Elevate One Blessed to Play

Elevate One Prospects

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

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.

Elevate One Elevate All
Elevate One Elevate All
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Kentucky: An Underdog No More

University of Kentucky Wildcats Head Coach Rachel Lawson

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

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.

University of Kentucky Wildcats Pitcher Grace Baalman
Grace Baalman. The University of Kentucky softball team beat South Carolina 7-5 on Friday, May 4, 2018, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics
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Indiana Magic Gold Aiming for National Respect

Indiana Magic Gold National Team

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

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.

Indiana Magic Gold National Team
Indiana Magic Gold National Team
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Addie Mettler Preps for Competition She Hasn’t Seen Yet

Addie Mettler 2023 Firecrackers Rico-Weil

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

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.”

Addie Mettler 2023 Firecrackers Rico-Weil
Addie Mettler 2023 Firecrackers Rico-Weil-batting
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Kayden Henry uses IQ and Skill to Paint the Future

Kayden Henry 2023

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

When Head Coach Scott Smith was considering moving Kayden Henry on to the Texas Bombers Gold 18U team of older players, he knew she had all the tools to flourish.

“She can do everything. That is rare to have all five tools. She has them all,” said Smith.

Being on a team loaded with talented 2021 and 2022 players headed to Power 5 schools, you would think she would get lost.  She is the only 2023 player on this team.

Kayden Henry 2023
Kayden Henry Texas Bombers Gold Smith
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Vision and Perseverance Yield Results For Georgia Impact

Georgia Impact

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

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

Georgia Impact
Lincoln Martin and Patrick Lewis GA Impact
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Karen Weekly Holds Volunteers Accountable to Excellent Performance

University of Tennessee Softball Program

By Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

The state of Tennessee was a bit of a culture shock for Karen Weekly. Having grown up in the state of Washington and playing and coaching at Pacific Lutheran University, the move east was a bit of an adjustment.

Weekly and husband Ralph were hired as co-head softball coaches at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1997. After back-to-back NCAA regional appearances, they were hired in the same capacity at the University of Tennessee in the fall of 2001.

After living in Chattanooga and then Knoxville for the last 23 years, Weekly has grown quite fond of her new home.

University of Tennessee Softball Program
University of Tennessee Softball Program
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Cahalan Displays Production Value Beyond Her Years

Kenleigh-Cahalan-2023-Utility-Thunderbolts-Roberson

By Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Watching Kenleigh Cahalan play, it might seem as if she is a few years older than she actually is.

That’s intentional, because she tries to make it look that way.

“I just treat everything like I am one of the older ones and do my best,” she said. As an eighth-grader, Cahalan was pulled up to her high school’s varsity team at Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.). Early on that year, she established herself as the team’s primary third baseman and took a backseat to none in terms of production.

Kenleigh-Cahalan-2023-Utility-Thunderbolts-Roberson
Kenleigh-Cahalan-2023-Utility-Thunderbolts-Roberson
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Ava Brown Powers Her Way To Triumph

Ava Brown - Hotshots Premier Nelson

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

Ava Brown had worked hard to become one of the top overall 2023 recruits, ranking No. 6 overall among Class of 2023 prospects for Fastpitch Network, and was looking forward to the summer season to continue to improve her game.  

“It has always been my dream to not only play college softball, but to also represent my country,” said Brown.

The exposure at summer tournaments and showcases are what all the young softball players work for in hopes of getting seen by the college coaches who attend the events.  

Ava Brown - Hotshots Premier Nelson
Ava Brown – 2023 Pitcher – Hotshots Premier Nelson
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Oklahoma Athletics Sharpen Focus on the National Stage

Oklahoma Athletics Club - Mike and Brian Madden

By Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

With only two teams, it was an innocent start in 2010 into the travel softball world. Brian Madden and his dad, Mike, created the Oklahoma Athletics.  It has continued to grow into an up-and-coming softball organization that will have to be reckoned with.

“We didn’t ever think it was going to get as big as it is now,” said Brian Madden. “We have went from two teams to about ten teams and now, we have 37.”

Oklahoma Athletics Club - Mike and Brian Madden
Oklahoma Athletics Club – Mike and Brian Madden
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