Ava Conti dominates the pitcher’s circle with confidence and poise – she’s all business, according to her coach Mike Faulstich with Sorcerer Softball. A 5’8” 158lb right-handed pitcher and first baseman from Redwood City, California and Carlmont High School, Conti is known for her tenacity and competitive spirit.
“Ava brings a wealth of experience to Sorcerer,” states Faulstich and “we love her demeanor and controlled fire she plays with.” Conti is ranked as the No. 19 pitcher in the 2023 class, according to Fastpitch Network, and likely to push the rankings this season.
“She refuses to be outworked in anything she does,” states Faulstich, and always working daily on her physical and mental game. Her personal mantra is “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” and Conti displays a true grit mentality, competitive spirit, and a sense of determination that is one of a kind.
If you see DaNia Brooks, she likes to keep it simple. She likes to smile and puts a premium on having fun, which drives her and her team on the softball field.
The 15-year-old, rising Junior for the Tampa Mustangs 16U squad primarily plays the hot corner and pitches for her coach Rene Ciccarello Jr., whom she’s played for since 2014.
“She is a remarkable player, and probably the toughest out to get on the field,” said Ciccarello. “You throw her a change up and you wish you didn’t. You throw her a rise pitch and she gets her barrel on it. DaNia has always been a tremendous athlete with incredible strength and hand-eye coordination.”
When you see Emmorie Burke on the field, chances are you’ll see her smiling. The Hotshots’ second baseman loves nothing more than manning the middle infield. Her dad and coach Marty Burke says he’s always glad to see a ball hit her way.
“When I’m in a situation and calling pitches, I’m hoping I’ll get a ground ball to her because I know it’s going to be an out,” he says. “She’s good at turning double plays. That’s her specialty. She has really quick hands.”
“I really like the ball being hit to me so I can make those big plays. I put in a lot of time and effort trying to make my game better so when the time comes, then I can be the one to make that play,” Emmorie says. “Turning double plays is my favorite thing to do because you have to be so quick at it. It’s a challenge, and I love challenges that push me to the next level.”
Roger Schliewe just figured he’d be a baseball coach. He played baseball in college and began his coaching career on the baseball diamond.
But in 1990, his path diverted and he became the softball coach at Horicon High School in Wisconsin. Schliewe took over a program that had won just one game in the previous two years. In his first season at the helm, his team posted a 13-7 record and defeated the top-ranked team in the state.
The next year, he took Horicon to the state tournament, and the rest is history. He’s won four state titles and many other conference, region and section championships.
From the batter’s box to behind the plate, Hotshot’s catcher Megan Davidson impresses. She joined Coach Marty Burke’s Hotshots team in the fall, and he already recognizes that she’s a player he can rely on regardless of the situation.
“Megan is a big moment kid. You want her in that moment when it’s on the line. She does her work during the week so she can be productive on the weekend,” he says.
Productive is one word for Davidson’s play last fall where she posted a .543 batting average and .943 slugging percentage.
Power and speed define Sorcerer Faulstich, a 16U team based out of Fairfield, CA. Formerly known as Universal Fastpitch, Mike Faulstich joins Sorcerer Softball with his talented group of athletes from all around northern California.
Faulstich has coached travel ball for the past 20 years and will be in his fifth year coaching alongside Brian Sullivan and Dave Garcia this season. “We’ve all had our daughters play the game and now we’re on a mission for this group of talented athletes,” states Faulstich.
Sorcerer Faulstich “has an incredibly balanced attack with power and speed,” with a strong line-up of 7 lefties in the roster of 15 players. “We have to have one of the best outfields in the country,” states Faulstich, and “our five pitchers complement each other extremely well as they bring different components to the circle
Karolyn Glover has grown up with softball and the Sorcerers. From watching games on TV to attending her sister’s games, Glover can’t remember a time when the game wasn’t a part of her life. All this exposure and hard work at a young age have enabled Glover to take advantage of opportunities when they come her way.
When her sister’s 18U Sorcerer team was short a catcher, they brought Glover aboard for PGF even though she wasn’t even in high school yet. Now, Glover once again wears the 18U Sorcerer uniform, but this time she’s doing more than catching bullpens. Coach Paulie Gabales says Glover’s knowledge of the game and poise impress regardless of the stage.
“Her softball IQ distinguishes her,” he says. “She’s been in these big situations from a very young age, so she’s not overwhelmed by any team we play, whether we’re in Colorado or at PGF.”
That first year as a Bandits team, Yates took them to the PGF Nationals. So, he’s known for a while he’s got a group of girls with plenty of potential. Not only are they talented and becoming better by the day, but Yates has long been impressed with their love for one another.
Paige Vickery grew up around dugouts and diamonds. As a baby, she was on the ground rolling balls all over the dugout. All her siblings played sports – including softball, baseball and football – so the diamond was like a second home. As a result, her impressive softball talent showed much earlier than expected. How early? Just ask her current Mojo [Vickery] 16U coach (who was also her first coach a decade ago).
“I had just finished coaching an 18U game and she walks out with a little pink helmet,” Mike Vickery proudly recalls. “Daddy, throw me the ball, and she hit it so far (around 120 feet) I had to tell everyone to clear the field so I could walk around and make sure that really happened. She was probably around six at the time.”
The Commerce, GA native has not stopped hitting and making plays since. The rising Junior is a middle infielder and hits third in the Mojo’s impressive line-up. Vickery is hitting close-to .500 average (.493 to be exact) with 27 RBIs and a .964 fielding percentage for Mike Vickery’s 16U squad.