High-SchoolSoftball: Erin Gabriel

30 players named ESPNHS All-Americans

July, 12, 2012
California high school softball,Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of the WeekJohn T. Thorsen/ESPNHSNancy Bowling of Royal went 25-3 this past season with a 0.43 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 163 innings.
SEC schools Alabama, Auburn and LSU all landed two future softball players among the 30 who are first-team 2012 ESPNHS All-Americans. The only other college to have two on the first team is Stanford.

POWERADE FAB 50 national champion Norco (Calif.) is represented with one player on the first team and one player on the second team. The only other schools with two ESPNHS All-Americans are No. 3 Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) and No. 7 Keystone (LaGrange, Ohio).


ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSTaylore Fuller
Taylore Fuller, Chiefland (Fla.) Sr.
The Class 1A State Player of the Year posted some eye-opening numbers at the plate. A Florida recruit, Fuller batted .778 with 14 home runs, nine doubles, six triples and 33 RBIs while scoring 52 runs for the small school program. She also is one of the nation’s highest-ranked college prospects at the catching position.

Cali Lanphear, Montgomery (Texas) Sr.
Recently named the Class 4A Player of the Year by the Texas Sports Writers Association, Lanphear also is the 2012 All-Montgomery County Player of the Year. She nearly led the Bears to the state final for the first time in school history. As a power hitter, there were few in the nation like her as she smacked 21 homers with 64 RBIs and batted .600. Lanphear has signed with Texas A&M.

Janelle Lindvall, West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.) Sr.
The Oregon-bound standout hit .524 with six home runs and 28 RBIs to earn all-state and all-region honors. Her junior season hitting stats were better, but she excels in all other facets of the position and plays in one of the toughest leagues in Southern California.


Nancy Bowling, Royal (Simi Valley, Calif.) Sr.
A California standout since she was named State Freshman of the Year in 2009, Bowling concluded her career by going 25-3 with a 0.43 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 163 innings. She bounced back from a left knee injury that caused her to miss one season and is regarded as one of the top incoming recruits at Arizona. Bowling, who already has been named the Los Angeles Daily News Player of the Year, also had a .366 batting average with 20 RBIs.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSLilly Fecho
Lilly Fecho, Glenbard North (Carol Stream, Ill.) Sr.
The 6-foot, left-handed pitcher went 27-3 this season with a 0.88 ERA and had 254 strikeouts in 192 innings. The Gatorade State Player of the Yearalso batted .393 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs while scoring 28 runs. Fecho will play next at Purdue.

Tori Finucane, Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) Jr.
The Gatorade State Player of the Yearled the Lady Knights to a 27-1 record, a Virginia Independent Schools' title, and the No. 43 ranking in the final POWERADE FAB 50. A Missouri recruit, she was 27-1 on the mound with a 0.09 ERA and 332 strikeouts in 161 innings. She also batted .363.

Erin Gabriel, Poland Seminary (Poland, Ohio) Sr.
The four-year starter and Tennessee recruit led the Bulldogs to a 26-3 record and No. 21 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior, which were the same years the Bulldogs won the Division II state title, Gabriel compiled a 16-2 record this season with 232 strikeouts and batted .461 with 28 RBIs and 35 runs scored.

Holly Kern, Plano East (Plano, Texas) Sr.
A force in the circle and at the plate, she was named District 8-5A MVP and Dallas Area Player of the Year by Dallas Morning News. Kern led the Panthers to the Class 5A state semifinals. In the circle, she went 33-4 while at the plate she hit .365 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs. She is headed next to the University of Texas.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSChelsea Wilkinson
Madi Schreyer, Woodinville (Wash.) Jr.
Named the Gatorade State Player of the Yearin Washington, she helped lead the Falcons to the Class 4A state championship and a perfect 26-0 season. In addition to her own perfect record of 21-0, Schreyer’s ERA of 0.28 also was exceptional. She also whiffed 189 batters in 123 innings. Schreyer already has committed to Stanford and also already is a member of the Canadian Junior National Team.

Chelsea Wilkinson, Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.) Sr.
The four-time all-state selection and two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior makes the ESPNHS All-American team for a second straight season. Although the team didn’t win another Class 4A state title, it did finish 28-2 and was No. 6 in the final POWERADE FAB 50. A Georgia recruit, Wilkinson was 24-1 this season with 333 strikeouts and a 0.26 ERA. She also set two state career records with 112 wins and 84 shutouts while striking out 1,406 batters.


Bianka Bell, Chamberlain (Tampa, Fla.) Sr.
The Gatorade State Player of the Year led the Chiefs to a 27-5 record and the Class 7A title. The team also ended at No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50. The shortstop and LSU recruit posted big numbers with a .731 batting average, 11 homers, 35 RBIs and 52 runs scored. She batted .727 in the playoffs alone.

Emily Carosene, Pine Castle Christian (Orlando, Fla.) Sr.
She’s a very rare seven-year starter as she goes to a school and plays in a state in which seventh-graders and eighth-graders can play on the varsity. The Auburn recruit and Central Florida Player of the Year put up huge numbers for the Class 2A state runner-up team. Carosene batted .645 with 14 doubles, 10 triples and seven homers. She also had 24 RBIs while scoring 51 runs. She played on three state title-winning teams.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSSierra Romero
Nikki Girard, Chino Hills (Calif.) Sr.
The CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year led the Huskies to a 32-3 record and No. 9 finish in the final POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings. Girard, who is headed to Arizona State in the fall, had a .423 batting average with seven homers, 12 doubles and 37 RBIs. She’s been a four-year starter and set school records for runs scored, hits, doubles and RBIs.

Sierra Romero, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) Sr.
A finalist for the California Ms. Softball Player of the Year, Romero also earned herself a spot in the state record book as she hit 21 homers, the second-best single-season total. Romero, who also had 45 career homers, hit .556 with 38 runs scored, 23 walks and 54 RBIs. She will be headed to Michigan next season.

Lindsey Schmeiser, Northern (Owings, Md.) Sr.
The Washington D.C. Metro Player of the Year led the Patriots to a 25-0 record, a record fifth straight Class 3A state title and the No. 17 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. The Maryland recruit also batted .641 with four homers, 34 RBIs and 49 runs scored.

Allison Stewart, Olathe East (Olathe, Kan.) Soph.
One of just two sophomores to earn a first-team All-American selection, Stewart was assured of such a high honor by leading Olathe East (24-1) to the Class 6A state title and being named Gatorade State Player of the Year. She set a school record with 52 RBIs and also hit .532 with five homers. As a pitcher, she added a 13-0 record with 118 strikeouts and a 0.20 ERA. Stewart has committed to Arkansas.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSDarian Tautalafua
Kelsey Stewart, Maize (Kan.) Sr.
The “other” Stewart from Kansas to land on the All-American team happens to be one of the top 10 major college prospects in the nation. Kelsey racked up eye-popping totals with her bat – a .649 average, 12 homers, 65 RBIs -- and was amazing in the field. She is headed next to LSU.

Melissa Taukeiaho, Etiwanda (Calif.) Sr.
Before heading to the University of Washington, Taukeiaho earned her second straight all-state selection and also has been named All-Inland Valley MVP. She scored 41 runs and drove in 39 and also finished with 16 homers and a .543 average. Taukeiaho also had five wins inside the circle for the Eagles.

Darian Tautalafua, Carson (Calif.) Sr.
After hitting 15 home runs as a junior, Tautalafua hammered 17 homers as a senior and tied the state career record with 53. She also batted .490 this season, scored 50 times and knocked in 45 runs. Tautalafua was named the CIF L.A. City Section Player of the Year and will play next at Long Beach State.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSKayla Bonstrom

Kayla Bonstrom, Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.) Sr.
The Arizona Daily Republic Big Schools Player of the Year could have been listed in the multi-purpose category since she was the top pitcher for her team in 2012, but she’s mostly known as an outfielder and that’s where she’ll play next season at Stanford. Bonstrom led Canyon del Oro, which finished 13th in the POWERADE FAB 50, to the Division II state championship by hitting a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning of the final game against Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.), and then she retired the side in order. Bonstrom finished the season with a .603 batting average, ripped 16 homers and also had 18 doubles and 63 RBIs.

Steph Hartness, Niceville (Fla.) Sr.
The Class 6A State Player of the Year led the Eagles to a 29-3 record, a state runner-up finish, and a No. 34 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. A Florida State recruit, she batted .518 with four home runs and 36 RBIs.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSAndrea Hawkins
Andrea Hawkins, Bay City (Texas) Sr.
Rated by some experts as the No. 1 prospect in the entire nation, this talented outfielder will be headed to play for Alabama next season. During her senior season, Hawkins hit .539, and during her final two seasons of high school ball, she struck out a total of just two times. As a senior, she also stole 34 bases. She was recently selected to the Class 4A All-State Team by the Texas Sports Writers Association.

Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan (Kimberly, Ala.) Sr.
The Gatorade Player of the Yearin Alabama and the Alabama Sportswriters Association Player of the Year batted .692 for the Class 5A state runner-up. The Alabama recruit also had 90 hits, including nine home runs with 64 runs scored and 65 stolen bases. McCleney struck out only once during her entire senior season.

FIRST-TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE (Hitting, pitching, fielding)

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSVanessa Alvarez
Vanessa Alvarez, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) Sr.
After being named player of the year for the second straight season by the San Jose Mercury News, Alvarez is headed to Cal where she could play second base. Her pitching helped Mitty finish 28-2 with a No. 8 final FAB 50 ranking. She went 25-1 with a 0.86 ERA and 197 strikeouts. At the plate, Alvarez batted leadoff and shined with a .450 average and .491 on-base mark.

Kenzie Conrad, Keystone (LaGrange, Ohio) Sr.
The Gatorade State Player of the Year and Akron recruit led the Wildcats to a 32-0 record, a Division II state title and a No. 7 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. She was 25-0 on the mound with a 0.74 ERA and 178 strikeouts. She also batted .485 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs.

Lexi Davis, Porter Ridge (Indian Ridge, N.C.) Sr.
The ESPNHS National Player of the Year and Gatorade state honoree pitched every game for the 33-1 Class 4A state champion Pirates. The team also finished No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50. The Auburn recruit, four-year starter and three-time all-state choice posted a 0.23 ERA and batted .450 with eight homers and 42 RBIs.

Emily Lockman, Norco (Calif.) Sr.
Lockman’s 0.35 ERA may be surpassed by other top pitchers around the nation, but none of those pitchers faced the type of opposition that Lockman did. Her pitching and hitting led Norco (31-2) to the 2012 FAB 50 national title and she already has been selected as the Ms. Softball Player of the Year for the state. Lockman also shut out more opponents (22) than batters were walked (11). As a batter, she shined with a .389 average and had four homers and 30 RBIs. The 4.0 GPA student-athlete will play next at Nebraska.

ESPNHS softball All-American
ESPNHSErica Nunn
Breanna Macha, Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) Soph.
Despite being just a sophomore, Macha pitched like a senior as she was named to the All-Arizona first team by The Arizona Republic. Leading the Mountain Lions to their second straight state championship, a 35-3 record and No. 3 ranking in the final POWERADE FAB 50, Macha went 14-2 as a pitcher with a 1.24 ERA. At the plate, she hit .440, drove in 47 runs and hit 10 home runs.

Erica Nunn, Holly Springs (N.C.) Sr.
The four-year starter and South Florida recruit helped the Golden Hawks to a Class 4A state runner-up finish. She was 22-5 on the mound and struck out 335 batters. At the plate, she hit .612. Career-wise, the left-handed pitcher won 73 games with 1,068 strikeouts.

Heather Stearns, Hebron (Carrollton, Texas) Sr.
Before heading to Baylor next year, Stearns was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Texas as the Hawks reached the Class 5A Region I finals. At the plate, she hit .415 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs, which included a four-homer game in a 13-4 win over Pilot Point. In the circle, she went 18-9 with a 1.29 ERA and struck out 313 batters in 190 innings.

Katie Browne, Zachary (La.) Sr.
Erin Shireman, Lutheran South (Pearland, Texas) Sr.

Maryssa Becker, North Medford (Medford, Ore.) Jr.
Lindsey Fadnek, Coalfield (Tenn.) Sr.
Johanna Grauer, Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) Soph.
Cheridan Hawkins, Anderson (Calif.) Sr.
Katie Marks, Katy (Texas) Sr.
Samantha Martin, Chiles (Tallahassee, Fla.) Jr.
Taylor Nowlin, Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.) Jr.
Shelby Turnier, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Sr.

Bryanna Blanco, Maryville (Tenn.) Sr.
Kelsey Dominik, Kingsway Regional (Woolwich Township, N.J.) Sr.
Gabrielle Maurice, Johansen (Modesto, Calif.) Jr.
Erin Pond, Keystone (La Grange, Ohio) Sr.
Alex Powers, Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.) Sr.
Kylie Reed, Norco (Calif.) Jr.

Kylie Johnson, Kankakee (Ill.) Sr.
Siera Phillips, Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) Sr.
Natalie Sheffey, Daniel Boone (Gray, Tenn.) Jr.
Megan Sorlie, Andover Central (Andover, Kan.) Sr.
Katie St. Pierre, Flower Mound (Texas) Sr.

Alyson Ambler, Walla Walla (Wash.) Sr.
Brooke Boetjer, South Putnam (Greencastle, Ind.) Sr.
Katie Brignac, John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) Soph.
Briana Combs, Ladywood (Livonia, Mich.) Sr.
Kristen Davenport, Deer Park (Texas) Sr.
Kelsey Nunley, Soddy-Daisy (Tenn.) Sr.
Nisa Ontiveros, Ridgeview (Bakersfield, Calif.) Sr.
Kenedy Urbany, O’Connor (Northside, Texas) Jr.

Palm Beach Gardens returns to the top

April, 11, 2012
Posting an unbeaten record is second to none in softball, but it's not far behind when a team hasn't lost with its ace pitcher in the circle.

Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) is a great example of that and this week has returned to the No. 1 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. Counting a 2-0 win on Tuesday night in a showdown against FAB 50 No. 10 Poland Seminary (Ohio), the Gators are 23-1 with their only loss coming when ace pitcher Shelby Turnier wasn't in the circle.

With previous No. 1 Norco (Calif.) suffering its first loss of the season at the Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim Hills, Calif., Palm Beach Gardens was an easy choice to move up from No. 2.

The Gators not only got the win over Poland Seminary -- although Poland's ace, Erin Gabriel, didn't pitch -- but they also are coming off a 4-0 showing at the prestigious Kissimmee Klassic. They routed Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest, Fla.) 16-0 in the championship game.

Norco dropped to No. 6 this week and fell to No. 3 in California. One team to watch from California is unbeaten Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.), which won the Livermore Stampede tournament and beat previous No. 6 Archbishop Mitty en route to the title game.

Click here for the complete Week 6 rankings.

High School Softball Stories of the Year

December, 23, 2011
Alabama softballCourtesy of Laz DenesShelby Holley set two national home run records in 2011 and led Pisgah (Ala.) to a state title.

Softball featured dramatic rallies, historic seasons, inspirational players and a whole lot of reasons to celebrate in 2011. Here are 10 stories we’ll remember well into the New Year.

Winning Woodlands
The Woodlands put together one of the best seasons in Texas history, posting a 44-1 record to claim the Class 5A state championship and the POWERADE FAB 50 national championship. The Highlanders beat defending champion Pearland 6-0 in the semifinals and then clipped O’Connor (San Antonio) 7-5 to win the championship. Faith Bohack and Jessica Snyder hit home runs to back pitcher Paige McDuffee, who ended her season with a 37-1 record.

Gabriel goes international
Pitcher Erin Gabriel of Poland Seminary, the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year for Ohio, became the lone high schooler to represent the United States as a member of the Junior National Team. She also was the first player from Ohio ever to be selected to the squad. The senior, who plans to play at Tennessee next year, went 1-0 as the U.S. won the 2011 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship in South Africa in mid-December.

Sweet ending
With two outs and two strikes and her team trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning of the CIF Southern Section Division I championship, Lauren Sweet of Santiago (Corona, Calif.) hit a grand slam to give her team a 4-1 win. Sweet was later named an Under Armour All-American, the Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball Player of the Year and an ESPNHS first-team All-American. Santiago's victory also enabled the Sharks to finish No. 1 in the final state rankings and No. 5 in the final POWERADE FAB 50.

Catcher recovers
Catcher Bella Secaira of Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.), who suffered a collapsed lung, a spinal-cord fracture and a concussion after falling 30 feet from the roof of her apartment building in June, recovered and returned to her club team with a new perspective. “You strike out five times, your life’s not over,” she told the Orlando Sentinel in September. “Are you healthy? Are you happy? Then you're good.” Secaira expects to be back playing for her high school team in the spring and has given a verbal commitment to the University of Utah.

McDuffee stays busy
It was quite a year for lefty pitcher Paige McDuffee. Arguably the top recruit in the country, McDuffee decommitted from LSU and then committed to UCLA after legendary LSU head coach Yvette Girouard retired. McDuffee also won the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year Award after she led The Woodlands (Texas) to a state and national title.

Crandol on the mend
After a six-month battle with cancer, pitcher Katie Crandol of Andrean (Merrillville, Ind.) celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. After Crandol was diagnosed with the disease in March, doctors removed a three-inch tumor from her brain, and she underwent rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. In October, an MRI came back clear. Through it all, the community rallied around the Crandol family -- softball teams cleaned her parents’ house and cooked meals, T-shirts were sold, dinners were hosted in her honor and local businesses held fundraisers. Now Crandol can start to look ahead to 2012. “This spring I want to get out there and show my coach -- all of them -- that I can do it,” she told nwitimes.com in November.

Alabama slammer
With her big bat, Shelby Holley of Pisgah (Ala.) set two national home run records in 2011. Her last blast, which came in her final at-bat, set the single-season mark at 35. For her career, Holley hit 72 home runs, another national record. Holley’s record-setting season helped lead Pisgah to the Class 3A state championship. She has signed with Jacksonville State.

Sweet repeat
Down by a run and down to their final out, the SoCal Athletics staged a dramatic rally to defeat the favored Worth Firecrackers and claim their second consecutive PGF Nationals national championship. "Our team was on the same page in the dugout because we had done it last year,” catcher Aubree Munro said. “We were all like, 'We can do this!' It's never over with our team."

Whole lot of Swagger
Playing in their final game before heading off to college, Team Swagger got an extra-inning, walk-off double from Sara Driesenga to defeat Team Hype 6-5 at the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Driesenga, who was named MVP, is set to play at Michigan in the spring.

Sport spreads
Beverly Bandits, a top travel team based in Illinois, won the Louisville Slugger Independence Day Tournament in Boulder, Colo., for the second time in four years. By winning one of the summer’s biggest and best tournaments, which is a combination of recruiting and championship play, the Bandits showed that softball is alive and well throughout the country.

Erin Gabriel retraces steps to South Africa

December, 23, 2011
USA SoftballCourtesy of ASA/USA SoftballErin Gabriel of Poland Seminary (Ohio) prepared for the ISF Junior Women's World Championship in South Africa by pitching in the basement of a doctor's office. "People think it's weird," she says. "But that's just what I have to do."

Erin Gabriel is from Poland. No, not that Poland. Poland, Ohio. A town that boasts 3,000 people in one square mile of land. So you'll have to forgive Gabriel if she wants to frame her passport, a document she didn't need until USA Softball invited her to play on the Junior Women's National Team.

"I started getting told that I would never make it [out of Poland] when I was 8," Gabriel said. "No matter what happened, there were always people doubting me and telling me that I would never go anywhere with softball."

Not only is Gabriel the first girl ever from the state of Ohio to play on the Junior National Team, but she is also the only high schooler on this year's team, which won the 2011 ISF Junior Women’s World Championship in South Africa last weekend.

Gabriel will graduate from Poland Seminary this spring and enroll at Tennessee, where she will play softball for the Lady Vols.

Fresh off of her win as the starting pitcher for Team USA against host country South Africa, Gabriel sat down with ESPNHS to reflect on her triumphant journey.

ESPNHS: What was it like growing up in Poland, Ohio?

Gabriel: Poland is a small town where everyone knows everyone. We are all pretty close. I played with the same girls on the Poland Pride travel ball team growing up. We got back together in high school and won the state championship last season.

ESPNHS: What are some of the benefits of growing up in a town so small?

Gabriel: The fact that everyone knows everyone is the big benefit of living in a small town. You grow up with the same coaches and you grow accustomed to their ways. You know what to expect from people and what people expect from you. I really like that I'm familiar with everyone around me.

ESPNHS: From a softball perspective, what are some of the drawbacks of living in a small, Midwestern town?

USA Softball
Courtesy of ASA/USA SoftballErin Gabriel plans to pitch for the Lady Vols next year. "It was so beautiful," Gabriel says of the Tennessee campus.
Gabriel: You don't see as many teams and players. We have to travel to a lot of different tournaments because the tournaments in Ohio don't always attract the best teams. Also, the weather stinks in Poland. In the winter, I have to pitch in the basement of a doctor's office because I really don't have any other place to go. That's how I prepared for South Africa, throwing pitches on the concrete. People think it's weird, but that's just what I have to do.

ESPNHS: Next year, you graduate from high school and head to the University of Tennessee. What was the recruiting process like?

Gabriel: Mentally draining and extremely difficult. As an athlete, you're forced to choose your college at a younger age than all of your classmates. The process was a lot of fun, though. I liked meeting the coaches and going to different universities. I liked visiting places that I hadn't been before. I really considered Kentucky and Notre Dame before I picked Tennessee.

ESPNHS: After looking at UCLA, Washington, Kentucky, Notre Dame and Tennessee, what stood out to you about Tennessee?

Gabriel: The coaches sold me on the program. I really see them as my parents away from home. I loved the campus atmosphere, too. I loved seeing the boats on one side of campus and the football stadium on the other. It was so beautiful.

ESPHS: How much did it help that one of your childhood heroines, Monica Abbott, pitched for the Lady Vols?

Gabriel: Monica Abbott is one of my role models, but she didn't affect my decision at all. She has a lot of records at Tennessee, though, so it will definitely be hard to get in the books. Maybe I should have thought about that!

ESPNHS: Tell us about your feelings and emotions when you first found out you were going to wear a USA jersey.

Gabriel: I was overjoyed. It was a dream come true. As a little kid, you want to wear the USA jersey. That's why you go to practice every day. The first thing I did was call my parents. When you wear the jersey, you feel the people who came before you. You picture them and you remember how they represented the team. You hope that when you're wearing the jersey, you do it half as well -- if not better -- than them.