MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Softball

  • File photo by Heston Quan

    Brooke Bollinger led Yucaipa to its first Southern Section title, beating the No. 1 team in the nation.

    The quest for perfection came to an end for Mission Viejo (Calif.) Friday, and the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings are going to be thrown into upheaval.

    No. 1 Mission Viejo came in 30-0 but Yucaipa (Calif.) was up to the task and won 1-0 in the Southern Section Division 2 title game. Now comes some serious questions.

    Yucaipa was No. 6 in the nation entering the game, but earlier this season, Mission Viejo bested the Thunderbirds twice. Now we must decide just how much the title game victory is worth.

    It was a battle of star pitchers, according to the San Bernardino Sun, as Brooke Bolinger outperformed Diablos ace Taylor McQuillin. McQuillin allowed eight hits but struck out 15. Bollinger yielded six hits and one walk while striking out seven.

    The only run of the game was somewhat controversial, as Yucaipa tallied a score in the fifth inning. Megan Martin doubled and moved to third when Jordan Green singled. The throw home was wayward and Martin went for the plate. The umpire ruled that Kayleen Shafer obstructed Martin as she tried to score, and according to the story, it was tough to tell whether Martin was tagged anyways.

    Just to make things more interesting, McQuillin came up in the seventh inning with a runner on second and Bollinger pitched to her, getting the defending Gatorade National Player of the Year to line out softly.

    "This was turning a dream into reality," Bollinger told the newspaper.

    Yucaipa finished 31-3 and at least has an argument for a national title. The national champ will be declared on June 16.
  • Video: Holt (MI) softball 8-2-4 triple play
    See one of the top softball triple plays of the season, turned by Holt High in Michigan (Video courtesy of WLNS Television)


    As we have seen in the last few weeks, triple plays come in many different shapes and sizes. Er, make that combinations.

    Looks like we can add a new one to the list after Holt (Mich.) pulled off an 8-2-4 triple play in Saturday's Division 1 district final against Grand Ledge.

    Kayla Sadler got it started in the sixth inning when she caught a fly ball in medium center field and fired a perfect strike home to catcher Tracee Hartley. Hartley placed the tag on the baserunner trying to score to record the second out, then she alertly made a perfect toss to second base, where second baseman Lindsay Reed was waiting to finish off the triple play. It went from nobody out and runners on first and third to the end of the inning, just like that.

    Just how rare was this feat? According to baseball-almanac.com, there has never been an 8-2-4 triple play in Major League Baseball. Obviously softball is a different sport, but it shows that even though triple plays are rare enough, ones that go 8-2-4 are nearly nonexistent.

    The Pittsburgh Pirates turned the first 4-5-4 triple play ever in the Major Leagues this season, and the Bel Air (Md.) JV baseball team did it with a 5-3-6 combination.
  • File photo by John Downey

    Zoe Casas is the California hit queen now.

    California is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to churning out amazing softball players. Every year scores of players move on from the Golden State to the best college programs nationwide.

    In the long and storied history of California high school softball, no player has recorded more base hits than Zoe Casas of Aquinas (San Bernardino, Calif.). She truly is one of the best of the best.

    File photo by John Downey

    Zoe Casas, Aquinas

    According to the San Bernardino Sun, Casas reached career hit No. 247 Thursday in a Southern Section Division 4 playoff victory over Palm Desert to become the top all-time hitter in California Interscholastic Federation history.

    The Florida State-committed senior is no stranger to accolades from MaxPreps. She was an underclass All-American as a freshman, underclass and small schools all-American as a sophomore, a small schools all-American as a junior and seems to be a lock to be featured on the All-American Team this season.

    She never thought she would reach such a pinnacle, telling the newspaper in an earlier article: "I never came into high school thinking hitting was going to be my strong point. I always thought it was going to be running, bunting, but hitting progressed very well.”

    The career hit total is spectacular. Here are a few more numbers that should drop jaws:

    * In four years, she has struck out twice.

    * She is hitting .741 this season and her MaxPreps career stats page has her with a .682 career batting average.

    * She only has 26 walks in her career.

    * She is a perfect 74-for-74 on stolen bases, according to stats supplied to MaxPreps.

    * Her total ranks her four hits shy of earning a spot in the National Federation of State High School Associations Record Book. The list goes to 14th, with Jessica Beach of Okemos (Mich.) at 251.
  • As if Stephanie Rundlett didn't do enough.

    Courtesy photo
    According to the Portland Press Herald, the York (Maine) junior pitcher struck out 25 and allowed one hit over 10 innings in a 3-1 Western Main Conference win over Kennebunk on Wednesday.  For good measure, Rundlett doubled home the go-ahead run and finished 3-for-5 for the undefeated Wildcats (9-0), who are No. 7 in the MaxPreps Maine computer rankings.

    The big performance is just one of many from the 5-foot-4 Rundlett this season.

    She was named Portland Press Herald Athlete of the Week the previous week after hitting three home runs and throwing a two-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 15-0 win over Freeport. Rundlett earlier fired a four-hitter, striking out 18 in a 4-3 win over Fryeburg Academy.

    York is enjoying quite a turnaround season. According to stats supplied to MaxPreps, York was 1-14 last season. 
  • The Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory (Indianapolis) versus University (Carmel, Ind.) softball game had it all. Gobs of hits, steals, runs — then more hits and more runs.

    The only thing missing was a field goal. Of course, then it would have gone to extra innings.

    Photo from brebeufathletics.org

    Head coach Jenna Swain

    In the end, Brebeuf scored a wild 31-28 victory in a regular-season game. Brebeuf (4-14) averaged 5.1 runs coming into the game. It more than doubled that after the first inning.

    "It was a great game for us," first-year Brebeuf coach Jenna Swain told the Indianapolis Star. "Just a little long."

    The combined 59 runs isn't believed to be a state record — only playoff marks are recorded — and it's well off the national mark of 95, according to the newspaper.

    But it was fun.

    University (0-8), which opened the season losing 35-19 to Greenwood Christian Academy, got off to a rousing start with eight runs in the first. By the end of the first, it trailed by five.

    "It was almost like a basketball game the way the numbers were going up," Swain told the newspaper.

    Freshman Emoni Dix and junior Audrey Robins each had three hits for Brebeuf, which didn't field a team last season due to a lack of interest. After this win — only the team's fourth in 18 games — the interest will probably increase.
  • One of the best softball pitchers in the nation left her mark on her home state in a big way Monday, setting the Ohio state record for career strikeouts.

    According to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, star pitcher Taran Alvelo of Bloom-Carroll (Carroll, Ohio) recorded strikeout No. 1,383 in her team's 11-4 win over Logan Elm to reach the pinnacle in Ohio.

    Courtesy photo
    "The record was always in the back of (my) mind and it is something I dreamed about," Alvelo told the newspaper. "Regardless of any of the other awards I've won, this is at the top of the list for me.

    "It has made my whole career because I've not only left my mark on Bloom-Carroll softball, but the whole state of Ohio. It just means a lot."

    Alvelo has been on MaxPreps' radar since her freshman season. She was named to the Underclass All-American Team in 2012 and 2013, then made it to the overall All-American team last season as a junior. She was also recently featured on the National Softball Player of the Year watch list.

    The University of Washington commit has a shot at the state's all-time wins record (needs nine to tie) and she is eight home runs short of the state record on offense as well.

    Her team is 17-4 and spent time in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings earlier this season.
  • The last team to beat the Sherwood (Sandy Spring, Md.) softball team was Blair (Silver Spring, Md.), way back in 2011, eliminating the Warriors from the 2011 playoffs.

    Courtesy photo
    It's probably safe to say that Sherwood now has supreme bragging rights, as gazette.net reports that the Warriors set the Maryland state record Monday with their 78th-straight win - and it came against Blair.

    Former Xcellent 25 stalwart Northern (Owings, Md.) held the record of 77 from 2010-14 but now the record is all Sherwood's after a 7-0 victory. The Warriors, 16-0 and ranked 12th in the Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings, are gunning for their fourth-straight state title this year and the win margin was their smallest all season, according to the story.

    “I couldn't be more proud of this team and their hard work and determination this season,” said coach Ashley Barber-Strunk, who has coached the past two seasons.

    You can see photos from the game via the Washington Post.

    It turns out state records are a thing at Sherwood, as the story also reported that shortstop Nicole Stockinger set the state career home runs record (38) just three days before.
  • Photo by Heston Quan

    Alyssa Palomino is now California's home run queen.

    Mission Viejo (Calif.) is the nation's top softball team, and now star outfielder Alyssa Palomino is the state's top home run hitter.

    Photo by Heston Quan

    Alyssa Palomino, Mission Viejo

    According to a report from the Orange County Register, Palomino cranked two homers Thursday in a 13-0 rout of El Toro to reach 55 in her storied career, surpassing Crenshaw's Alia Williams (2006-09). The left-handed senior hit seven as a freshman, 18 as a sophomore, 17 last season and has 13 thus far in 2015 according to the story.

    “It's honestly just an amazing feeling,” Palomino told the newspaper. “My team has been pushing me this whole time and they’ve motivated me to just keep working hard and doing what I do. It’s just an incredible feeling having them behind me and having so many supporters.”

    MaxPreps named Palomino an All-American in 2013 and 2014, and with her inclusion on the MaxPreps National Player of the Year watch list, it's safe to say she will grab yet another A-A honor. According to MaxPreps softball guru Tom Mauldin, the Arizona signee is one of three preps on the USA Women's National U-19 team.

    The Diablos are 21-0 and seem primed for a push for a national title, and Palomino will play a big role in that. And she won't be basking in the glory of the record.

    She told the Register after the record-setting game: “Probably not. I have hitting lessons tonight, so that is what I’ll be doing.”

  • As a pitcher, striking out a batter always feels great. But for Allison Lipovsky every strikeout of the 2013 season came with an added bonus.

    The 5-foot-11 Harrison (Mich.) junior not only struck out over 300 batters on the season, but she also raised over $4,500 to feed the hungry in the process, according to 9&10 News.

    Lipovsky originated the idea did all of the legwork before and during the season, collecting pledges for her Strikeouts for Hunger campaign this spring. Eventually the total got up to just over $13 per strikeout.

    She let her talent take care of the rest, striking out 339 batters and earning Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Division 3 All-State honors to raise $4,530.

    The money Lipovsky raised was split between a local food bank and a soup kitchen network in Clare County, Michigan. Margie Clark, the co-founder of the Stone Soup Project, says Lipovsky's donation was the largest they've ever received, and will likely feed between 1,200 and 1,400 people.

    "In the games I didn't really think about, 'Oh I have this many strikeouts so far, this is how much money,'" Lipovsky told Eric Lloyd of 9&10 News. "It was actually after the games I totaled it up and was like, 'Oh my gosh, I made this much money tonight. This is great.'"

    Lipovsky plans to continue the Strikeouts for Hunger campaign during her senior season, and is already recruiting local pitchers to join the cause.


  • The first 14 innings of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL state title game were simply building up the suspense. Then Rachel Dube ended it all with one swing of the bat, eliciting a raucous celebration.

    The Southington (Conn.) senior catcher hit the biggest home run of her life Saturday night when she won a state title with a walk-off home run to left field in the 15th inning to beat Amity 1-0 for the title.

    Photo by Ray Shaw

    Rachel Dube, Southington

    She told the New Haven Register that she considered bunting. Looks like she made the right choice.

    “They were catching everything, so when push comes to shove, we were just trying to get someone on,” Dube said. “We were just trying to put a score on the board, so you had to do what you had to do. I had two strikes on me, and I knew I had to swing, but I was actually thinking about bunting on that hit. But then I said, ‘Just go for it.’"

    Her coach, Davina Hernandez, told the newspaper: “We talked about (bunting). I said, ‘Take a cut.’ She took a cut, and was right on it. I said, ‘No, hit away, but crowd the plate even more.’ She hit away and just got a hold of it.”

    The big blast gave Southington its 16th state title in 20 years in Connecticut and helped the team finish a perfect 24-0.