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Isabella King named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE New Hampshire High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Isabella King named 2020-21 MaxPreps New Hampshire High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Isabella King of Bedford is the 2020-21 MaxPreps New Hampshire High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year. In a shortened season, the 6-foot-1 senior wing led the Bulldogs to a 14-2 record and the New Hampshire Division I state championship.

King averaged 20.1 points, 8.5 steals, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game this season, earning first team Division I All-State and Miss Basketball honors.

The Bucknell signee owns schools records at Bedford for points in a game, season and career, topping the 1,000-point mark as a senior.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team.
MLB Draft: Top 5 high school catcher prospects - HIGHSCORE
MLB Draft: Top 5 high school catcher prospects
Video: 10 Extreme high schools via Google Earth
See these campuses that run north to south and east to west.

The Major League Baseball Draft is five rounds this year and the position that perhaps will suffer the brunt of the shortening is high school catcher.

Most mock drafts have one high school catcher going in the first round and mock drafts that project all five rounds show three prep catchers being drafted at all. Mock drafts predict that major league clubs will spend their picks on pitching during the five rounds.

There are at least five high school catchers who have a chance of being drafted, although several of them could move to different positions after they are drafted.

Since there will be far fewer draft selections this year, MaxPreps is providing a truncated look at the top high school selections for the MLB Draft, scheduled for June 10-11. Instead of the usual Top 10, MaxPreps looks at the Top 5 players at six different positions. We've previously presented corner infielders, middle infielders and outfielders.
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock (Calif.)
Nearly every mock draft has Soderstrom going to the San Francisco Giants with the No. 13 overall pick. A catcher throughout his high school playing days, Soderstrom is a high draft pick based on his offensive skills. He showed promise last year when he batted .452 with 12 doubles and four home runs. Speculation is that he will likely end up at third base or in the outfield to maximize his offensive prowess. Projection: No. 13 overall to Giants.

Drew Romo, The Woodlands (Texas)
Romo has an outside shot at going in the first round, but is a likely second-round pick. A defensive standout with quick hands, Romo also has the ability to switch hit. Not necessarily a home run hitter, Romo is still an extra-base threat and is a good enough hitter to eventually switch positions. Projection: second round.

Kevin Parada, Loyola (Los Angeles)
Like Sodestrom, Parada is versatile enough to play another position at the big league level and thus might not stick at catcher. A solid defensive catcher with a strong arm, Parada may also be a candidate for one of the corner spots. He is also an offensive threat after batting around .450 the past two seasons with six home runs. Projection: third round.

Jack Bulger, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
Bulger had a huge junior season, batting .545 with five home runs. His productivity earned him Gatorade State Player of the Year honors. In any other draft year, Bulger would likely be selected somewhere in the first 10 rounds. However with only five rounds this year, Bulger is right on the edge of getting drafted. With a pop time of around 1.9, Bulger has the skills to catch at the major league level. Projection: Fifth round/undrafted.

Daniel Susac, Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.)
Brother Andrew is already in the Major Leagues and the younger brother will be there before too long. He has one of the best pop times at the high school level at 1.82 and he can hit for power. He had three home runs last year while batting .378. In a normal draft year, Susac probably goes somewhere in the first 10 rounds. Projection: Fifth round/undrafted.
High school sports: Southern California regionals announced; No NorCal regionals, state track and field meet - HIGHSCORE
High school sports: Southern California regionals announced; No NorCal regionals, state track and field meet
The California Interscholastic Federation announced Wednesday its plan to hold one-week Southern California regional playoffs in seven sports, including basketball, baseball and softball, starting June 5 and ending June 26. The other sports include soccer, tennis, boys volleyball and golf.

Because only two of six Northern California sections — Central Coast and Oakland — are even holding playoffs, there will be no Northern California regionals. That also means for a second straight year there will be no state track and field or state swimming and diving championships.

The 2021 state track and field meet, scheduled for Buchanan High school in Clovis, would have been the 102nd in history. 

The CIF, which only takes over playoffs at the regional and state level, had no choice. The organization's hands were tied. Section champions feed into the regional playoffs and with no champs to advance, regionals were impossible. 

"Ultimately with only CCS and Oakland offering playoffs, regional playoffs in the North weren't feasible," CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti said. "We wanted to wait as long as possible to make sure there were no update or changes (with the sections)."

Though disappointed that his athletes can't move on, CCS commissioner Dave Grissom said he's heard no complaints.

"This pandemic has been absolutely life changing and life altering for so many families," he said. "In the big scheme of things, for there not to be Northern California championships is OK. It's completely OK. It's just one of those things. It was impossible to pull off. I haven't heard one coach, athletic director or school be upset about it."
San Diego Section powers Mater Dei Catholic and Cathedral Catholic figure to reach the Southern California championships, which conclude June 26. Mater Dei Catholic is ranked 19th nationally by MaxPreps.
File photo by Rudy Schmoke
San Diego Section powers Mater Dei Catholic and Cathedral Catholic figure to reach the Southern California championships, which conclude June 26. Mater Dei Catholic is ranked 19th nationally by MaxPreps.
All four Southern California sections — the Southern, San Diego, Los Angeles and Central — will finish up their playoffs in late May or early June and then enter a one-week regional playoff.

The section playoffs must be completed by the following dates in these respective sports: boys and girls soccer (May 29), boys and girls team tennis (May 29), boys volleyball (June 5), boys and girls golf (June 12), boys and girls basketball (June 12), baseball (June 19) and softball (June 19).

The last date for regional championships for each sport: boys and girls soccer (June 5), boys and girls team tennis (June 5), boys volleyball (June 12), boys and girls golf (June 15), boys and girls basketball (June 19), baseball (June 26) and softball (June 26).

With just one week to complete tournaments, each bracket will be no more than eight teams. That will create many more brackets than normally, especially in basketball.

Teams and student athletes will likely be faced with many conflicts, concerning both graduation and club teams. Nocetti is hoping for flexibility in all cases.

"We understand that section championships are top priority," Nocetti said. "But we hope those teams communicate as soon as possible their plans on participation at regionals."

The Southern California baseball and softball regionals should be very interest. Currently, three SoCal teams are in the MaxPreps Top 25 national baseball rankings and four SoCal softball squads are among the nation's 25 best.
CIF's announcement and schedule released Wednesday about Southern and Northern California playoffs.
CIF's announcement and schedule released Wednesday about Southern and Northern California playoffs.


High school sports: California's new guidance allows football, other outdoor sports to begin play - HIGHSCORE
High school sports: California's new guidance allows football, other outdoor sports to begin play
After weeks of discussions with the California Interscholastic Federation along with coaches and parent advocacy groups, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday morning updated the state's stance on youth and high school sports.

The news was almost entirely positive. 

Football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball and lacrosse will be allowed to resume play Feb. 26, but with restrictions. The California Department of Public Health issued an updated guidance that permits competition for outdoor youth sports as long as county case rates remain below 14/100,00 and safety precautions are implemented. The CDPH reports 27 counties of the state's 58 meet that requirement. 

However many of the larger-populated counties, mostly in Southern California, don't yet meet the requirement, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego. Others in Central and Northern California that are above 14/100,000 are Sacramento, Contra Costa, Shasta and Fresno. (See all current rates below per the California Health and Human Services).

Clearly, though, meeting this standard is easier to beat than the state's current tier system for youth sports. Also rates are dropping rapidly in all parts of the state.

The ability to begin starting Feb. 26 means football will now have a realistic chance of getting in at least five game seasons or more. Coaches are looking to play a 5-7 game schedule. The CIF, the state's high school sports governing body, has said football teams can play until May 1. Many of the state's 10 sections have set earlier dates.

“Youth sports are important to our children’s physical and mental health, and our public health approach has worked to balance those benefits against COVID-19 risks,” said Dr. Tomas Aragon, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "With case rates and hospitalizations declining across California, we are allowing outdoor competition to resume, with modifications and steps to reduce risk, in counties where case rates are lower.”

That's good and promising news to many, but it comes with some caveats.

• Indoor sports are not included in the guidance. Basketball, volleyball and wrestling will need for the rates to go down significantly but there is still time, perhaps in the final two months of school. 

• Weekly testing will be mandatory. The state will pay for the tests, Newsom said during the press conference.

Serra (San Mateo, Calif.) football coach Patrick Walsh, who launched the now 900-member Golden State High School Football Coaches Community in December, warned earlier this week that all sports and regions likely wouldn't be opened up, and that hard work is ahead.

But he saw Friday's announcement as a clear victory. His group, that includes Torrey Pines (San Diego) coach Ron Gladnick and De La Salle (Concord) coach Justin Alumbaugh, combined with the 60,000-member Facebook organization Let Them Play CA, and the CIF have organized quickly to put pressure on the state to open things up.

"We were a pain in their neck," Walsh said. "But we pushed hard and organized all in the name of kids."

This is clearly their biggest breakthrough, especially for football, the state's largest sport that boasts about 90,000 student athletes. A season looked doomed after several delays and state officials sticking to the state's tiered system.

"A lot of people told us we couldn't get this done," Walsh said. "Moving a mountain can't be done. You can't go against mother nature. But with human nature anything is possible. With human beings, anything is possible. A lot of human beings have done a lot of amazing work to get to this point. More work needs to be done. But today is a good day."
Action from the last day football was played in California, Dec. 14, 2019, when Corona del Mar defeated Serra 35-27 in the CIF D1-A title game.
File photo by Heston Quan
Action from the last day football was played in California, Dec. 14, 2019, when Corona del Mar defeated Serra 35-27 in the CIF D1-A title game.
Walsh, Alumbaugh and Gladnick thanked Newsom and executive staff member Jim DeBoo and Dr. Mark Ghaly extensively for listening to the organization's reason and data concerning getting youth and high school sports back safely.

"This was a great lesson for kids," Gladnick said. "There are no guarantees in life and when odds are against you, you have to try. Many parents and coaches and volunteers tried on the behalf of kids. We moved government. It would have just as easy for Mr. Newsom and Deboo and their staff not to listen, but they listened.

"This was three weeks of truly hard work. This wasn't about politics. It was about people."

Said Alumbaugh: "This is a joyous day. It's one of the first days in a long, long time that millions of kids can smile and look forward to something. Something that is in front of them, that is tangible and real as a group. That's a wonderful thing."

CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti agreed that Friday was one of the better ones over the last several months.

"Today was a huge step in the right direction in providing a clear pathway for our school communities to get student athletes out there," he said. "We still need to continue to advocate for a large number more to get them playing as well."

All acknowledged that a lot of work is in front of many.

Other guidelines from the state Public Health agency include:

• Outdoor high-contact sports can be played in counties in the purple and red tier, with a case rate at or below 14 per 100,000. Weekly testing is required for football, rugby and water polo participants age 13 and over in counties with case rate between 7 and 14 per 10,000.

• Weekly testing, either antigen or PCR, is required for all participants and coaches in these sports, with results made available within 24 hours of competition. Football, rugby and water polo are high-contact sports that are likely to be played unmasked, with close, face-to-face contact exceeding 15 minutes.

• Outdoor, moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played in these countries without the testing requirement.

• Due to the nature and risk of transmission while participating in these sports, teams must provide information regarding risk to all parents/guardians of minors participating, and each parent shall sign an inform consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgment of the risks.

• Any team playing in a less restrictive sports tier are strongly encouraged to follow the steps outlined in the guidance to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission. This includes wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and appropriate hand hygiene and equipment sanitation."

Some lower-contact outdoor sports have already started in the state, including cross country.

According to an e-mail sent from the California Health and Human Services Friday morning, here are the counties that currently meet under the 14/100,000 threshold: Sierra (0 percent), Plumas (3.8), Modoc (4.5), Mariposa (4.8), Trinity (6.4), Yolo (7.0), Del Norte (7.3), Humboldt (7.5), San Francisco (7.9), Marin (8.8), San Mateo (9.1), Santa Clara (10.1), Santa Cruz (10.4), Lassen (10.5), Calaveras (10.6), Napa (10.7), Nevada (10.9), Amador (11.1), Tuolumne (11.7), El Dorado (11.8), Imperial (11.9), Placer (12), Siskiyou (12), Butte (12.2), Alameda (12.4), San Luis Obispo (13.7) and Sonoma (13.9).

Those that are above include Shasta (14.4), Contra Costa (15.3), Solano (15.5), San Diego (15.6), Orange (16), Lake (16.5), Madera (16.9), Los Angeles (17.6), Glenn (18), Mono (18.4), Sutter (18.4), CA (18.4), Sacramento (18.7), San Bernardino (19), Yuba (19.3), Fresno (19.8) and Tehama (19.9).

California's announcement comes two days after Nevada re-opened many sports, but also with the caveat that Clark County, which includes most of the Las Vegas area, will not allow competition until in-person learning is in place. Currently it does not. More than 75 percent of the state's 3.08 million residents call that county home.

California is one of 12 states hoping to play football in the winter or spring. Washington was the first to hit the field last weekend.

Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia have seasons scheduled later this month, while five others now, including Nevada, along with Illinois, Oregon, Maryland and New Mexico plus Washington D.C. — plan to start games in March.

Two other states — New York and Rhode Island — are still either working on a start date or considering taking 2020-21 off from football. Other states that have already canceled football: Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maine.

At many points over the last two months, California seemed destined to cancel. That changed on Friday. It probably wouldn't have happened without the monumental efforts of the advocacy groups. 

"We're ecstatic," Walsh said. "This is a massive first step in this process. We've been overwhelmed with love and thanks and overall gratitude. We can feel the souls of millions of kids lifted up today."

Among them were his own players.

"To have a season now feels more empowering and exciting than ever before," said Serra senior Fynn Williams. In all six years of me playing football, I've never been more hopeful and passionate about what is to come next."

Christian Pedersen, Serra's four-star tight end, already has signed to Louisville. But he can't wait to suit up for a final time with his high school team.

"It just feels like I just had a crippling weight lifted off my shoulders," he said. "I now feel more motivated then I have as a person in the last year."

Said teammate, senior Sioeli Helu: "It feels like the world is starting to get back to normal and this is definitely a step in the right decision."
High school softball: Kentucky pitcher Madison McIntosh strikes out all 21 in perfect game masterpiece - HIGHSCORE
High school softball: Kentucky pitcher Madison McIntosh strikes out all 21 in perfect game masterpiece
Madison McIntosh should pitch with a sore arm more often. The 5-foot-8 senior from Rockcastle County (Mt. Vernon, Ky.) recorded a perfect perfect game Tuesday, striking out all 21 batters she faced on just 77 pitches in a 3-0 win over Lincoln County.

Having pitched five games in the previous four days, McIntosh told MaxPreps said she entered Tuesday's game "a little sore," so she "just wanted to make sure that my fundamentals were correct and not try to overdue anything."

Instead, she overwhelmed Lincoln County, teammates and herself while becoming just the fourth pitcher in Kentucky High School Athletics Association history to post 21 strikeouts in a seven-inning game. She was the first to do so since Whitney Valentine pulled it off in 2003 for Elizabethtown versus Green County.

The last perfect perfect softball game — 21 batters, 21 strikeouts — MaxPreps could confirm was by Shannon Becker of Mahopac in 2019, the first ever in New York. Before that, Cedar Grove (N.J.) hurler Mia Faieta pulled off the feat in a 2017 playoff game.
According to the NFHS Record Book, more than 40 pitchers have struck out 21 batters or more in a 7-inning game. The record is 24 by Kelly Holmes of Plymouth Canton (Mich.) who sat down 24 against Walled Lake Western in 1992. There is no available list of perfect 21 K games, but clearly it is rare.

McIntosh, who will pitch next fall at Division III Berea College in Kentucky, has pitched multiple no-hitters but never a perfect game. Her previous strikeout high was 18.

"I was just completely shocked," she said Tuesday via text just hours after the victory. "In the back of my mind, I knew what was going on, but I just tried to play and not think about it."

With her dad and assistant coach Tim McIntosh calling the pitches, none of the Rockets let on they knew what was going on. But Madison knew. All of her pitches were working, primarily her rise, drop curve and fastball. She threw just one change up.

"My speed was up tonight, so my quick pitches were on," Madison said.

Her focus was helped being a scoreless tie until the sixth. That's when the Rockets (11-6-1) struck for three runs on RBI doubles from Raegan Chasteen and Casey Coleman, and a run-scoring single by Haley Pingleton

"By the seventh inning, I got nervous," Madison admitted. "But I just got on the mound and tried to blow it past them."

The right-hander did, She improved to 9-4 on the season while lowering her ERA to 1.75. She's struck out 136 in 84 innings.

The gem was particularly sweet considering she, like all players in Kentucky and most of the country, missed out on a 2020 season due to the pandemic.

It should also be the start of an eventful week. On Friday, she's planning on signing her letter of intent to Berea. The Mountaineers better sign her quick. After Tuesday's performance, more offers might be arriving.

"I honestly had no idea something like this was going to happen tonight," Madison said. "I am just completely on Cloud 9."
Rockcastle senior pitcher Madison McIntosh holds up the ball used to record her 21st and final strikeout in Tuesday's perfect game vs. Lincoln County.
Photo courtesy of Alex McIntosh
Rockcastle senior pitcher Madison McIntosh holds up the ball used to record her 21st and final strikeout in Tuesday's perfect game vs. Lincoln County.
Madison McIntosh has struck out 136 in 84 innings this season.
File photo by Crystal Hester
Madison McIntosh has struck out 136 in 84 innings this season.