By Dave Krider
Galesburg-Augusta junior pitcher Jackie Bowe truly was dominant in Michigan’s Division 3 state softball tournament. She struck out 29 and allowed just one hit during a marathon 3-0 victory over Gladstone in a 14-inning semifinal. Losing pitcher MacKenzie Shepeck scattered eight hits, struck out 14 and all three runs she allowed were unearned.
Bowe followed up with a 5-0 victory over two-time Division 4 champion Allen Park Cabrini to give the Rams the state championship and a sparkling 40-3 record. She gunned down the first 10 batters and finished with a seven-inning, state-championship record of 18 strikeouts. She had a no-hitter until yielding a two-out single in the seventh inning. Cabrini finished with a 37-3-1 record. Katie Osburn, who allowed only one run last year, took the loss.
Garden City (32-6) nipped Alpena, 2-1, in 14 innings to win Michigan’s Division 1 championship – the first state title in school history in any team sport. Senior pitcher Hallie Minch not only went the distance, but she also drove in the winning run with a two-out double in the top of the 14th. She allowed eight hits and struck out 17.
* Broad Run (Ashburn, Va.) was crowned national softball champion in the USA Today-National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings. The Spartans posted a perfect 28-0 record and dominated their opponents by an incredible 231-3 margin. They have won 83 of their last 84 games and will carry a 57-game winning streak into the 2009 campaign. Butler (Charlotte, N.C.) finished second with a 29-0 record.
* Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.) junior pitcher Kenzie Fowler has been named Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. It marked the first time an underclassman has won the softball award. Fowler, who overcame life-threatening blood clots last year, compiled a 24-1 record with 309 strikeouts in 148 2/3 innings while pitching her team to its second consecutive Class 4A-1 state title. She also posted a 0.28 ERA and batted .448.
* Last week was filled with college commitments by big linemen who are entering their senior year. They include Kody Koebensky (6-4, 290), Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.), to Arizona State; Josh Aladenoye (6-6, 338), North Mesquite (Mesquite, Texas), to Oklahoma; Carneal Ainsworth (6-4, 280), Parkview Baptist (Baton Rouge, La.), to Louisiana State; Kevin Revis (6-4, 270), Rhea County (Evensville, Tenn.), to Tennessee; Trevor Fox (6-3, 293), Chaparral (Temecula, Calif.), to Oregon; Mark Brazinski (6-2, 280), Immaculata (Somerville, N.J.), to Rutgers; Adam Bellamy (6-4, 275), Aurora (Ohio), to Ohio State; and Kelvin Palmer (6-5, 260), Adamson (Dallas, Texas), to Baylor.
* Tennessee also has received recent commitments from a pair of standout backs: Jarvis Giles (5-11, 180), from Gaither (Tampa, Fla.), and Nyshier Oliver (5-11, 185), St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.). Oliver ran for more than 1,500 yards and scored 24 touchdowns as a junior, but is projected as a defensive back in college…Defensive back Prinz Kande – who will be a rare four-year starter at Texas power Euless Trinity – has pledged to Kansas.
* Versatile Andre Lawrence has made a commitment to Boston College. The 6-1, 195-pounder ran for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior at Hartford Public (Conn.)…Vanderbilt has received a commitment from athletic Eric Samuels (6-0, 185), who averaged 7.1 yards per carry and intercepted seven passes as a junior at Umatilla (Fla.)…South Florida is pleased to have received a commitment from Bradley Battles (5-9, 180), who carried 275 times for 2,200 yards, scored 27 touchdowns and made 70 tackles as a junior at Marianna (Fla.).
* Acrobatic wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey (6-3, 214) of Calhoun County (Saint Matthews, S.C.) has pledged to the University of Southern California…Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) wide receiver Cruz Williams has switched from Arkansas to Louisiana Tech after getting his release. Last year the 6-5, 208-pounder, who runs a 4.4 40, made 105 catches for 1,306 yards and 18 touchdowns…Marcos de Niza (Tempe, Ariz.) speedster Harrison Evens (5-11, 190) has decided to walk-on this fall at Arizona State. He averaged almost 13 yards a carry, scored 20 touchdowns and had a total offense of 2,258 yards as a senior.
* Notre Dame has received a commitment from a kicker with a great pedigree: Ben Turk. The 6-0, 175-pounder averaged 40.8 yards as a junior punter for Florida powerhouse Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. His uncle Matt Turk is a 13-year NFL veteran, while another uncle, Dan Turk, was an NFL long snapper from 1985-1999…Lest anyone think that Corey Robinson’s national touchdown passing record (91) last fall was a fluke, he did it against Kentucky’s best last week with three scoring strikes as the West routed the East, 41-10. And he did it on a rain-soaked field.
* Los Angeles Fairfax defeated Pasadena, 40-38, to win the 41st annual Watts Summer Games. Solomon Hill, a 6-6 rising senior forward, had 16 points and eight rebounds to earn MVP honors. Fairfax won without 6-10 rising senior star Renardo Sidney, who was playing in a New York tournament…Team Reebok USA defeated Friends of Hoop, 82-74, to win the Rose City Showcase in Portland, Ore.
* Some observers are claiming that Kentucky may have just graduated the best girls basketball class in its history. Indiana fans may not put up much of an argument because the Bluegrass girls scored their highest total ever and swept the two-game series for the first time since 1991 with a 101-62 rout of the Hoosiers. Kentucky put five players in double figures, amassed a 67-44 margin in rebounds and forced 25 turnovers.
* Six-foot-seven Xavier Henry, one of the nation’s elite rising seniors, is going to be joined by another highly-rated blue-chipper with the transfer of 6-7, 233-pound Kyle Hardrick from Norman (Okla.) to Oklahoma City Putnam City…Michigan State has received a commitment from one of the country’s top girls, 6-4 Kelsey Smith, of North in St. Charles, Ill.
* The University of North Carolina continues to build on what appears to be the No. 1 recruiting class for 2009 with the commitment of standout shooting guard Leslie McDonald. The 6-4 standout averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and shot 55 percent from the field for Tennessee’s Division 2-AA state champion, Eads Briarcrest Christian, as a junior.
* Other recent commitments were made by rising seniors Kourtney Roberson (6-8, 215), who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds for Arcadia (La.), to Texas A&M; Brian Oliver (6-6, 200), Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), to Georgia Tech; and Brendan Lane (6-9, 200), Rocklin (Calif.), to UCLA.
* Rob Finnerty (Burnsville, Minn.) turned in the seventh-fastest mile in prep history with a blistering 4:01.09 effort during the Midwest Distance Gala in Lisle, Ill.…Ryan Fleck (Napoleon, Ohio) produced this year’s national No. 2 high jump effort at 7-2 during the Midwest Meet of Champions in Jackson, Mich…Brett Johnson (Ocean City, N.J.) ran a strong 4:08.51 mile to place first during the USATF New Jersey Open-Masters Championships.
* Two runners, going head-to-head, ran the national No. 1 and 2 times this year in the 400-meter hurdles during the New York state championships in Buffalo. Dalilah Muhammad of Oakland Gardens Cardozo won in 57.81, but Elizabeth Mott of New Rochelle was right behind at 58.01…Rowlett, Texas, superstar Marquise Goodwin has made a commitment to the University of Texas. Goodwin, who may be the best junior in the country, has long jumped over 26 feet and also wants to play football for the Longhorns. He caught 61 passes as a junior.
* Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park (38-4) defeated Louisa Lawrence County, 4-1, to win its fourth Kentucky state championship. During 10 post-season games, the Panthers crushed their opponents by a combined 125-7 margin…After the game, Lawrence County coach Randy Keeton retired with a 25-year record of 523-319…Matt Hobgood of Norco (Calif.) is a rising senior to watch in 2009. The 6-4, 240-pound right-hander compiled a 10-0 record this spring with a 1.34 ERA. His fastball reached 96 miles per hour the day he out-dueled Orange Lutheran superstar Gerrit Cole, 1-0, in the Southern Section playoffs. He also batted .489 and drove in 45 runs.
* Rob Phillips has resigned as head coach after leading El Cajon Grossmont to a record fourth-straight San Diego Section Division II championship. It marked the sixth title during his 12-year tenure. Counting three years at Spring Valley Monte Vista, the 48-year-old coach compiled a 328-153-3 record…Legendary Southington coach John Fontana was honored at this year’s Connecticut state baseball tournament. The 73-year-old coach won 669 games – second in state history – during his career. He won two state titles and six of his teams placed second. Today he serves as executive director of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
* Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash., won the FootJoy Invitational with a 9-under-par score of 271 in Greensboro, N.C. He birdied four of the last eight holes to capture his first American Junior Golf Association invitational at the Sedgefield Country Club. The field included 99 boys ages 12-18 from 13 states and seven foreign countries.
* Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla., captured her first AJGA title with 6-under-par 210 during the Rolex Girls Junior Championships at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. The 14-year-old standout – a native of Argentina – came to the U.S. in May to attend the IMG Academy in Bradenton. She also has qualified to play in the U.S. Women’s Open.
* Keep an eye on Rob Page, a rising junior star at Victor, N.Y. He’s 6-10 and his main game is volleyball. He is a member of the U.S. Youth National Training Team and not only is a strong outside hitter but also a fine setter. He won’t be 16 until July, so he probably hasn’t topped out yet.
* South New Jersey high schools lost an outstanding writer and friend when Sam Carchidi switched from preps to the National Hockey League Flyers at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Carchidi covered South Jersey for over 30 years.