Auburn Tigers ready to rise in 2021

by Rachel Fox – Fastpitch Network

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.   

Auburn Defeats #18 Minnesota
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Team NC Finds a Role for Everyone in their Rise to the Top

Team NC

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.

Team NC Makes its mark in National Championships
Team NC Makes its mark in National Championships
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Denio’s Explosion Expands its Radius, Clears Setbacks

Explosion Softball

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

If you are not from the west coast, your first introduction to Bret Denio may have come through his role as the National Director for the Premier Girls Fastpitch organization.

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.”

Explosion Softball - The Wind UP!
Explosion Softball – The Wind UP!
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Empire State Huskies Provide Valuable Resources

Empire State Huskies Pitching

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

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.  

Empire State Huskies provide position aa well as Team Workouts
Empire State Huskies provide position aa well as Team Workouts
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Georgia Bulldogs Put in Time to Make Miracles

Georgia Celebrates RBI Base Hit

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Twenty years in Athens have flown by for University of Georgia softball coach Lu Harris-Champer.

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.

Georgia Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer
Georgia Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer
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Glasco keeps up winning ways at Louisiana

Gerry Glasco

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

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.

Ragin Cajuns
Ragin Cajuns
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Arizona State Looking to Recapture Consistent Greatness

AZ State Sun Devils Taylor Becerra, Morgan Howe, Skylar McCarty

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Like everyone else, the Arizona State University softball program is easing back into organized team activities.

After COVID-19 brought sports and everyday life to a grinding halt, teams had to find new methods of staying together despite being physically apart.

While those were effective for some time, Arizona State head coach Trisha Ford is glad to see those familiar faces in person once again.

AZ State Sun Devils Nicole Chilson, Breanna Macha, Dale Ryndak, Brynley Steele
AZ State Sun Devils Nicole Chilson, Breanna Macha, Dale Ryndak, Brynley Steele
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Oregon Ducks on the Fast Track Under Lombardi’s Wing

Haley Cruse Oregon Ducks

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Getting her team back on campus this fall has had a little added meaning for University of Oregon head coach Missy Lombardi.

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.”

Oregon Ducks Coach Melyssa Lombardi
Oregon Ducks Coach Melyssa (Missy) Lombardi
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Tigers For Life! Ohana Tigers Quarles Set Goals Beyond Softball

Ohana Tigers Softball Club

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.  

Ohana Tigers Softball Club Tigers Softball Club
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Tulsa Elite Inspires Trust from Members and Alumni

Tulsa Elite Softball Organization

by Ryan Greenwood

When he started the Tulsa Elite softball organization back in the fall of 2007 with only one 18U team, little did Jeff Filali realize that he would have over 300 college commits and alumni in just 10 years.

“It was just one 18U team the first two seasons,” said Filali.

The organization still calls Tulsa, Oklahoma the home base, but now also has teams in Arkansas and Kansas. 

Tulsa Elite Logo
Tulsa Elite Softball Organization Started by Jeff Filali in 2007
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