Texas Blaze’s Vision Stays the Same through Success; Growth

Texas Blaze Fastpitch Club

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

JB Slimp began the Texas Blaze softball club program in 2003 with a 14U team his oldest daughter was on.

“Like a lot of dads, I had been coaching her in all sports,” Slimp said. “We had a team in 2003 and at that time, my vision was to create a great atmosphere for these kids to get better and be a competitive team in our area.”

That mission was accomplished. The team began having more success and with each passing year, Slimp became passionate and informed about the recruiting process for softball players hoping to play at the college level.

Texas Blaze www.texasblaze.org
Texas Blaze www.texasblaze.org
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Wisconsin Bandits Still Winning Big After 30 Years

Wisconsin Bandits Winter Bandits

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

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.

Wisconsin Bandits Homerun Scaled
Wisconsin Bandits Homerun Scaled
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Beverly Bandits DeMarini-Yates Growing Up in Many Respects

Thomas Ryleigh pitching Beverly Bandits Demarini Yates

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Jim Yates has watched his team grow up before his eyes, in stature as well as ability.

The majority of his Beverly Bandits DeMarini 16u team is composed of players that have been playing together for many years, even before they became a Bandits team at the 12u level.

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.

Beverly Bandits Logo
Beverly Bandits Logo
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Ohio Hawks On The Rise to National Stage

Ohio Hawks Fastpitch Organization

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

The Ohio Hawks fastpitch organization had the humblest of beginnings.

After fielding its first team in the spring of 2007, the Hawks started their journey with an 8-24 record through six tournaments.

But the losing didn’t last long. By July, the Hawks had won the organization’s first tournament. Soon thereafter, they expanded to four teams.

The Hawks have been on the rise ever since.

Hawks Gold Ball
Hawks Fastpitch
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Consistency The Name of the Game for Beverly Bandits 16u Team

Beverly Bandits 16U Conroy

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

There was no grand vision when Bill Conroy started the Beverly Bandits travel organization.

But 22 years later, the program has grown to 13 teams and features premier teams that compete with some of the best in the country.

Conroy typically coaches the organization’s top 18u team, but has taken the reins of the first-year 16u group and is excited to see the team’s growth after a strong fall.

Beverly Bandits
Beverly Bandits
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* Editors Note: The Boulder IDT Website was down at the time of publishing. A Twitter Page is linked instead.

Mojo-Danley Still Growing After Quick Success

Mojo Danley 2023

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Michael Danley calls it a whirlwind.

The success came quicker than he ever expected for his Tennessee Mojo 2023 team. After competing for the first time as a team in the fall of 2015, Mojo-Danley rose up and won the 10u PGF national championship in the summer of 2016.

But instead of being a flash in the pan, the team continued to grow, continued to compete and develop. Mojo-Danley won the 12u PGF title in 2018 and is currently one of the most notable and potent first-year 16u teams in the country.

Mojo 2023 Coach Michael Danley Rallying the Troops
Mojo 2023 Coach Michael Danley Rallying the Troops
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Prospex Bronwyn Borden More than Meets the Eye

Bronwyn Borden considers the pitch for a new batter

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Many hitters have stepped into the box and underestimated Bronwyn Borden.

And many of them have slumped back to the dugout, shaking their head after an unsuccessful at-bat.

There’s more to Borden than meets the eye. She stands an unassuming 5-foot-3 in the pitcher’s circle, but has never let her size deter her from raising her stock as a Class of 2023 prospect.

Bronwyn Borden 2023 Prospex Fastpitch
Bronwyn Borden 2023 Prospex Fastpitch

“I definitely go out there and give 110% because I do want to show people that just because I’m small doesn’t mean I can’t throw hard and be really good,” Borden said.

Borden is a three-sport athlete at Brewer High School in Alabama and has played with the Prospex softball organization for the last five years.

As a pitcher, Borden said her curveball and her changeup are her two best pitchers, and she tops out around 62 miles per hour. The key for a pitcher her size is using her whole body to get the desired effect on her pitches.

“I try to make sure I drive with my legs,” she said.

When a hitter does make her pay for a mistake, a circumstance becoming less and less common, the mental toughness already required of someone of her stature translates into the ability to quickly move on and not dwell on things.

Bronwyn Borden considers the pitch for a new batter
Bronwyn Borden considers the pitch for a new batter

“I just try to wash it away and think next batter,” she said.

Matt Adams, who runs the Prospex program, called Borden a hard worker who plays well beyond her size.

“She can beat you in the circle multiple ways,” Adams said. “She has a very good changeup that she can throw in any count. But what makes her tough is she can also throw it by you with good velocity and late movement.”

Borden can also play outfield or middle infield when not in the circle, but she has earned the respect of dozens of hitters who have stepped in the batter’s box and presumed an easy hit was coming.

Bronwyn Borden Delivers
Bronwyn Borden Delivers

“I definitely think that I’ve grown a lot in the past year or so,” she said. “I’ve gotten a lot better, but I still have a long way to go. I feel like I can do so much more if I just keep working.”

Part of that growth is in her knowledge of the game, which is in the upper echelon of players her age.

“She is not a pitcher who just throws what is called from the dugout or by the catcher,” Adams said. “She really does understand why she throws certain pitches in particular counts and situations. She is smart above her age.”

Borden recently became part of the National Scouting Report (NSR) database and she has been pleasantly surprised with the interest her profile has garnered in such a short time.

“It’s very exciting, because with my NSR profile, it really makes me feel better and makes me think I have potential to be recruited,” Borden said.

Bronwyn Borden entered in National Scouting Report (NSR)
Bronwyn Borden entered in National Scouting Report (NSR)

Borden’s recruiting process will in essence begin in September, when college coaches are permitted to contact her during her junior year. She knows some schools will not look past the surface of her measurables, but she is trusting in herself and the strides she makes daily to get better.

“I faced the fact that this is just how I was born,” she said. “I definitely try to always work hard, because my time will come. Somebody will notice me if I keep working.”

You won’t catch Borden without a smile on her face and she strives to be an encouraging and uplifting player with any team she plays on.

“She is a great kid who is one of the hardest working kids you will find. She is a student of the game, which is hard to find in most players,” Adams said.

Kaitlyn Terry Uses Bulldog Mentality to be One of the Best

Kaitlyn Terry 2023 LHP Arizona Storm

by Kyle Parmely – Fastpitch Network

It takes talent to be a top-notch player.

But it takes more than talent to be considered among the best. The mental side is just as important as the physical one, and Kaitlyn Terry is the embodiment of that.

Terry is a powerful left-handed pitcher from the Class of 2023, ranked No. 24 overall and as the 14th pitcher by the Fastpitch Network. She’s got all the skills, but those aren’t what distinguish her.

Kaitlyn Terry 2023 LHP Arizona Storm Appel
Kaitlyn Terry 2023 LHP Arizona Storm Appel
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BYU a Known Commodity Across the Softball Landscape

BYU Cougars Throw Down

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

BYU softball is the epitome of the word consistency.

The Cougars have done nothing but win over the last decade and a half. BYU has won a conference championship each of the last 11 years, continuing to grab conference titles despite playing in four different conferences (Mountain West, Western Athletic, Pacific Coast and currently the West Coast).

Head coach Gordon Eakin has been there 18 years now, with his team posting a winning record in each of them. The Cougars are currently on a run of 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and they broke through to the Super Regionals in 2010.

There was no NCAA Tournament in the COVID-19-shortened 2020, but the Cougars were 14-9 and playing well when the season was shuttered.

BYU Libby Sugg 2019 Catcher
BYU Libby Sugg 2019 Catcher
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Sierra Daniel Continuing To Improve Despite Already High Ranking

Sierra Daniel Beats the Tag at Second 2023 Arizona Storm Appel

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

It’s long been obvious to those that know her that Sierra Daniel has the potential to be an elite player.

A year ago, she already possessed every skill needed to be great. Then, she made a change in her game that has taken everything to the next level.

“Last year, we spent the year not slapping a lot, to make her a more complete player and develop her power,” said Steve Appel, Daniel’s coach with the Arizona Storm.

Sierra Daniel Beats the Tag at Second 2023 Arizona Storm Appel
Sierra Daniel Beats the Tag at Second 2023 Arizona Storm Appel
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