Marissa Mesiemore has hit the ground running at the next level.
The Daily Commercial Player of the Year in 2017, Mesiemore took her talents to Florida Gulf Coast University and is turning in a solid rookie season with Eagles softball team.
A pitcher, Mesiemore has fashioned a 7-1 record with a 1.79 ERA in her first eight decisions in college. Through Monday, Mesiemore has tossed 39 innings, allowing 38 hits and striking out 20.
She has made five starts in her first 13 appearances with one complete game and has limited opposing hitters to a .245 batting average. Mesiemore is second on the team in wins, but third in innings pitched on a club that is 19-4 overall.
Arguably, her best effort of the season was a 6-0 complete-game win against Wright State on Feb. 26 in Fort Myers. Mesiemore limited the Raiders to three hits — all in the first inning — and just one walk.
Success in the pitching circle was commonplace for Mesiemore during her high school career at South Sumter. Mesiemore recorded a 64-17 record with the Raiders and a 0.99 ERA.
She struck out 793 batters in four seasons at South Sumter and surrendered only 242 hits.
Mesiemore also was a force at the plate, hitting .399 with 29 homers and 113 RBIs. She was walked or hit 92 times in 357 plate appearances as opposing pitchers tried to throw inside to neutralize her power.
Next up for Florida Gulf Coast will be Tennessee-Chattanooga Friday in Clearwater in the University of South Florida’s spring tournament.
Tyra Bowers, Florida A&M
Tyra Bowers is the picture of persistence.
A former standout at Eustis, Bowers spent two seasons at Northwest Florida State College refining her game for a chance to earn a roster spot with an NCAA Division I program.
She got that opportunity when Florida A&M came calling after her final season at Northwest FSC, and she is making the most of her chance.
Bowers is hitting .277 in 17 games — 15 starts — with the Rattlers. She leads the team with five stolen bases and is second with 13 hits.
Even though she is just 18 games into her NCAA career, Bowers has recorded two three-hit games. Those came against Georgia Tech on Feb. 9 and against Rutgers on Saturday. Only one of her first 18 hits has gone for extra bases, a double against Kennesaw State on Feb. 24, and she managed two stolen bases on Feb. 16 against Qunnipiac.
At Northwest FSC, Bowers boasted a .332 batting average as a sophomore with 18 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. She earned second team Panhandle Conference honors for her play.
Next up for the Rattlers is the Florida Atlantic University tournament, Friday through Sunday, in Boca Raton.
Jordan Caroline, Nevada
Jordan Caroline is looking to extend Nevada’s season beyond Friday.
For that to happen, the former Montverde Academy boys basketball standout will have to be a factor when Nevada plays Texas in an opening-round game in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Caroline just might have the chops to lead the Wolf Pack past the Longhorns. A junior, the 6-foot-7 Caroline is averaging 17.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in 34 games this season.
He leads the Wolf Pack in rebounding and is second in scoring. He is shooting 48 percent from the field — 32 percent from distance — and 72 percent from the free throw line.
A transfer from Southern Illinois, Caroline made an impact as a sophomore at Nevada, finishing third in scoring (15.0) and first in rebounding (9.2). He was named the Mountain West Tournament MVP and led the Wolf Pack to their first NCAA Tournament bid in nearly 10 years.
Caroline spent two seasons at Montverde Academy and helped the Eagles win back-to-back national championships, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds as a senior. Prior to transferring to Montverde Academy, he played two seasons at Champaign (Illinois) High School.