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Frustrated Pitcher Fowler Excels After Injuries


THOUSAND OAKS — In her perfect world, Sheridan Fowler of Thousand Oaks High would be a softball pitcher.

She would be throwing screwballs past the best hitters and shouldering all the pressure and control she craves.

"It's what I worked for, what I've always wanted to do," Fowler said.

But the talented junior has probably thrown her last riseball.

Beset with career-threatening injuries since sitting out her freshman season, Fowler suffers from tendinitis and an aggravated rotator cuff that prevent her from chasing her childhood dreams.

But the injuries seem to have little effect on Fowler's ability to play the game--and play it better than most everyone else on the field.

A third baseman, she can play anywhere. She is as adept at fielding a sharp groundball to her right as she is at ripping a curveball up the middle.

Fowler leads Thousand Oaks (24-5-1) with a .405 batting average. No other Lancer is batting better than .297. She also has 23 stolen bases and 14 runs batted in.

"She's smart, she runs the bases well, she knows the game and she's got great hands," Coach Gary Walin said. "She's my best player. She's been my best player for three years. Unfortunately, I've only had her for two [because of injuries]."

These days, Fowler does everything but pitch.

"You get to control everything, it's completely up to you," Fowler said of pitching. "I love the pressure and the competition.

"I love to pitch . . . but I can't."

Fowler's last high school decision was a 4-0 loss to Mater Dei in a Southern Section Division I semifinal last year.

Soon after, Fowler injured her shoulder pitching for the 16-and-under Southern California Athletics and wound up playing the outfield in the national tournament.

Fowler hoped resting her shoulder would enable her to return to the circle for her junior season.

But she soon realized that wasn't going to happen, following a brief pitching warmup with the Lancers in a fall practice.

"I tried to [pitch], but it just wasn't worth it to injure [my shoulder] severely in high school and not be able to throw ever again," she said.

Fowler's psyche also required healing.

"I was really upset at first because that's what I've been working for for 10 years," she said. "It's hard when you work for something so much and then you physically can't do it anymore."

It wasn't the first time Fowler was forced to deal with an injury.

Although she dressed for every game, Fowler sat out most of her freshman season because of a back injury.

"My freshman year, it was not manageable to play," she said. "I couldn't even walk or drive or do anything."

After a steady diet of physical therapy and chiropractic sessions, Fowler resumed her career almost a year later.

As a sophomore, Fowler split time pitching with Nicole Angelo and finished 11-6 with a 1.13 earned-run average.

Fowler, who continues to see a physical therapist and chiropractor two to three times a week, led the Lancers with 37 hits and a .381 batting average last year.

Not surprisingly, the healthier Fowler gets, the better she plays. That's good news for Walin, who plans to move her next season to first base, her fourth position.

"She's going to make some college coach very happy because she's so versatile," Walin said.

He speaks from experience.



Southern Section

Today's Quarterfinal Matchups

(3:15 p.m. games unless noted)

Division I

Camarillo at Los Alamitos

Division II

Hart vs. Thousand Oaks

at Thousand Oaks Community Center

Crescenta Valley vs. La Palma Kennedy at Arnold Park in La Palma

Division IV

Rosary vs. Chaminade

at Chaminade Middle School, 3:45 p.m.

Calabasas at Bonita

Harvard-Westlake vs. St. Paul at

Cypress College

Division V

La Reina vs. La Salle at

the Church of Latter Day Saints in Pasadena

Pasadena Poly vs. St. Bonaventure at Sacred Heart Church in Saticoy

Division VI

Faith Baptist vs. Cornerstone Christian

at Mission Oaks Park in Camarillo

Montclair Prep at Victor Valley Christian

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