Courtney Mirabella, Braden River's most celebrated athlete, has found the going a little rocky in college.
The N.C. State freshman injured her hip against Stanford early in the season, and it has taken awhile for the right-handed pitcher to get her strength and rhythm back.
Mirabella picked up her first collegiate win when she went five innings against then-No. 25 University of South Carolina Upstate early last month.
The former first-team Prep All-American also has had some bad luck.
Mirabella was up 2-0 over Florida State going into the fifth inning. She gave up a walk and a hit and was taken out. Her reliever walked the bases loaded and then gave up a grand slam in what turned into a 4-2 loss on March 15.
After 31 games, Mirabella is 3-2 for the Wolfpack with a 3.82 earned-run average that includes 35 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. She is second behind junior workhorse Emily Weiman (18-8), who has logged 157 2/3 innings with 153 strikeouts and a 2.09 ERA.
Hanewich leads Card 'Corps'
Brett Hanewich is an integral part of Stanford's "Baby Corps" pitching staff that has drawn attention throughout the collegiate baseball world.
Stanford is the only NCAA Division I team in the country to start a freshman in each of its games. Those fabulous frosh have accounted for 63.6 percent of the innings on the Cardinal staff.
At mid-week Hanewich, led the staff with a 2.05 ERA, allowing seven earned runs in 30 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander has held opponents to a .146 batting average with runners on and .200 with two outs.
He began his career at Lakewood Ranch before playing his final two seasons at IMG Academy. The Stanford staff also includes Cal Quantrill, son of former major leaguer Paul Quantrill.
Carnes most valuable
Manatee High grad Brandon Carnes was named Most Valuable Athlete at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships last month.
The University of Northern Iowa freshman won the 60- and 200-meter dash titles, becoming the first UNI athlete to win those honors since the school joined the MVC.
Carnes recently followed that up by finishing second in the 200 dash at the outdoor Emporia State Spring Open.
Smalls makes first team
Reggie Smalls, a former Bradenton Herald All-Area Boys Basketball Player of The Year from Southeast, made first-team all-state for St. Petersburg College and was a first-team all-tournament selection in leading the Titans to the state final. The 6-foot guard averaged 11 points per game and was second on the team in assists, averaging 2.7 per game. He has been offered by Edwards College, but needs to complete a couple of courses this summer. He said he has been talking with Jacksonville State (Ala) and Texas Southern.
Suchy a hot prospect
Southeast product Mike Suchy is following up his sophomore year at Florida Gulf Coast, when he earned second-team Atlantic Sun all-conference honors in grand fashion. The 6-4, 230-pound junior outfielder is the third-best prospect in the Atlantic Sun Conference, according to Baseball America. After 30 games, he led the 19-11 Eagles with 22 RBIs and 12 extra base hits, including two homers while carrying a .283 batting average.
Ranch softball update
From the Mustangs' 2013 state tournament team, outfielder Taylor Newton is having a solid season at James Madison, hitting .281. She is tied for the team lead with five homers and is among the leaders with 21 RBIs and has seven stolen bases in seven attempts. She is batting .500 in Colonial Athletic Conference play and recently went 2-for-4 and scored two runs in helping the Dukes (25-11) record their first doubleheader sweep over Virginia Tech ... Recruited as a shortstop McKaleigh Goodale has turned into quite the pitcher at Wagner College (N.Y.). She has a team-best 2.78 ERA with a 7-4 record and six complete games for the Seahawks (13-13).
Among other former Mustangs, Huntyre Elling has a glittering 12-1 record for Indian River State College (39-7), ranked No. 1 in the state and sixth nationally. The righty freshman has a 1.62 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 69 innings. ... Versatile infielder Rachel Slowik has started 35 of 37 games for FIU and his hitting .231. FIU is 12-6 in games the senior has started at shortstop. She has started 17 games at third. ... Dana Hutchins is second-leading hitter for Morehead State with a .299 batting average that includes a team-high six doubles and 11 RBIs and team-leading .400 on-base percentage.
Braden River grad Garrett Russini smacked two doubles and drove in three runs to propel Stetson to a 6-3 victory over USF on Tuesday. The junior catcher has a team-leading 13 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs after 30 games for the Hatters (12-18) with a .278 batting average. ... Former Palmetto High sharpshooter Jordan Smith finished his first season of Division I basketball by leading South Carolina State from beyond the arc with 33 3-point field goals. The sophomore guard, who played at Brevard last season, launched a 121 attempts from beyond the arc and averaged 5.9 points per game. His best game scoring came against Michigan, when he tallied 19 points by draining 5 of 9 attempts from 3-point land. He scored 14 against Nebraska, leading the 9-20 Bulldogs in both games. ... Manatee High/SCF product Tyler Rocklein led FAU (16-12) after 28 games with 18 RBIs and nine extra-base hits and is among the leaders in batting average (.291). The senior outfielder/first baseman smacked a two-run homer Sunday in 3-1 win over Southern Mississippi.