How many high school student-athletes can say they have been fortunate enough to play with a top recruit in multiple sports at the same time?
The answer is likely a small number, but Katie Flannery is one of those players. On the softball field, she has played with Annabelle Widra, a dynamic two-way player who will soon suit up for the University of Michigan. On the hardwood, Flannery played with and looked up to Sarah Ashlee Barker, one of the best basketball players in the Southeast who is now at the University of Georgia.
When J.J. Jimenez was watching the PGF Championship on TV with his daughter and the rest of the family, he told her one day you will play in that championship game. Even though she was still young in her softball career, the idea he wanted to instill was to dream big.
“I was her hitting coach. I was her fielding coach,” said Jimenez. “I would do all her skill videos.”
Even though they were just above the Mexican border, but below the softball hotspot in the Orange County and San Diego area, they were starting to put teams together with those girls from the area that were interested in improving their softball skills.
The University of Kentucky softball program is no longer a plucky underdog, capable of jumping up and surprising its opponents occasionally.
No, the Wildcats have lost that distinction. They advanced to the Women’s College World Series for the first time in 2014, have established themselves as a perennial Super Regional team and have finished second in the ridiculously competitive Southeastern Conference twice in the last four completed seasons.
For many years now, Indiana Magic Gold has been one of the top fastpitch softball club organizations in the Midwest.
But the people involved in the program are not content with that distinction. They are continuing to pursue improvements to keep moving the organization into the upper echelon of the best of the best, nationwide.
From the time she was young, Addison (Addie) Mettler has been around softball fields. All that time spent around the game helped her acquire a lot of working softball knowledge. That awareness combined with her motivational drive has made her into one of the top 2023 prospects.
“She thinks the game through incredibly well and she learns quickly from her mistakes,” said her dad and former head coach, Greg Mettler.
“The thought that someone out there in the world is working just as hard as me to get that same spot at a great college really motivates me to get better, because it instills competition in me,” stated Addie Mettler. “I know that is my spot and no one is going to take that from me, because I’m going to work ten times harder on the field and in the classroom to get it.”
When Will Tomasello founded the Georgia Impact softball organization back in 2002, it was not about the results. It was about the process. It was about a culture.
“It wasn’t that anybody was doing anything bad, I just wanted to do it my way,” said Tomasello. When Georgia Impact – Lewis defeated the OC Batbusters – Stith in the PGF 18U National Championship game in 2018, that was in part, a result of the process and the culture instilled by the organization