By Earl Heath
New York, NY - There's plenty to smile about in Westwood as super southpaw Paige McDuffie will be attending UCLA this fall. This reporter recently caught up with her at the Triple Crown Sports National Tournament held at Randalls Island in New York City were I asked why she chose to play for the Bruins. "The coaches are cool and the school has a great history and tradition. The academics are also good,” said McDuffie.
The Woodlands (Houston, TX) ace had a super high school career haven been named the 2010-2011 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year after putting together a 37-1 record and a 0.97 ERA. She struck out 244 batters in 216 innings. She's also good with the bat hitting .415 with 42 RBI's. The Class 5A Player of the Year, she led the Lady Highlanders to a 44-1 record and a No. 1 national ranking to go along with a state title. McDuffie, also pitches for a travel ball called Impact Gold. "She can throw all the pitches - rise, drop, curve, and change-up," said Impact coach K.C. Jackson. She has hit 70-miles per hour regularly with her fastball.
"Paige is a powerful left-handed pitcher who had an outstanding junior year in Texas," UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez told Softball Today. "She has command of all pitches and we look forward to her joining the Bruin family and the history of powerful pitchers in the circle for UCLA." The talent filled tournament also brought in more than 125 college coaches from around the country that included the University of Arizona and Olympic coach Mike Candrea. St. Johns University head coach Amy Kvilhaug was also looking at players. "We get a chance to see the players in action. We can see how they react after a bad play at bat and after a tough loss. Are they going to get up and come back strong?" said Kvilhaug. "A tournament like this can show what's in a player." St Johns is in the Big East a conference that sent five teams to the 2012 NCAA Tournament highlights: some games were televised on the CBS sports channel. However the ultimate at bat came from Lindsey Wilmon from Pleasant, California (Pleasant Grove High School), the So Cal 18U Choppers ripped a grand slam homerun. The unusual thing about the towering blast is the ball traveled over the outfield fence, over a moving car, over a parked eighteen wheeler, over another parked car, over a picnic table, took a bounce and landed on a smoking barbecue grill. In all, the ball travelled more than 375-feet.
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