Word out of Southern California is that former Payson High School pitching ace Tom Canale is setting the collegiate baseball world on its ear with his hurling exploits at California Lutheran in Thousand Oaks.
PHS coach Teddy Pettet keeps up on his former player's exploits on the Internet, where he learned Tom has posted a 6-1 record and is set for an appearance against PAC-10 power Southern California.
Canale is said to now own a fastball that has been clocked at about 90 mph. Last year, he set a Cal Lutheran freshman record, striking out 15 batters in a single game.
Both the University of Arizona and Arizona State have expressed an interest in Canale transferring and have asked Cal Lutheran officials for permission to talk to him.
Pettet said the former Horn star would probably like to return to his roots in Arizona but Tom is under the impression neither the Wildcats nor Sun Devils could offer him the financial incentives he's receiving in California.
With baseball season in full swing in Payson, Tom's emergence as a good college pitcher should serve as an incentive for aspiring players in our community.
As a youngster growing up in Payson, "Tommy Gun" had a lot of baseball talent but much of his success could be attributed to his work ethic and dedication to the sport.
There were throngs of fans rooting for upstart Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament, but no one was cheering longer and louder than former Payson High School basketball coach Jim Quinlan.
Coach Quinlan is a Gonzaga alumnus, having attended the small, private Jesuit school located in Spokane, Washington from 1971 to 1975. Through the years, he's remained a loyal supporter of the school and as an alumnus was able to secure four hard-to-come-by tickets for the team's appearances in the West Regional at Phoenix America West Arena.
After a Cinderella run, Gonzaga was eliminated by top-seed Connecticut, 67-62 Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 18,053 fans, including coach Quinlan, wife Barbara and relatives from Washington.
Up until the team's mythical run through the tournament, Gonzaga was probably best known for producing Utah Jazz guard John Stockton and crooner Bing Crosby.
Tiny Gonzaga, with an enrollment of only 4,500, was the feel-good story of the tournament and no one was feeling better than coach Quinlan.
A word of warning in approaching Quinlan about the school: be sure you pronounce the name correctly; it's Gahn-ZAGUH with a long-A.
A team that despite all odds battled its way to the NCAA Final Eight should have its named pronounced properly -- especially when talking to an alumnus who's also a high school English teacher.