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Sent on Mormon-News: 08May01

By Rosemary Pollock

Rowe Leaves BYU to Star at Culver-Stockton College

LECANTO, FLORIDA -- Former standout pitcher, Michelle Rowe, who led the Lecanto High Panthers to the only fast-pitch softball state title in Citrus County history five years ago and lead Culver-Stockton to an NAIA regional tournament, was one of three Wildcats to recently be named to the Heart of America Athletic Conference team. Rowe and Culver-Stockton (Missouri) College coach Jim Webb will represent the third seed Wildcats in the NAIA Region V Tournament which starts on Monday.

"If we win this tournament, we go to nationals," Rowe said. "We could do it, but we've had some injuries that will make it hard." "Some of the teams we know. Evangel (Springfield, Mo.) won the regular season title. We've played them five times and beaten them four times, and we might end up playing them again. They are a good team, but all the teams are good," Rowe added.

Accolades continue to pour in for the diminutive player whose heart and smarts have led her to the top at every level she's played. "There isn't one thing that stands out," said coach Webb. "She does everything well and uses resources others don't."

One of those resources may be her active membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rowe had always dreamed of attending Brigham Young University. Her dream was realized as she began to take classes at BYU, but it clashed with her passion for softball.

"I got to BYU and that was my dream," Rowe said. "I would have loved to play for them, but I'm small and they are a really good (NCAA) Division I program. I was fine going to school and not playing ball. I really liked it there. But when coach Webb offered me a chance to play two more years, he kind of opened my eyes. I realized I wouldn't be playing my last two years in college, and I didn't realize how much I would miss playing," she said. "I'm glad I came back to play, but it was hard." Rowe is especially close to her father. They learned the game together and practiced daily.

"My shins, banged by softballs for nearly six years, can attest to it," said Ray Rowe. "When you have a father/daughter relationship like that, it's special. It was common ground for us to come together on. It really was a special time for me. It was great."

"She's not big, and she doesn't throw it real hard, she just beats those people," Webb said. "BYU had two pitchers on their roster that she beat (in junior college). They were 6-foot and about 170 pounds. They were interested in their height and their speed, but Michelle knows how to pitch. Now she's leading us in hitting here.

"At Lake City, she was such a good pitcher she didn't get to bat much. But Michelle just has heart. I always know Michelle will do a great job and that she'll give us a good performance everytime out. I'm glad she played for me over the years."


Ex-Lecanto star keeps shining
St Petersburg FL Times 6May01 S2
By Carey Freeman
The key pitcher in the Panthers' capture of the 1996 Class 4A crown is leading Culver-Stockton in its pursuit of a berth to the national tournament.


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