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This Week In Fastpitch

DATES TO REMEMBER
March 20: Next USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25
March 27: Next USA Today/NFCA Division II Top 25
March 27: Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III Player of the Week award begins
April 2: First regular-season USA Today/NFCA Division III Top 25

For tournament dates and team schedules, check the NFCA Calendar.

SO, WHAT HAPPENED TO LAST WEEK'S "THIS WEEK"?: A combination of being on the road for the third week in a row, plus a bout with a respiratory infection, caused a bit of havoc with the schedule (not to mention with breathing and sleeping). We should be back on our regular schedule now.

CONGRATULATION LEADOFF CLASSIC CHAMPIONS: Congratulations to the 2002 Leadoff Classic champions -- NFCA Leadoff Classic (Columbus, Ga.): Nebraska; NFCA/Schutt Sports Division II Leadoff Classic (Irving, Texas): UC Davis; NFCA Junior College Leadoff Classic (LaGrange, Ga.): Lake City CC. A special thank you to our hosts in Columbus, Irving and LaGrange for all of your hard work in making the Leadoff Classics a success.

WRIGHT REACHES Y1K: Fresno State head coach Margie Wright became the first softball coach in NCAA history to record 1,000 career fastpitch victories. The Bulldogs swept a doubleheader from Tennessee Tech Wednesday to give her career win Nos. 999 and 1,000.

SOUTHWEST TEXAS STATE HOME RUN DERBY: Southwest Texas State set a Division I single-game home run record with eight home runs against Stephen F. Austin on March 4. Six different players homered for the Bobcats: Kristen Zaleski (2), Frances Mendoza (2), Jennie Tomme, Sarah Youngdale, Lisa Plumlee and Ashley Koop. The previous record was seven held by Louisiana-Lafayette (1999 vs. Centenary) and Canisius (1990 vs. Manhattan). Southwest Texas State won the game 14-1.

MOVE OVER BONDS: Bloomsburg's Becca Kehler got off to what may be about the greatest start for any softball player, as she homered in each of her first four at-bats of the season. In her first at-bat of the 2002 season, Kehler hit a pinch-hit home run against Adelphi Sunday at the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla. Later that day, she started in the Huskies' next game against Tiffin and homered in each of her first three trips to the plate before flying out in her final at-bat. For the game, she went 3-for-4 with seven runs batted in. The three homers and seven RBI are school single-game records.

FINCH STREAK CONTINUES: Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch posted a win against Boston College last Wednesday in her only appearance of the week to extend her NCAA-record winning streak to 54 games.

YEAR OF THE "CAT": Cat Osterman, that is. As expected, the freshman left-hander is making an immediate impact for the Texas Longhorns. Osterman is 12-5 with a 1.28 earned run average. She has 195 strikeouts in 109.1 innings for an average of 12.5 strikeouts per seven innings. Only two pitchers in Division I history -- Danielle Henderson (Massachusetts) in 1999 and DeeDee Weiman (UCLA) in 1994 -- have averaged at least 12.0 strikeouts per seven innings for a season. Osterman won her second Big 12 Pitcher of the Week award this week.

NEW FACES IN DIVISION II POLL: While Nebraska-Omaha, Bloomsburg and Kennesaw State maintain the top three spots in the first regular-season USA Today/NFCA Division II Top 25, quite a number of teams have entered new territory. UC San Diego and Tampa are tied at No. 4, the highest-ever ranking for both teams in the NFCA Top 25. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (No. 8) cracks the top 10 for the first time. Western New Mexico makes its first-ever appearance in the top 25 at No. 19, as do Gannon and Georgia College and State, both tied at No. 24.

CLARK SETS UW HR RECORD: Washington shortstop Jaime Clark became the Huskies' all-time career home run leader when she belted her 44th homer March 1 against UNLV. Clark broke the record of 43 held by Jen Cline. What makes her record-breaker even more impressive is Clark is only a junior.

TWO NO-NO'S FOR SELLS: Armstrong Atlantic State pitcher Annie Sells tossed a pair of no-hitters at the Francis Marion Invitational in Florence, S.C. In a 2-0 victory over Coker, Sells struck out 16 and walked one. In a five-inning win over Catawba, Sells struck out seven and walked two.

INNING TO REMEMBER FOR OU FRESHMAN: Oklahoma freshman Christine Enea had a career day, not to mention a career inning, Friday during the OU/Worth Invitational at Norman, Okla. Enea hit two home runs in one inning in the Sooners' 12-1 victory over Wichita State. She finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI. Earlier in the day against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, she belted a grand slam home run as part of a five-RBI performance.

GALVESTON CC K CLUB: Galveston CC pitchers have combined for 221 strikeouts in 123.2 innings pitched for a team average of 11.9 strikeouts per seven innings. Crissy Autry has 91 strikeouts in 52.1 innings pitched (12.2 k/7 innings), while Dione Meier has 80 k's in 48.1 innings (11.6). Sarah Freeman, who recorded 17 strikeouts in six innings against North Central Texas College, has 40 strikeouts in 23 innings (12.2).

PARROTT STEALING WAY TOWARD SCHOOL RECORD: Central (Iowa) senior second baseman Molly Parrott now has 80 career stolen bases, second highest in school history. Against Mercy, Parrott walked, stole second, stole third and stole home.

 

*****EXTRA INNINGS*****

 

Auburn's Ashley Moore became the school's career hit leader with No. 229 Sunday against Middle Tennessee State. The hit, which came in her final at-bat of the Seminole Invitational, was her fourth home run of the week ... Colleen Spencer of Cal State Northridge extended her hitting streak to nine games with her first career four-hit performance Sunday against UC Riverside ... Pittsburgh's Nikki Gasti tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts against Winthrop ... Georgia's Nicole Barber had two stolen bases against Alabama to extend her stolen base streak to 35, dating back to last season ... Cal State Fullerton's Monica Lucatero became the school's career RBI leader Sunday with 139 ... Penn State pitcher Marisa Hanson threw her first career no-hitter Thursday against Hofstra ... Alabama pitcher Shelley Laird recorded career win No. 100 and career strikeout No. 900 Sunday against Georgia ... Georgia's SEC series-opening loss to Alabama was the Bulldogs' first loss of the year after a 24-0 start ... Baylor's Cristin Vitek reached double-digit strikeout in a pair of eight-inning wins last week, striking out 10 against Fresno State and 12 against Boston University ... West Florida's Andy Muzi went 4-for-6 with five RBI in an extra-inning victory over Bellarmine ... Geralyn Elam of Barry struck out 17 batters in a seven-inning victory over Arkansas-Monticello ... UC San Diego's Amy Mettee hit .643 (9-for-14) in four consecutive multi-hit games last week ... Grand Valley State pitcher Jennifer Mackson had three double-digit strikeout performances last week: 10 vs. Salem, 13 vs. Holy Family, 10 vs. Robert Morris ... Texas Woman's third baseman Leah Smith had a pair of three-hit games and drove in at least three runs in three games, including a five-RBI performance against Texas Southern ... Kennesaw State's Sue Coggles hit safely in all seven games and scored in each of the first six ... North Dakota State's Lindsay Graham set a school record with 15 strikeouts against New Haven.