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This Week In Fastpitch

Knierim Notches 1000th 
St. Louis Community College - Meramec softball coach Celeste Knierim made NJCAA history Friday, Mar. 19 with her 1000th career victory, a 6-0 win over Augustana College (Ill) at Fenton Park. Knierim, in her 30th season at Meramec, becomes the first junior college softball coach in national history to win 1,000 games (1000-533-2.). She was inducted to the NFCA Hall of Fame this past December. 

USA Completes College Tour 
Team USA Completed the collegiate portion of its "Aiming For Athens" tour with a perfect 25-0 record, including last weekend's 6-1 win over top-ranked Arizona and 11-0 shutout of No. 2 UCLA. The tour, which began with an 11-3 win over Alabama, featured games against 21 teams ranked in the Top 25, including seven in the top ten. There were 20 shutouts and the Olympic team outscored their opponents 229-9. 

No. 1 vs. No. 2 
Although defeated soundly by Team USA, the top two teams in the nation will meet this weekend. UCLA travels to Tucson for two games. Arizona won all three games from the Bruins last season, but UCLA won the national championship. 

Streaking in Waco 
Baylor's winning streak has reached 12 games after a 1-0 last at-bat victory over Texas A&M. The Big XII-leading Bears are ranked No. 19 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25, and face Nebraska in a pair of games this weekend in Lincoln. 

On Rocky Top 
One of the surprises of the 2004 season has been the emergence of Tennessee's softball program. After failing to make a regional in 2003, Tennessee is 37-8 and 10-4 in the Southeastern Conference after a three-game sweep of South Carolina during the midweek. The Lady Vols have won 15 straight since being swept by Alabama and are ranked No. 12 in the latest national poll. Tennessee travels to Arkansas for a three-game set this weekend. 

Across the Pond 
Former South Carolina pitcher Megan Matthews led Great Britain to the gold medal with a win over Greece in the final of the International Softball Tournament. The tournament was being held to test the facility that will be used in this summer's Olympic Games. Despite negative reports about the readiness in Athens, the softball venue is reported to be in order and ready for the Olympics. 

Division II Notepad 
The NCAA released this week the second weekly installment of the regional rankings that will be used to determine postseason selections. Five of the eight teams that finished their season at the national tournament are not ranked in the top eight in their respective regions. Long Island-C.W. Post sits atop the Northeast while Shippensburg is the top team in the Mid-Atlantic region. Upstart Northern Kentucky is in first in the Great Lakes region and Texas Woman's has an edge over St. Mary's in the South Central. Truman is in first in the North Central region with a 24-3 mark, while top-ranked Kennesaw State is first in the South Atlantic. Florida Southern and Humboldt State sit atop the South and West regions, respectively.