The Aurburn Tigers have burst on the scene the past several years, making trip to the WCWS in 2015 and 2016, and in his fourth season at Auburn Mickey Dean has his tigers eyes set on returning back to Oklahoma City. They were on their way in the 2019-20 season as they started the season 16-11with wins over Notre Dame, #25 Northwestern and #18 Minnesota. That was until COVID-19 halted and ultimately ended the season. Dean recalls getting the call during the middle of a mid-week home game informing him the NCAA was shutting things down and ultimately sending all students home. Dean tried to use this a teaching moment to his student athletes, about life and that things are unexpected while encouraging them play every game as their last.
The organization has been competing at a national level for several years and finally broke through in the summer of 2019, as Nate Eaton’s 14u team won the Triple Crown/USA Nationals championship in Georgia.
Eaton’s team finished in third at nationals the year prior but triumphed by beating the Texas Bombers to cap off a 9-0 run through the tournament.
Eaton’s group, which now competes at the 16u level, is one of over 20 teams in the Team NC program, but its story is one that epitomizes what the fastpitch organization is all about.
When you finally get to southern California to play softball, you will quickly learn that he is also the head of the Explosion Softball organization that has some talented teams on the west coast in California, Arizona, and Utah.
“It always starts with the coaching. Look for coaches that are in this game for the right reasons,” says Denio. “I always do research and make sure these coaches are in it for the right reasons and are not there for financial gain.”
When you grow up in the northeast, hockey is the sport of choice to maximize your time outside playing sports and hanging out with friends. For John Knopf, that was where he cut his teeth in sports and how he ended up getting drafted and spending time in the Vancouver Canucks organization.
“As a hockey player, it was great growing up in the northeast. I played hockey from October on outside,” said Knopf.
After his hockey days were over, friends convinced him to give fastpitch softball a try, given his athleticism and his need for a fun way to burn youthful energy. Those times were fast and furious but gave him an indoctrination into the game.
She took over a Bulldogs program in its infancy in 2001, led the team to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2002 and hasn’t looked back since.
Georgia hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament in 18 years and was well on its way to achieving more postseason success in the pandemic-shortened season. The Bulldogs were off to a great 23-5 start and had taken two of three in their first SEC series.
The train has just kept on roaring down the tracks in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The University of Louisiana softball program has been one of the top programs in all of college softball for the last three decades.
Not just one of the top mid-major programs. One of the top programs, period.
Gerry Glasco is just the fourth head coach in the program’s history, taking over in late 2017. His first three seasons in Lafayette have done nothing to change the perception of the program. In 2018, the Ragin’ Cajuns won 41 games. In 2019, they won 52 contests and won the Sun Belt championship. Both seasons, they qualified for the NCAA Regionals.
After months of being forced to be apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after countless Zoom meeting and telephone calls, gathering again as a softball team has been really refreshing, the third-year head coach said.
“We’d all say there’s times that we’ve taken it for granted,” she said. “To get it taken away from us, we’ve always appreciated it but now we appreciate it even more and the little things that go along with it.”
When Shawn Quarles, and his brother Joey, were getting into the travel softball world with their daughters, they learned quickly that it was a lot different from their experience in recreational softball.
As the needs grew with the players and their development, they moved forward around 2007 to start a small softball organization called the Cerritos Franchise.