For heath reasons, I could not attend the 2016 annual meeting of the National Fastpitch Association’s decision so I missed the announcement that long time Batbuster coach and PGF co=founder Gary Haning will at last be enshrined in the NFCA Hall of Fame.
The Association announced its four-person 2017 induction class of Ashland University head coach Sheilah Gulas, retired University of Connecticut head coach Karen Mullins, Batbusters coach Gary Haning and Carson-Newman head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield. The quartet will be enshrined at next year’s NFCA Convention on Dec. 6-9 in Las Vegas.
I hope many of the West Coast travel ball people will attend the banquet, not just to honor Gary but to visit with so many of the nation’s college coaches. Always enjoyed the banquet. Gary’s teams produced many of the stars of college ball over three decades, while winning ASA and PGF national championships. As much as anyone in that Hall of Fame, Gary deserves the honor.
Maybe he will tuck his shirt in, just this once.
Sixteen athletes named to So Cal All-Star roster that will take on Women’s National Team and Mexico in Irvine, Calif.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Sixteen athletes have been selected to represent the So Cal All-Star roster, which is set to compete against the 2017 USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) and Mexico in June 13 doubleheader exhibition games. Held at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine, Calif., the So Cal All-Star roster is made up of athletes from three elite youth travel programs: Firecrackers – Rico, Corona Angels – Tyson and OC Batbusters – Stith. Fans will have the opportunity to watch Team USA, Mexico and the So Cal All-Stars June 13, while the U.S. and Mexico will be playing in a standalone exhibition game on June 15.
“Getting this opportunity to work with USA Softball, Tony Rico, Marty Tyson and along with these great kids that have put so much time into their careers is special,” said Mike Stith, who will be leading the So Cal All-Stars. “For me as a coach to get to be a small part of the development of our National Team Program is an incredible honor as we begin the process to prepare for Japan and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Getting to coach against some of the greatest talent in the world is quite an opportunity as much as it is a tough challenge against Team USA and Mexico but it will be a great night that I’m truly looking forward to.”
In addition to the three exhibition games, members of the USA Softball WNT and coaching staff will also conduct a players camp on June 14 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. PT. Led by Team USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen, attendees will have the opportunity to get hands on training and instruction from the best softball players in the world. Limited space is available, with the camp open to players age 8-18. Tickets for the exhibition games and players camp, along with a detailed schedule of events, are now available for purchase through USASoftball.com.
Fans at home can follow along all summer long with the USA Softball National Teams at USASoftball.com.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Following another dominant week, Florida strengthened its hold the No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Gators (44-3) collected 30 first-place votes and 798 of a possible 800 points.
Florida put together a 4-0 week, which saw its NCAA-best pitching staff allow one run over the course of 26 innings. After a 9-1 mid-week win over in-state foe UCF, the Gators’ pitching staff surrendered just seven hits as they shutout then-No. 18 Ole Miss in a Southeastern Conference sweep by the scores of 2-0, 3-0 and 5-0. With three more shutouts, UF has posted 28 on the season, including 14 over Top 25 competition, and lowered its NCAA-best ERA to 0.70.
Florida State also picked up four wins last week and remained at No. 2 with 754 points. The Seminoles (43-3-1) swept a mid-week twinbill at Troy (9-3, 2-0) and opened their road ACC series at Louisville with two triumphs over the Cardinals (11-0, 4-3 in 10 inn.).
Arizona, which earned a first-place vote, also stayed put, holding on to the No. 3 ranking following a 4-1 week. The Wildcats (45-4) took care of business in a mid-week doubleheader at New Mexico State (8-0, 11-1) and claimed the first two games in home a Pac-12 matchup versus No. 6 Oregon (2-0, 10-7) before dropping the finale, 4-3.
Minnesota and Texas A&M switched positions as the Gophers (43-3) took over the No. 4 ranking, their highest in program history. Minnesota, who picked up the final first-place vote, won five Big Ten contests, topping RV Wisconsin (6-0 in 12 inn., 12-1) on the road and taking all three at home from Iowa (5-0, 9-1, 3-0). The Aggies (40-5) slipped up in mid-week action, coming up short in a comeback bid against then-No. 17 Louisiana (9-11) before sweeping No. 22 Georgia (10-3, 1-0, 2-0) in SEC action.
Oregon did not move from No. 6 after dropping a Pac-12 series at No. 3 Arizona. No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 8 Washington each moved up one position. The Sooners (41-8) enjoyed a 3-1 week, which included a crucial Big 12 series win over No. 15 Baylor. OU grabbed a 3-2 10-inning triumph in game one and clinched the series with a 6-0 shutout in the finale. The Bears (36-9) 4-3 victory in game two snapped the Sooners’ 17-game winning streak as well as their 25 consecutive victories in conference play and 33-game home winning streak.
Washington had a successful cross-country trip to the Heart of Dixie, defeating UAB (8-0) and trumping No. 13 Alabama (3-2, 3-0) in a two-game series at Rhoads Stadium. It was the Huskies (34-10) first sweep of the Tide since a 2007 Super Regional matchup.
Auburn slipped to No. 9 after a 3-1 week, while Utah remained at No. 10. The Tigers (39-8) knocked off Kennesaw State at home and claimed a SEC series win on the road, taking the first two games from RV South Carolina (2-0, 2-0). In a closely-contested Pac-12 series, the Utes (30-9) rebounded from a 9-8 loss in the opener to claim the series with 7-6 and 2-1 victories at No. 23 Arizona State.
Making its first appearance of 2017 is Marshall at No. 25, replacing Illinois, who appeared for the first time last week.
The 2017 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Records reflect games played through April 23.
Receiving votes: Illinois (31), Tulsa (21), Mississippi State (13), South Carolina (11), Texas State (8), Missouri (6), North Carolina (5), Florida International (5), California (4), Saint Francis (Pa.) (4), Ohio State (1).