Team USA back in Olympics … Former REV star homers twice at World Softball Championship … Davidson finds mound duty with White Sox … Ex-Lady Coyote gets pro gig in Spain.
Softball will return to the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.
The first team to qualify was Team USA, which won last week’s World Softball Championship with a run of nine straight victories in Chiba, Japan.
Sahvanna Jaquish, a Redlands East Valley product and a former All-American player at Louisiana State University, had a prominent spot on Team USA.
She could be seen joining the victory scrum after the Americans edged Japan, 7-6, in the championship game.
Beating nations like Mexico, South Africa, Philippines, Japan, Chinese Taipei, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, Team USA dominated the tournament.
Jaquish, a catcher and third baseman during her LSU days, homered in Team USA’s 10-1 win over Puerto Rico, a nation she played for in an international tournament last year.
While playing first base, Jaquish hit a three-run HR in a 7-0 win over South Africa in a combined no-hitter for Team USA pitchers.
Various top-level players were on last week’s roster, including 32-year-old Monica Abbott and Alicia Hollowell, both sensational pitchers during their collegiate days at Tennessee and Arizona.
Abbott is the lone remaining Team USA player from the 2008 Olympics.
Team USA has won three gold medals and a silver from the Olympics, having won three in a row from the outset when it debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Japan beat Team USA in 2008 at Beijing, the last time it was played on the Olympic stage.
The International Olympic Committee had voted softball out of the Games in 2005.
Two years ago, after previous attempts to bring softball back to the Olympics, the committee voted it back for 2020. Its status is up in the air for 2024.
No player selections have been made for Team USA in 2020.
Jaquish, a Highland product, is expected to be among those in the mix.
Cal State San Bernardino graduate Rachael Figg recently signed to play professionally in Spain with Dinamo de Guadalajara.
Figg was the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Newcomer of the Year and First-Team All CCAA in 2016 as well as an All-West Region Selection.
Figg, a Fontana Kaiser product, was 2016 Newcomer of the Year in the CCAA, winning first-team all-conference honors and All-West Region. The scorer and playmaker finished her Lady Coyote career last fall.
She’s headed for a Second Division squad in Spain.
There will be more signings, said the Dinamo club, which is headed by President Juan Flores.
Marta Vidal from Cadiz CF, plus Nieves Ibanez from Rayo Vallecano have also been added to the club’s roster.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Matt Davidson, whose awesome 10-0 record with a 0.76 as a Yucaipa High School freshman in 2006, set loose the idea he could be a future professional pitcher.
While the Thunderbirds started phasing out his pitching to showcase his hitting skills, Davidson’s mound work was never forgotten.
Now with the Chicago White Sox, where he has belted 16 home runs, he memorably struck out Yankee slugger Giancarlo Stanton on a curve ball in the dirt. In his first three innings, he hasn’t surrendered a run, striking out three and allowing a hit.
His fastball was clocked at 90 mph.
During his Yucaipa days, Davidson won 27 out of his 32 decisions, 19-3 during his frosh and sophomore seasons. Opposing hitters batted less than .200 against Davidson.
Drafted originally by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Davidson was shipped to the White Sox in a December 2013 trade for relief pitcher Addison Reed.
As a hitter for Yucaipa, Davidson batted .553 as a senior, belting 11 HRs, pitching sparingly — 4-0, 1.60 ERA, 30 2/3 innings.
Davidson is another everyday player that has been thrust into mound duty in various one-sided games in order to preserve teams’ current pitchers.
San Francisco infielder Pablo Sandoval recently threw for the Giants.
Mets’ infielder Jose Reyes found himself on the mound in the final inning of a 25-4 blowout loss to Washington.
As for Davidson, his 10-0, 0.76 ERA while hitting .341 with eight HRs earned him Citrus Belt League MVP to cap his brilliant freshman season.