Despite not getting a hit this spring,
Baker (Mobile, Ala.)
sophomore speedster Jayda Carney stole 74 bases. She did it all as a courtesy runner and was thrown out just five times.
The 5-foot-2 Carney came to Baker from Purvis, Miss., as a freshman basketball player. She never had played softball, but Tony Scarbrough - who coaches both sports - urged her to try out for softball following the basketball season.
"Her best asset was quickness," Scarbrough said. "When second semester started, I said, 'Just let me teach you how to run the bases.'"
The veteran coach, who has won 1,208 games and six state titles, wisely decided to mold his rookie player into a specialist. She responded with 47 steals in 54 attempts during a 64-game schedule. She actually had three other steals that were erased because she over-slid or over-ran the base and was tagged out.
He did let her bat briefly as a left-handed slap hitter and went 10-for-30 for a .333 average.
This spring she stole 74 bases in 51 games and was thrown out just five times. She also led the Honeybees in runs scored with 69.
Carney was the beneficiary of some major lineup juggling as Scarbrough used two and sometimes three catchers, because rules allow unlimited courtesy runners for a catcher. Two of them were his top hitters and Carney always ran for them, so she averaged around three times on base per game.
"Jayda has improved in all areas of her game," Scarbrough said proudly. "She batted only five times this year (one hit), because she was so valuable to us as a runner. Jayda does all this even though she has pronounced scoliosis, something that is not known to the softball population."
Carney says, "My quickness comes from basketball. I work on timing the pitcher. As soon as she releases the ball (softball players are not allowed to lead off the base), I don’t even look at the pitcher."
She just puts her head down and bolts for the next base.
Carney says she is not eager to become a position player, because "I enjoy the way I am used. I feel that I am helping the team out more just by running. If I continue to run, I definitely think I can get up there in the 90s (the state record is 97 steals), because we had two tournaments cancelled this year."
She concedes that basketball still is her first love, but adds, "I’m learning more and more and beginning to love this game (softball) just as much."
* Dallas Escobedo, perhaps the No. 1 softball player in the nation, was the losing pitcher in her final high school game as St. Mary's (Phoenix, Ariz.) bowed to Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.), 2-0, in the Class 5A Division I state championship game.
Mel Willadsen pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts and Courtney Sherwin supplied the big blow with a two-run homer in the sixth inning.
* The Wilton-Lyndeborough (Wilton, N.H.) softball team has won its last 102 home games, dating back to 2001.
The next Roy Halladay?
Grandview (Aurora, Colo.) senior Kevin Gausman may be the best pitcher to come out of Colorado since current Phillies star Roy Halladay played for Arvada West in 1995, according to the Denver Post.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound senior right-hander has a high leg kick and a “rubber” arm which allows him to be a workhorse. His fastball reached as high as 98 miles per hour last summer as the closer for the USA 18-and-under gold medal team. He has signed with defending NCAA champion LSU.
The Wolves also have a prolific junior slugger, catcher Greg Bird, who is flying high with a .667 batting average and a state-leading 13 home runs. His bat is so feared that he once drew six walks in a single game, according to Post writer Neil Devlin.
* Lutheran West (Rocky River, Ohio) senior first baseman Zach Hausmann has used his 6-6, 260-pound frame to belt home runs which have soared 475, 435 and 425 feet onto the school roof this spring. His new nickname is “Babe Roof,” according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
* Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.) senior catcher Ethan Bennett has tied the state record with his 24th home run this spring.
* Chandler (Chandler, Okla.) senior Jon Gray struck out 20 Eufaula (Eufaula, Okla.) batters in nine innings, but was then taken out of the game due to a high pitch count. That enabled Brady Colbert to bring home the winning run with a squeeze bunt in the 10th inning of a 2-1 Eufaula victory. Colbert also pitched the distance to get the victory.
* Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) senior Henry Owens struck out 17 during a 12-2 victory over Newport Harbor.
* Wolfe County (Campton, Ky.) senior Zach Sallie set a Kentucky state record when he was hit by a pitch for the 45th time in his career.
* Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.) coach Tim O’Driscoll has been forced to retire due to an illness. He compiled a 35-year record of 742-328 and won two state titles. He also has been the official scorer for the Milwaukee Brewers for over 20 years.
* Mel Gardner retired as head baseball coach at William Penn (New Castle, Del.) with a 370-208 record.
* Coaching milestones: Mike Turo of Monroe Campus (Bronx, N.Y.) won his 1000th game; Mac Whitaker of Harrison County (Cynthiana, Ky.) won No. 900; Buster Kelso of Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.) won No. 800; Bill Slinger of St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) won No. 600; Mike Alonso of Upland (Upland, Calif.) and David Camic of Boyle County (Danville, Ky.) each won No. 500.
8th grader sets state record
Brandon (Brandon, Miss.) eighth grade phenom Yakeishma McLaurin won the Class 6A Mississippi girls discus title with a state-record throw of 153-1. She far out-distanced the five-year-old record of 139-8. The 14-year-old can bench press 250 pounds, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
Off the field she can play piano, drums, guitar and keyboards as well as sing in the choir.
* McComb (McComb, Miss.) senior Brittany Harrell – a University of Florida recruit - broke a 22-year-old state record with her 14.37 victory in the Class 5A 100-meter hurdles. She also won the 300-meter hurdles in 45.72 seconds – even though she fell and rolled over five times before getting back on her feet. She won both hurdles for the fifth straight year and the high jump (5-6) for the sixth straight year.
* Despite rainy conditions, George [J. Z.] (North Carrollton, Miss.) junior high jumper Marcus Jackson set a state record by clearing 7-2 ¼ in the Class 2A meet. He also won the triple jump (44-3) and was fourth in the long jump (21-7) in just his second year of track. The 6-6 leaper averaged 21 points and nine rebounds in basketball.
* Still recovering from a broken foot, Celina (Celina, Texas) sophomore Jordan Roos won the Class 3A shot put with a career-best heave of 59-2 ¼.
Carmel hires Wright
Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) has hired Kevin Wright as its new head football coach. In 16 years as a head coach at five high schools, he compiled a 134-52 record. He won three consecutive Class 5A state titles at Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.).
* Ennis (Ennis, Texas) legend Sam Harrell has been forced to give up his head football coaching duties as he seeks stem-cell treatment for multiple sclerosis. He has a career record of 189-59 with three Class 4A state titles.
* Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) junior defensive end Daquan Romero (6-2, 211) has made a commitment to the University of North Carolina, according to the Daily Press. He made 30 quarterback sacks last year for the Group AAA state champions.
Bradley takes prep job
Former NBA player Michael Bradley has been named head basketball coach at Summit Country Day (Cincinnati, Ohio).
* Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.) senior Ben Mills has signed with the University of Colorado after getting his release from Boise State. The 7-1 center averaged 17.1 points and 11.2 rebounds for the 25-3 Division I state champs.
* Because of rain and lightning, two of the USA’s finest senior golfers tied for the Class 5A state title in Texas. Jordan Spieth of Dallas Jesuit (Dallas, Texas) and Cory Whitsett of Memorial (Houston, Texas) were declared co-champs with 27-hole totals of 103.
Whitsett actually had the better 36-hole score (135-136), but because all golfers did not get to play 36 holes, everything was made official only through 27 holes.
* Mt. Pleasant (Mt. Pleasant, Pa.) boys and girls tennis coach Tony Splendore recently notched his 600th victory.
* Cherry Hill East (Cherry Hill, N.J.) outlasted Eastern, 12-11, in a four-overtime lacrosse contest. Junior Caroline DeBartolomeo’s 101st career goal clinched the victory.