was announced as the head coach.

"I am so appreciative of the opportunity Joe Nadicksbernd and Coach Crone have given me, and I am looking forward to a long career with this wonderful university." I love the atmosphere at CBU; my players, the Athletic Department, the students, and staff at this gorgeous campus have all made me feel so welcome. I think this is a great place for student-athletes and I am so proud to be a part of this institution and athletic program."


Kristen Medrud
(Loyola photos)

Medrud named first-team in Horizon League

© East County Sports.com
INDIANAPOLIS (5-7-09) — Four members of the Loyola University of Chicago softball team earned All-Horizon League honors, including a first-team berth for former Santana High standout KRISTEN MEDRUD.

It was the first honor for the junior first baseman, who was honored along with the rest of the all-star squad as a dinner prior to the Horizon League Tournament.

Medrud, who has seen the most extended playing time of her career this season, batted a team-best .358 (24 for 67) with three doubles, four home runs and 15 RBIs in Horizon League play to earn first-team honors.

Loyola's lone selection to the first team, Medrud has been on a tear in the last 12 games, batting .410 (16 for 39) with 10 RBIs. In that 12-game stretch, she has hit safely in 11 contests.
Medrud's second HR lifts Loyola

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND (4-14-09) — Former Santana High standout KRISTEN MEDRUD slugged a pair of home runs, including the game-winner in the 9th inning, powering Loyola University Chicago past host Cleveland State, 3-2, in a Horizon League ballgame Friday (Apr. 10).

Medrud batted 3-for-4 and scored all three Loyola runs, giving the Ramblers (20-12, 8-2 Horizon) their 20th victory of the season, just two short of their season total for 2008 with 18 contests remaining.

Medrud walloped her third home run of the season over the fence in right center in the 4th, extending the Ramblers' lead to 2-0. The host Vikings struck back immediately in the bottom half of the inning however, tying the contest on Amanda Houchin's two-run homer.

Neither team was able to generate much offense the rest of the way until Medrud stepped to the plate with one out in the top of the ninth and deposited Amanda Macneko's offering over the left field fence for the game-winner.

Medrud, a first baseman, is batting .250 this year, ranking among the leaders in every power category, including homers, RBI and slugging percentage.

Loyola advanced to within 1 1/2 games of Cleveland State, with Illinois-Chicago (7-1) the leader in a close Horizon pennant chase by percentage points.


Vanessa Adame
Kyrstin Gemar

Game Action Photos HERE
(Slideshow by Lenny Gemar)

Locals placed third at NAIA nationals

© East County Sports.com
DECATER, Ala. (5-20-09) — Dickinson State (S.D.), which features a pair of East County products in VANESSA ADAME (Steele Canyon) and KYRSTIN GEMAR (Grossmont College), finished where they started at the NAIA National Championships.

Ranked third in the nation entering the 32-team, double-elimination event, the Blue Hawks' season ended one game short of the championship, finishing third after falling to St. Gregory, 3-1, in the challenger bracket final.

St. Gregory, the 7th seed, received 10 more strikeouts from Sharon Bell to gain a title-round berth on Wednesday against top-rated Cal Baptist. Bell now has 78 strikeouts at the event, a new NAIA Tournament record.

Dickinson State went 6-2 at nationals, finishing the season with a 42-5 overall mark.

One of the victories at nationals featured a victory over Missouri Valley College, avenging an earlier loss on Mar. 20. Sara Jane Webster struck out 12, backed by a 2-run homer by Gemar.


Gemar, Adame, tabbed All-Conference

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, S.D. (5-6-09) — A pair of former East County standouts were named to the All-Dakota Athletic Conference team for their play in softball this season. Named to the first team are freshman outfielder VANESSA ADAME (Steele Canyon High) and junior designated player KRYSTIN GEMAR (Grossmont College), who both play for Dickinson State University.

Adame, who anchored the Blue Hawks outfield in center, batted .393 this season, ranking among the conference leaders with 53 basehits. Included were four triples and nine stolen bases.

Gemar ranked among the leaders in both average and power hitting. She batted .516 with seven home runs and 32 RBI, posting a stellar .952 slugging percentage.

Dickinson State (36-3) is ranked third nationally in the NAIA, downing Minot State, 9-0, to capture its fourth consecutive DAC Tournament crown.


Adame, Gemar, gain big win for No. 5 Dickinson State

© East County Sports.com
DICKINSON, N.D.. (3-31-09) — Former East County standouts VANESSA ADAME (Steele Canyon HS) and KYRSTIN GEMAR (Grossmont College) have lifted No. 5-ranked Dickinson State University to the top of the Dakota Athletic Conference standings after each registered key hits over the weekend.

In the final game in a 4-game series sweep of visiting Mayville State (N.D.), the Blue Hawks received a game-tying basehit by Adame in the bottom of the 7th inning. Gemar later recorded the game-winner in the 9th with a pinch-hit basehit in a 9-8 triumph to complete the sweep.

“Kyrstin is a big stick in our lineup and we’re going to count on her for a lot of things,” said head coach Guy Fridley. “We’re just fortunate enough to have somebody like her to call upon to come off the bench and get a big hit.”

Meanwhile, Adame batted 5-for-6 with three RBI in the contest. Both former East County players also went 2-for-3 in the first game of the Mar. 29 doubleheader, a 13-0 victory, as Blue Hawks pitcher Sara Jane Webster tossed a no-hitter.

Dickinson State sports a record 17-3 this season (4-0 DAC), including a 2-0 victory over Cal State San Marcos at the Tucson Invitational on Mar. 21.


Escalante gains SCIAC honors for Oxy

© East CountySports.com
EAGLE ROCK (5-19-09) — Former Grossmont High standout ALYSSA ESCALANTE, who currently starts for Occidental College, was voted to the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team.

The coaches voted Escalante, a junior catcher, to the All-SCIAC second team.

Escalante started all 37 games for Oxy this season and finished with an overall .286 batting average. She hit at a .266 clip during conference action, handling every pitch from the Tigers pitching staff over the entire season.

Occidental (14-23) tied for the most wins in a season since 2000.

At Grossmont, Escalante made the 2006 All-East County second team.


Lindow, UTM, advances to meet Arizona in NCAAs

© East County Sports.com
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (5-11-09) — Former Santana High standout LAURIE LINDOW was named to the all-tournament team, helping Tennessee-Martin capture its first-ever Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship.

Laurie Lindow
(UTM photo)

The Skyhawks, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, became the first OVC team to come through the challenger's (loser's) bracket to take the crown, winning three games on the final day, including a victory over Southeast Missouri in the playback final held last Saturday (May 9).

UTM (35-21) advances to the NCAA Regional in Louisville, meeting No. 9 seed Arizona, an 8-time national champion. The other two teams in the regional include Purdue and the host Cardinals, with the double-elimination event slated for May 15-17 at Louisville 's Ulmer Stadium.

Lindow caught every pitch throughout the Ohio Valley event, which started on a down note with a 1-0 loss to Tennessee Tech. However, UTM captured its next five ballgames with victories over Moorehead State (5-0), Jacksonville State (2-0), an avenge win over T-Tech ) 4-2), then a finals sweep of Southwest Missouri (3-2 and 4-1).

Lindow, a junior majoring in forensic geology, batted a solid .556 over the first three contests of the tournament. Teammate Savannah Roberts then took over, hitting a pair of homer in the finale. The event MVP was Skyhawks pitcher Kara Harper.

For the season, Lindow is batting a solid .273, leading the team to a late-season 7-1 run to qualify for the playoffs, topping the ballclub in RBI during the stretch.

Lindow was a 4-year starter at Santana, helping the Sultans to the 2004 CIF Division III championship. She was a three-time All-East County selection, twice on the first team (2003, 2006).


Jesse Peterson
(CSUEB photo)

Peterson tabbed Cal-Pac's best

© East County Sports.com
HAYWARD (5-6-09) — Former Grossmont College standout JESSE PETERSON made a mighty impression on coaches in the California Pacific Conference. Depsite playing for a Cal State East Bay ballclub which posted a disappointing 13-25 overall record this season, Peterson was named co-winner of the Cal-Pac player of the year award. The announcement was made by commissioner Don Ott.

Peterson, the Pioneers' first baseman, ranked among the conference's leading hitters all season with a .312 average. She also shared pitchin duties, posting a 9-11 record with 136 strikeouts over 134 innings.

Peterson, a senior, shared the award with Valerie Brionez of Cal-Pac champ Holy Names University.


Griffins alum Peterson honored

© East County Sports.com
HAYWARD (4-12-09) — Cal State University East Bay senior Jesse Peterson, an alum of Grossmont College, was selected as the California Pacific Conference women's fastpitch pitcher of the week for the period from Mar. 30 thru Apr. 6.

Peterson struck out 23 batters in four games, helping the Pioneers move into third place in its final season in the Cal Pac (NAIA); the school joins the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2009-10.

During the week, Peterson recorded hits and RBI in all six contests, batting a solid .529 (9-for-17). Her hitting streak reached nine games before finally ending on Apr. 10 against Bethany.

For the season, Peterson owns a 9-9 record with a 2.30 earned-run average. She is also the runaway CSU East Bay leader in batting with a .348 average; the next closest Pioneer is at .282. Not too bad for a player who never played varsity softball in high school; Peterson attended Helix High.


Mottola pitches GCAC Tournament shutout

© East County Sports.com

Ashley Mottola
(Belhaven photo)

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (5-2-09) — Former Grossmont College standout ASHLEY MOTTOLA pitched a complete-game shutout for Belhaven College, propelling the Blazers into the championship round of the NAIA Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament on Apr. 25.

Mottola, who posted a 13-7 record this season, finished with a 6-hitter in defeating Spring Hill College, 4-0. It was her second shutout of the season.

Belhaven went on to avenge an opening-round loss to University of Mobile, 4-2, but then fell in the tournament final, 12-2, to 5th-ranked William Carey University (40-6). Nevertheless, Belhaven finished the season with the most victories in school history with a 36-19 overall record.

Mottola, a junior from Dulzura who prepped at Santana High, recorded 70 strikeouts in 127 innings.


Dronenburg scores game-winner

© East County Sports.com
SAN MARCOS (4-19-09) — Former Helix High stanbout ALYSSA DRONENBURG scored a pair of runs, including the game-winner in extra innings, leading 25th-ranked Cal State San Marcos to a 2-1 triumph in 8 innings over 2nd-ranked Point Loma Nazarene in Saturday's (Apr. 18) non-conference doubleheader held at Mission Hills High School.

CSU San Marcos
Alyssa
Dronenburg

Brenna Sandberg

The Crusaders rebounded to take the second game, 2-1. Prior to the doubleheader, the teams completed a Febraury contest suspended by rain, with PLNU winning, 5-4, in 8 innings.

Dronrnburg scored in the 3rd, hustling home from second base on a 2-out line single by Elizabeth Bush. Point Loma Nazarene got even on an Alexandra Wilkinson homer in the 5th, but when the Sea Lions were unable to cash in their runner from second base during the international tie-breaker, the Coyotes did on a sacrifice bunt by Lauren Nelson then another basehit by Bush.

West Hills High product BRENNA SANDBERG pitched 5 1/3 innings of 4-hit ball, but reliever Ciera Ashman finally collected the victory.

For the contest, Dronenberg went 2-for-4. In game two, the designated hitter gained an RBI on a sacrifice fly. She leads all San Marcos batters with a .349 batting average, with team-highs of 8 homers and 31 RBI.

San Marcos is now 27-20 for the season.
CSU San Marcos receives East County boost

© East County Sports.com
TUCSON, Ariz. (3-27-09) — A pair of former East County softball standouts lifted Cal State San Marcos to a successful weekend at the Tucson Invitational. Included were Helix High alum ALYSSA DRONENBURG, the CIF Division I Player of the Year, and former West Hills High pitcher BRENNA SANDBERG.

Dronenburg, who was also a first-team All-San Diego CIF selection by the media last season, registered two strong games at the event last weekend (Mar. 20-21).

Against Trinity Christian, whe posted a perfect 4-for-4 with four RBI at the plate, including a walkoff, 3-run triple to invoke the run rule in an 8-0 triumph. She later went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI in a 15-6 pasting of Mayville State.

Meanwhile, in a second game with Trinity Christian, Sandberg, a sophomore, tossed a 2-hit shutout in a complete-game effort. She struck out 7 without issuing a walk, as the Cougars extended their winning streak to five straight games.

Cal State San Marcos (20-14 overall) plays Friday (Mar. 27) at USD in a 4 p.m. doubleheader, then host Vanguard in a Saturday (Mar. 28) twinbill starting at noon.

Diaz Update - TERESE DIAZ, the former Helix High standout, currently ranks 5th in the nation in strikeouts among NCAA Division I freshmen. Overall, the University of Buffalo pitcher is tied for 22nd at 9.3 strikeouts per every 7 innings (thru games of Mar. 22) according to the most recent NCAA statistical update.


Seymour delivers Dordt

© East County Sports.com
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (4-9-09) — Former Christian High standout SARAH SEYMOUR delivered the game-winning hit Wednesday (Apr. 8), helping visiting Dordt College to a 7-4 triumph over Dakota State.

Sarah Seymour
(Dordt photo)

Coming up with the bases loaded, Seymour lined a basehit to center for the go-ahead run, but when the ball was misplayed, another runner came home for a 6-4 advantage.

The Defenders (13-17), which opened the season with a 6-17 mark, have now won seven straight contests thanks to Seymour – the school's longest win streak since 2002. It's also a nice turnaround for a program which went 6-31 prior to Seymour 's arrival. During the winning streak, Seymour is batting a cool .600 (15-for-25) with 7 runs and 9 RBI.

Seymour, a sophomore first baseman, leads the ballclub with a .361 batting average. The left-handed hitter also paces the team in home runs, triples and total bases, and is second in doubles and RBI.

Dordt currently is in 5th place in the 13-team Great Plains Athletic Conference (NAIA), just two full games behind front-running Morningside College (Iowa).

At Christian, Seymour was a 2-time team MVP, earning a 2007 first-team All-East County berth after batting .378 as a senior.

Rachel Failla
(Chico St. photo)

Failla has Chico winning

© East County Sports.com
TURLOCK — Former Santana High standout RACHEL FAILLA recently lifted Chico State to five consecutive victories at the Mizuno Tournament of Champions, held at Pedretti Park on Apr. 3-5.

Rachel Failla
(Chico St. photo)

Failla, a freshman first baseman for the Wildcats, batted a team-leading 368 (7-for-19) at the event, posting victories over Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martin's, Central Washington, Western Washington and Western Oregon. The Wildcats (16-29) fell to nationally-ranked Grand Canyon in the final tournament ballgame.

For the season, Failla has started in 41 of 45 games as one of seven freshmen playing for Chico State. She owns a current batting average of .258, leading the team in home runs and in fielding percentage.

Balough sisters to play
for first place in SSAC

© East County Sports.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (4-10-09) — The championship of the NAIA Southern States Athletic Conference will be on the line Tuesday (Apr. 14), when first-place Shorter College of Georgia comes to town to meet second-standing Lee University, which features former Santana High sister combination of DANIELLE and BRITTY BALOUGH.

Shorter, ranked 12th, leads Lee's 19th-ranked Flames (23-9) by one game entering the doubleheader, with both ballclubs riding hot streaks.

Danielle (left) and Britty Balough
(Lee University photos)

Shorter (27-9) recently established an NAIA narional record by going 45 consecutive innings without allowing a run. However, Lee has kept pace, winning 15-of-17 ballgames – including an 11-game win streak – to overcome an 8-7 start to the season.

Danielle Balough is batting a solid .387 to rank third on the ballclub, starting in 28 of the Flames' 32 outings. She rates second in total hits and doubles.

Meanwhile, Britty Balough, a freshman and the heir-apparent to starting pitcher Johana Gomez of Venezuela, is keeping up with her veteran teammate. Balough leads Lee in innings pitched, owning a 7-4 record and a 2.87 ERA, including eight complete games.

And when not pitching, she has contributed with the bat, to. Included was Thursday's (Apr. 9) doubleheader sweep at Brewton-Parker College Mount Vernon, Ga.). In the second game, Balough registered a pair of basehits worth three RBI, while also scoring twice.


Samantha Beasley
(SDSU photos)

Beasley tabbed MWC pitcher of the week
Sophomore earns third honor of the season

© East County Sports.com
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (4-8-09) — There is more than one pitcher earning recognition at San Diego State this season.

While baseball's STEPHEN STRASBURG is a leading candidate as the nation's top player with a long list of national and conference player of the week honors, Aztecs softball pitcher SAMANTHA BEASLEY is quickly catching up.

Beasley, a sophomore out of Steele Canyon HS, earned her third Mountain West Conference pitcher of the week citation. A righthander, Beasley went 2-0 in two appearances with a 0.50 ERA over 14 innings. She struck out 23 and allowed just two walks for an impressive 11.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Beasley gave up seven hits, five of them singles, and one run, allowing her opponents to hit .140.

On Wednesday (Apr. 8) at USD, Beasley tossed a 2-hit shutout, striking out 10 batters. Both Toreros hits were singles, with no runner advancing past second base.

Against UNLV in the MWC opener on Saturday, Beasley had 13 strikeouts – the second-most in her career – and walked none over seven innings. She allowed five hits, three of them to Marissa Nichols, and one run. Beasley got out of a major jam in the 5th inning with two runners in scoring position and one out by getting a popout and a strikeout on a 12-pitch at-bat.

On the season, Beasley is 12-9 with a 1.91 ERA over 139 innings, and leads the MWC in innings pitched, strikeouts (174), saves (4) and appearances (29, tied-first). She is striking out 8.76 batters per seven innings in 2009, the most in school history. With at least 14 games to go in the season, Beasley also ranks fourth in saves and opponents average (.196), sixth in strikeouts and tied for seventh in solo shutouts (since 1999) (5).

The Aztecs (25-13, 2-0 MWC) are receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA and the ESPN.com/USA Softball polls. SDSU had won seven straight games, and 20 of their last 25 contests.


Terese Diaz

Kimmie Hayden

Jodie Schmehr
Taylor Kelly
 
College Softball Notepad

© East County Sports.com
A series of notes on former East County softball players at 4-year schools:

Buffalo's Terese Diaz
BUFFALO, N.Y. (3-17-09) – Former Helix High standout TERESE DIAZ made her opening week in college a successful one. The Bulls freshman was a Mid-American Conference honorable mention selection for pitcher of the week honors after posting a 2-0 mark at the K-Club Classic at Kennesaw State.

The frosh right-hander picked up complete-game wins over Drexel and Memphis, striking out 19 in 16 innings of work. At the plate, she batted .286 and knocked in a pair of runs.

Memphis' Kimmie Hayden
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The playing career for former Valhalla High standout KIMMIE HAYDEN may be over, but not her softball career. After leading the Tigers in batting (a .311 average – third-highest in school history) as a junior for the Tigers in 2008, surgeries on both shoulders ended her stint as a 3-year starting catcher.

However, while Memphis was kind enough to keep her on scholarship for her senior year – afterall, she set more than a dozen school records in three seasons with the Tigers – Hayden is now serving as an assistant coach at crosstown Christian Brothers University, an NCAA Division II program. The Lady Bucs are off to a 10-6 start, the school's best this decade.

Seattle's Jodie Schmehr
LOS ANGELES – Former Valhalla High standout JODIE SCHMEHR helped advance Seattle University to the title game of last week's Marriott L.A. Westside Classic at Loyola Marymount's Smith Field.

Schmehr, the RedHawks' starting second baseman as a freshman, helped straighten Seattle's ship following a 2-6 start by winning a season-high 3 straight ballgames at the event. Included was a 2-game sweep of Utah Valley, as Schmehr scored three runs in the series, then she turned a key double play in the 6th inning during a victory over St. Mary's.

Although Seattle lost to host Loyola Marymount in the finale, the freshman still collected two of the Hawks' six hits.

Seattle will join St. Mary's and Loyola Marymount in the new Pacific Coast Softball Conference in 2010.

Cal's Taylor Kelly
HONOLULU – Former Santana High standout TAYLOR KELLY is helping Cal remain in the NCAA national rankings. The Golden Bears (21-4) are ranked 9th nationally after sweeping all four games at the Chevron Spring Fling Tournament, hosted by the University of Hawai'i on Mar. 11-14.

Serving as the starting shortstop, Kelly has started every game but one, posting a solid .264 batting average. Included was one of three 1st-inning home runs slugged by the Bears against Wisconsin at the tournament, her second of the season. Cal also defeated Memphis, St. John's and the host Rainbow Wahine.


Cassidy Baggett

Frosh Baggett gains conference honor

© East County Sports.com
MARSHALL, Mo. (3-2-09) – In just her second week as a collegiate athlete, former West Hills High standout CASSIDY BAGGETT was named the Heart of America Conference athlete of the week for the period ending Sunday (Mar. 1) after leading Missouri Valley College to the championship of the Evangel University Early Bird Tournament.

Baggett, a freshman first baseman, batted a cool .714 in tournament victories over William Wood University, 9-5, and Rogers State, 4-3 in 8 innings. In the second game, the Vikings avenged a season-opening loss to the Hillcats in a battle of the two remaining undefeated teams in the tournament, as Baggett homered, then drove in the game-winning run in extra innings.

Baggett started the week with a power surge in a non-conference contest, pumping out a pair of home runs and accounting for all of her team's RBI in a 4-0 pasting of Ottawa University.

For the week, Baggett's hot hitting (7-for-10, 8 RBI, 1.700 slugging pct.) has lifted Missouri Valley's Vikings (7-5) to 5 straight victories after starting 2-5 out of the gate.

At West Hills, Baggett finished third among East County batters with a .457 average as a senior in 2008, gaining a first-team berth on the All-East County team.