Update: 3/1/10


Brandee Ybarra/Minor’s Gold, 2010 3rd/1st verbal commitment to the University of North Dakota

Riviera Beach Spirit Gold

Emily Weiman (2011 Pitcher) – Verbal Commitment to NC State

Paige Berzak (2010 – Garden Grove HS) C/1B * Dominican College,
Orangeburg, New York
Brianna Meyer (2011 – Los Osos HS) 1B/OF * Indiana University,
Bloomington, Indiana
Megan Blank (2011 – Marymount HS) SS * University of Iowa, Iowa City,
Chloe Kaneko (2011 – Marina HS) 3B * University of San Diego, San
Diego, California
Brooke Shadinger (2010 – Adolfo Camarillo HS) OF – Grace College


Several readers have sent SPY a list of the top 10 unsigned Orange County players and the top 10 who have been recruited.  The list is accessed through the Orange County Register, but it appears to be adapted from OC Varsity.com, previously unknown to SPY, and was compiled by Jennifer Schroeder, a recent UCLA player now associated with ESPN Rise.  SPY does not know who else contributed to the list, nor does it endorse or necessarily agree with its selections, or rankings (although we have seen these many of these players and hold them in high regard).  But, some of our readers found it interesting so we pass it along.  If nothing else, it should provoke some comment.

Note that the author rank-ordered the selections, #1 to #10.


Lauren Chamberlain, El Toro HS, to Oklahoma

Hallie Wilson, Foothill HS, Arizona

Kylee Lahners, Laguna Hills HS, Washington

Marisa Bast, Villa Park HS, Northwestern

Bri Matthews, Mater Dei, Arizona

Cheyanne Tarango, Canyon HS, Tennessee

Janie Takeda, El Dorado HS, Oregon

Taylor Cantil, Foothill HS, Ole Miss

Meghan Harman, Santa Margarita HS, LMU

Mandy Gardner, Aliso Niguel, Michigan

TOP UNCOMMITTED PLAYERS  in ascending order

Katrina Oveda, Pacifica

Erika Campbell, Pacifica

Kayla Anderson, Pacifica

Alexis A.C. Borden, Esperanza

Kaylee Puailoa, Western

Cassandra Roulund, Tesoro

Aubree Munro, Brea Olinda

Casey Africano, Edison

Allyson Hecht, Edison

Jessica Plaza, Edison

The author noted a number of “honorable mentions” who should be recruited, and are in fact receiving college attention.

Softball Canada has announced that Tom Doucette (pictured) has been chosen as the head coach of their junior men’s national team. Tom was also the head coach of the junior men’s team during the last cycle from 2005 to 2008, leading Canada to a silver medal at the ISF VIII Jr. Men’s World Championship (19-and-under). Tom will handle the junior men’s national team head coaching duties until the conclusion of the ISF IX Jr. Men’s World Championship, which will take place in Argentina in 2012.


Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn is eyeing another Gold medal-winning performance — this time, on NBC’s ‘Law & Order.’ Bob Costas broke the exciting news to her during an interview segment on Saturday, in which he revealed that she will play a jury foreman in a future episode. ‘Law & Order’ is said to be Vonn’s favorite show.


San Diego, Calif. (March 1, 2010) – Softball facility challenges and Title IX concerns have forced Point Loma Nazarene University to eliminate four of its current athletic teams, athletics director Ethan Hamilton announced today.

Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, the university will no longer field teams for men’s golf, men’s cross country and track and field, and women’s softball. The university will add women’s golf as an intercollegiate program, beginning in the fall of 2011.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, forced by a number of interrelated factors that left us few alternatives,” Hamilton said.

The university has been trying for several years to find a permanent alternative to the Sunset Cliffs softball field owned by the City of San Diego and used by the women’s softball team for 29 years.  The city has decided to revert the field back to its natural habitat.  Efforts to find an alternative facility were intensified this past year, but resulted in no suitable, available, permanent location on the campus or within 15 miles of PLNU.

With the imminent loss of PLNU’s softball program, the university is faced with the challenge of adhering to Title IX regulations, which require the ratio of male to female athletes to closely approximate the male-female student ratio at the university.  To fully comply with Title IX, PLNU must cut several men’s sports – cross country, track and field, and golf.  To assure adequate opportunities for female athletes, PLNU will be adding women’s golf.

A capped enrollment and property restraints have hampered the university’s ability to sustain and add programs to its athletic menu.

“Several scenarios were considered when looking at our options and none of them were easy fixes,” Hamilton said. “Taking into consideration the impact on our current personnel, future recruitment, diversity of enrollment, impact on our facilities, sports that our conference offers and precedents set by other schools, this is the path we chose to follow.”

Hamilton said the university will honor scholarship commitments to the affected athletes or help them find another university to continue their athletic careers if they so desire.

“These teams have posted remarkable graduation rates and have always represented our university in the best possible light,” Hamilton said. “We are extremely grateful for all they and especially our coaches have given to these programs to help them succeed at a regional and national level.”


The Crimea is a beautiful part of the world, much favored by Russia’s Tsars, and Soviet leaders in their day.  Now, Putin summers there.  And, that seems to be the reason Sochi was chosen for the 2014 Winter Games.  Sochi will be the first Winter Olympics to be held in a subtropical climate – a point well made in Rossiyskaya Gazette, an English-language Russian paper.  Creating the site, Russians say, will entail one of the most comprehensive makeovers of any Olympic city in recent memory. According to the GCazette, “Nearly all the sports facilities have to be built from scratch.  There are too few roads, too much traffic, and inadequate public transportation.  The supply of electricity is unreliable and there are not enough hotel rooms.  More than $6 billion of investments is marked to transform a provincial Russian town with a decrepit infrastructure into a metropolis fit for Gods.”  Private investment has been lacking, so the Russian government is “digging deep.”  SPY NOTE:  If you go, it will be an occasion to steep yourself in world history – the Crimean wars, the Yalta conference, etc.  It all happened here.


Very proud of Elana Meyers and the #2 USA bobsled winning Bronze.  Had the opportunity to watch all of the runs by the former George Washington softball player.

How can I refuse? Received an unsolicited proposal to fabricate an outdoor carpet for my patio, bearing the SPY logo.  I only go out there to take out the trash; Sammy goes there to ……

Fickle correspondents. Even though she has struggled in three of the five Alpine events during the past season, the press built expectations for Lindsey Vonn to sweep five golds, despite that record and nagging injuries, then wagged their fingers when she won only a Gold and Bronze.  Only a Gold and Bronze?  Think of the thousands of skiers who would cherish such medals, or even the chance to compete.

Tar and Feather one official. When Vonn crashed, she was no impediment to Mancuso.  That yellow flag may have been a nervous reaction but it cost Julia another medal.

And throw some at Rogge. He lambasted Canadian women for their hockey celebration, but nary a word about the rudeness of the Russian ice skater, a fellow European.  And, of course, he totally absolve IOC of any responsibility for the dangerous tube for the sliding sports.  Now, he has the audacity to suggest hockey does not have a true international following – much like he said about softball.  The Olympics could not survive without our athletes – and our money – but we have only two votes on the IOC.


Contributed by that eminent Irishman Gregg Laing

> An attractive blonde from Cork , Ireland arrived at the casino. She
> seemed a little intoxicated and bet twenty-thousand Euros on a single roll of
> the dice.
> She said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I feel much luckier when I’m
> completely nude’.
> With that, she stripped from the neck down, rolled the dice and with an
> Irish brogue yelled, ‘Come on, baby, Mama needs new clothes!’
> As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up and down and squealed…
> She hugged the dealer and each of the players and then picked up her
> winnings and her clothes and quickly departed.
> The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded.
> Finally, one of them asked, ‘What did she roll?’
> The other answered,
> ‘I don’t know – I thought you were watching.’
> Not all Irish are drunks,
> not all blondes are dumb,
> but all men…are men.


The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.

After waiting a few minutes, I walked to                the door and knocked…

‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 90’s stood before me.

She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it,

like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if  no one had lived in it for years.

All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.

In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking  me for my kindness.

‘It’s nothing’, I told her..

‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated’.

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked,

‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said.

‘I’m in no hurry.

I’m on my way to a hospice’.

I looked in the rear-view mirror.

Her eyes were glistening.

‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..

‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.

‘ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city.

She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived

when they were newlyweds.

She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once

been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner

and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said,

‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home,

with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.

They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.

They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.

The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’

she asked, reaching into her purse.


I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.

She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said.

‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light..

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift.  I drove aimlessly lost in thought.

For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,  or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once,  then driven away?

On a quick review,

I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully

wrapped in what others may consider a small one.




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