Bri Matthews, a sophomore pitcher at Mater Dei High School who recently committed to the University of Arizona, committed suicide Thursday night, according to a story in the Orange County Register.
Matthews was 16.
“We’re devastated and shocked,” said Arizona coach Mike Candrea, whose team is in Cathedral City, Calif., for a tournament. “Right now, we just want to do whatever we can to comfort the family.
“She was a bright young lady. You search for answers. You don’t know why. It just kind of shocks the softball world.”
According to a coroner’s report on Friday afternoon, the manner of suicide was “by ligature hanging,” according to the Register.
Matthews was one of two star sophomore pitchers from California who had committed to Arizona, the other being Nancy Bowling from Royal High in Simi. They were teammates last summer for the Orange County Batbusters, one of the elite travel ball teams in the country. Even at their young age, Matthews and Bowling pitched in the 18-and-under ASA Gold Championships, the top event of the summer.
Matthews, according to the Register, was 14-4 with a 0.98 ERA for Mater Dei, in Santa Ana. She struck out 138 in 107 innings.
Matthews had attended Candrea’s softball camp last December and had been scouted by the coaching staff, including pitching coach Teresa Wilson.
“We were very excited,” Candrea said. “And we’re very saddened right now.”
(An earlier version of the story withheld Candrea’s comments until UA received NCAA clearance to allow the coach to speak about an unsigned athlete.)