Thomas Jefferson freshman named offensive MVP at World Indoor Cup tourney
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Rachael Bowers already has achieved a lot on the softball diamond.
The sport she loves even has taken her overseas to the 2013 World Indoor Cup softball tournament, where she became the youngest offensive most valuable player in tournament history.
Rachael, 15, and her parents, Bob and Laurie Bowers, of Jefferson Borough, traveled to Rotterdam, Netherlands for the tournament in January.
Rachael competed on one of six North American Select fast-pitch softball teams assembled by QSports, a company that also operates the Queen of Diamonds softball recruiting events in Ohio and South Carolina.
Kirt Whiteside, of Columbus, Ohio, is founder of Qsports. He believes Rachael's exceptional hitting ability, maturity and personality made her an easy choice to compete in Rotterdam at the Indoor World Cup tournament.
He said; “In addition to being talented, (Rachael's) a really nice girl. We're careful about who we take on this trip. We make sure they're kind and get along with everyone. We don't take prima donnas.”
Whiteside not only was impressed with Rachael's character, but also with her offensive performance during the Netherlands tournament.
After organizing the tournament for 17 years, Whiteside understands softball talent.
“She's got great potential. She batted over .600 with 19 at-bats, and she had more RBIs than anyone else,” Whiteside said. “She's this little spunky girl. She's the youngest player ever to win the (offensive MVP) award.”
According to Whiteside, comparable offensive MVP winners from European teams were older and had played in the Olympics. He is confident Bowers has Division I potential.
“She has a big future on the hitting side,” Whiteside said.
Rachael was happy with her performance at the tournament.
“Being one of the youngest players, I just wanted to go over and have fun,” said Rachael, who is a freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School. “So, I was really surprised when I won the MVP (award).”
North American Select teams, assembled by Qsports from among the participants of the Queen of Diamond showcases, have been traveling to Europe for the past 17 years to participate in the Netherlands indoor tournament.
Whiteside believes it's a great opportunity to share the sport with the world.
This year's tournament included teams from Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, France and Poland and the Netherlands.
“We really wanted to bring the strength of American fast-pitch to Europe,” Whiteside said. “It has grown bigger every year.”
Whiteside also believes it helps the young players beyond the softball diamond. The trip includes sight-seeing in Paris and at historical sites.
“Fast-pitch opens the door for them to the world stage,” Whiteside said. “They get to play softball, see Anne Frank's house, and the next day they're standing on top of the Eiffel Tower. It's electric.”
This year, the teams also participated in a clinic to help teach fast-pitch softball to Dutch youth.
Rachael, who also plays for the Pittsburgh Power 16U tournament team, enjoyed everything about the trip.
“I got to see a lot of different cultures and meet a lot of different people,” she said.
Despite her youth, Rachael will bring a lot of experience to the Thomas Jefferson softball program, which will be guided by first-year head coach Heidi Karcher.
In addition to her bat skills, Rachael pitches, plays third base, and can fill a middle infield position.
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Pirates can’t waste McCutchen’s prime
- Coca-Cola shaves incentives for executives
- Giants, Bumgarner shut out Pirates in wild-card game
- Google Chromebooks, apps transform instruction at Knoch High School
- Jobs on state website include ‘private party dancing,’ ‘car dates’
- Schools converge for Armstrong County Marching Band Festival
- State agency honors Manorville man for hooking up kids with fishing gear
- Rayburn offices moving to regular business hours
- Ford City man charged with molesting teen
- Port Vue upgrades office equipment
- East Huntingdon man dies following police chase