Oct. 6, 2004 - AHEAD OF THE GAME: It's been a period of adjustment for former Canyon del Oro softball sensation Callista Balko who began college at the University of Arizona in August. A new school, new surroundings and new friends all pale in comparison to what may be her biggest adjustment, switching to catcher. Balko, a shortstop in her four years at CDO, has caught before but not in a while, said the Dorado turned Wildcat.
Rising fastballs won't be whizzing in from just any pitcher. Balko will be catching one of the hardest throwing hurlers in all of college softball in Alicia Hollowell, who posted a 41-4 record while fanning 508 batters in 2004.
At CDO, Balko was the school's 2004 Athlete of Year where she hit .443 with three home runs and 21 runs batted in. At the UA, she is expected to bring added power to an already strong lineup.
Fall little league
The CDO 9-10 Little League All-Star team that advanced to the championship game of the Tucson City Championships, is at it again. The team, minus one player, is playing in the off-season as the Alpha Packers, a baseball club team based out of Sportspark, 6901 N. Casa Grande Hwy. The Packers took fourth place in the Labor Day Classic Tournament and earned an invitation to the Super Series Winter Nationals in Peoria over the Christmas-New Year's break from school. At the Super Series, described by team assistant manager JC Khawam as the "World Series of club baseball," the Packers will face squads from Arizona, Texas, California, Nevada and New Mexico.
In the years since its inception a decade ago as a small gathering between the Marana High School class of 1991 and 1994, the Annual Marana Alumni Turkey Bowl continues to grow. For the first time the event will be open to the public to come and watch as more than 40 former Marana football players wage war in the annual game of flag football at Marana High School Nov. 25, the night before Thanksgiving.
Toby Bourget and Jim Click Automotive will be raffling off a used car at halftime of the game. Second prize will be an autographed guitar signed by country singer and Marana High School grad, Troy Olson. Cost for the raffle will be $5 per ticket and $20 for five. Half of the proceeds from the raffle will go towards the Marana Athletic Department and two scholarships for Marana High School students. Entrants must be present to claim the prize.
Doors will open at 5 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. kick-off. The game, designed to resemble a fully functional Friday night football game, is free to enter, but a donation of canned foods or clothing for the Marana Food Bank is asked for. Former players wishing to play in the game should call Bourget at 410-8306.
CDO on the go
While the rest of the school is on its vacation for the upcoming Amphitheater School District's intersession break, Canyon del Oro's swim team will be on a journey of its own. Head coach Chad Reister is taking the squad on a trip to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. Through fundraisers, the Dorados paid for their trip to Durango by selling entertainment coupon books, car washes and promotions to Sidewinders games. Swimmers raised $250 a piece to include room and board, transportation and food. This will be the first year the team travels to Colorado to work out in a new facility and environment. Reister hopes to turn the trip into an every other year event. At $250 for the week, Reister believes the money for the trip is well worth it.
"You can go to Disneyland and spend that in one day," said the coach.