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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Madison Edwards loves a good challenge. She also hates to lose …at anything.
Although she comes from a family of athletes, Edwards gets her competitive streak from her father, who wouldn’t take it easy on her growing up. She fondly recalls that moment when she broke through and beat him at ping pong when she was 12. “I’ll never forget that,” Edwards proudly states.
Her disdain for losing has driven Madison in everything she’s done. Edwards’ drive has also helped position her Team North Carolina 16U squad as a team to watch in 2021, and made her one of the best 2023 ballplayers.
Competing with the Arizona Storm since 10U, Dellamonica represents a 5 Tool Player who excels in speed, power, hitting, fielding, and arm strength. Not only does Dellamonica possess the essential skills for on-field success, she offers so much versatility to her team.
Dellamonica is currently ranked as the No. 16 utility player and No. 39 overall in the 2023 class, according to Fastpitch Network. While she is a stand-out 3rd baseman, Dellamonica is extremely versatile in the field with the ability to play middle infield or could be a dynamite center fielder, according to Appel.
Coach Kevin Hinde of the 16U Team NC has many words to describe Teagan Ritchie. Competitor and leader top the list, but gritty might be the most fitting.
“With her athleticism, Teagan can literally play anywhere on the field. She just makes plays,” he says. “She has that presence about her on the field. She’s going to scrap and do whatever it takes, whether it’s to get an out, score a run or help her teammates get going.”
Ritchie is Fastpitch Network’s 13th ranked utility player and 34th ranked player overall. She plays primarily middle infield with some occasional time in centerfield. However, Ritchie particularly relishes the challenge of playing shortstop.