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College Softball

Jessica Warren named greatest third baseman ever in college softball

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Jessica Warren had a remarkable college softball career. The former Alonso standout led FSU in nearly every offensive category as a senior, including batting average (.470), home runs (21) and RBIs (70). She also finished her career as the school and ACC leader in home runs (82) and RBIs (273) en route to guiding the Seminoles to their first — and only — national title in 2018. 

Photo credit (including feature above): FSU athletics

Those offensive numbers were impressive.

What about defense?

She had that, too.

In 2019, Warren became just the fourth female ever to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, joining former Countryside and LSU star A.J. Andrews on that exclusive list. Warren’s most memorable defensive play came in the opening game of the 2018 championship series against Washington. The third baseman made a full-extension diving catch, an acrobatic play that was the top highlight on SportsCenter and has forever lived in FSU and Women’s College World Series lore.

That resume helped Warren land on ESPN’s list of the greatest third basemen to ever play college softball. Fans voted on the best at each position and the results were broadcast on a special the network aired on Tuesday. 

Warren said she never tried to pump up support among the Seminoles’ faithful. 

“I kind of just let it play itself out,” she said of the voting process. 

Among the fans, Warren finished third with 13 percent of the vote. Former Auburn standout Kasey Cooper was the winner with 25 percent.

After the fan results were revealed, the 7-inning Podcast crew, which includes former Olympian and Treasure Island resident Michele Smith, disclosed their list. Warren was the greatest third baseman in college softball according to the expert panel. 

“It’s so cool being put in a lineup with literally some of the best players to ever play softball,” Warren said. 

These days, Warren plays professionally. In a few days, she is going to Viera to start training with the USSSA Pride, which will team with the Scrap Yard Dawgs in a barnstorming tour that lasts through July. After that, Warren will head to Chicago to play in a new league, Athletes Unlimited, which starts in August and finishes at the end of September. 

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College Softball

Jessica Warren has the spotlight in inaugural softball league

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Diving catches have become a regular occurrence for Jessica Warren. 

Two years ago, the former Alonso standout made an acrobatic, full-extension grab from third base in the 2018 women’s College World Series.

That play not only helped FSU win its first national title but also put Warren in the national spotlight, even for years to come.

Last year, Warren became just the fourth female ever to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, joining former Countryside and LSU star A.J. Andrews on that exclusive list. Two months ago, ESPN’s 7-inning podcast crew voted Warren as the greatest third baseman to ever play college softball. 

All of that in large part to “the catch”. 

This past week, she did it again. 

In a scrimmage for the inaugural Athletes Unlimited softball league, Warren went all out, leaping for a catch from third base in a play that was a near facsimile of the one she made in the College World Series. 

Warren made other plays, too, so many that she was named one of four captains for the league’s opening games on Saturday. 

Her selection meant that she was able to draft a team from the league’s pool of 56 players. She even had a team named after her in a league that does not follow traditional formats. 

Teams  — and rosters  — change weekly. Players accumulate points based on individual and team performance. The top four scorers each week earn captain honors for the following week, and the right to draft players. 

Players are not just trying to win. They are vying for a top individual ranking much like tennis, which will be announced at the end of the five-week season. 

Warren is not the only local in the league. 

Andrews also was among the 56 players in the pool. She is playing for Team Pendley in the first week’s set of games. 

There are plenty of softball ties with the Andrews family. A.J.’s  two younger sisters, Aliyah (East Lake/LSU) and Athena (East Lake/Florida A&M) both have made a name for themselves in the sport, too. 

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College Softball

Shannon Saile headlines local group of FGCL all-stars

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The Florida Gulf Coast League finishes its five-week inaugural season with all-star game Saturday at the Lakewood Ranch softball complex.

Three former area standouts were selected as all-stars, headlined by Oklahoma’s Shannon Saile, who starred at Land O’ Lakes.

Saile (featured photo above courtesy of OU Athletics) spent the summer playing for the Bradenton Slice in the seven-team FGCL, the first league of its kind for college softball players. She was dominant, finishing first in strikeouts and third in ERA.

The other local selections were Megan Pierro (Steinbrenner/USF) and Neely Peterson (Cypress Creek/Santa Fe College).

FGCL All-Star Game

When: Saturday, noon

Where: Lakewood Ranch Softball Complex

Admission: $10

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College Softball

Devin Abraham joins IMG’s staff

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Devin Abraham, a star at East Lake and USF, has joined IMG Academy’s staff as a defensive backs coach. 

His father, Donnie, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2001, was IMG’s defensive coordinator for two years (2015-16). 

This is the second former Pinellas County standout the Ascenders hired this week. On Monday, Shaun King, who gained notoriety quarterbacking Gibbs, Tulane and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announced he was going to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the powerhouse program

Devin had 19 interceptions in his high school career. As a senior in 2013, he helped lead East Lake to the state semifinals. He went to play at USF, where he made 37 starts in 46 games. His nine career interceptions with the Bulls is tied for fifth-best in program history.  

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