softball incoming freshman Sammi Noland won a national championship over the
weekend, helping the AZ Desert Thunder to a first-place finish at the ASA Gold
Nationals in Oklahoma City.
native of Tucson, Ariz., Noland started at third base for the Desert Thunder. The
team clinched the title in a 2-1 win over Texas Impact Gold in the if-necessary
game. Noland went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice in the championship game and was
perfect defensively in four chances. One day earlier, Noland played a key role
in the Desert Thunder advancing in the tournament, as she scored the winning
run in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 5-4 win over Oklahoma Athletics
national title was a first for the AZ Desert Thunder. The Thunder were coached
to the title by Kelly and Lance Fowler, the parents of Husker sophomore
infielder Mattie Fowler. Noland was also a teammate of Fowler's at Canyon del
Oro, winning two state championships with Fowler and three overall. Kelly
Fowler coached Noland for her first three years of high school ball, including a
pair of state titles.
completed her prep career with a state championship in her senior year,
followed by a national championship in the summer. Noland played a big role in
Canyon del Oro's state championship as well, hitting a fourth-inning grand slam
to break a 4-4 tie. For her efforts as a senior, Noland was selected as a
first-team All-Southern Arizona pick and a Division II first-team honoree.