Arizona Hotshots Help Players Develop Softball and Life Skills

Arizona Hotshots USSSA Champion

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

The Arizona Hotshots began in the mid-’90s, and since that time the organization has delivered on its goals to play high-level softball and develop players on and off the field. Currently, the Hotshots feature 13 teams ranging from 10U to 18U. Arizona Hotshots president Brad Downes says a strength of the organization is the dedication of its coaches.

“Being volunteer-driven has been a strength of the organization for many years. We have folks that are really dedicated to promoting student-athletes who want to play beyond high school,” he says. “The folks that want to be part of the organization feel they can help young female athletes reach their academic, athletic and life goals through this sport.”

Arizona Hotshots win Premier Berth
Arizona Hotshots win Premier Berth
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Hotshots Esparza: Built, Not Bought

Hotshots Esparza BW 2021

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Teams across the country are familiar with the chaos and exhaustion that comes from traveling during the summer, playing in tournaments from coast to coast. However, this past season Hotshots Esparza took the grind to the next level.

“This past summer, I kind of put them through a gauntlet,” Coach Charlie Esparza says. “We set out a dramatic summer schedule that took the parents and players on the road for a 43-day tour all over the country.”

Hotshots Esparza BW 2021
16U Hotshots Esparza Bringing It in 2021
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Editor’s Note

Fastpitch Network Followed the Hotshots from AZ to Birmingham. We watched them match up against teams like the VA unity Johnson, CA Firecrackers Vines, Corona Angels, AZ hotshots Erickson, and it was difficult to find a game they did not outright win. No losses. This is a very powerful team and they should produce a lot of exciting softball next season.

Atlanta Premier 06 Gets it Done with Unselfishness, Small Ball

Atlanta Premier Fastpitch 06 Ray

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Charlie Ray’s Atlanta Premier 06 team won’t be mistaken for the 1927 Yankees, but they can sure beat you in a variety of ways.

“We’re quick and small with some power,” said Ray, who plans to coach this team all the way through its 18U years. “We can steal bases top to bottom. We don’t hit a lot of home runs, but we dent the fence pretty good.”

Despite not hitting a ton of long balls, the team’s offense can look like poetry in motion when it’s clicking on all cylinders.

Atlanta Premier Fastpitch 06 Ray
Atlanta Premier Fastpitch 06 Ray
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Sorcerer Bigley-Everett Looks to Build on Success

Sorcerer Bigley

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Sorcerer Bigley-Everett played well in many top tournaments this year, but coach Ryan Bigley says that without a doubt the highlight of the summer was the team’s third-place finish in PGF‘s 14U Premier Bracket A.

“It was just good ball. All the girls were in a good space mentally. I think we did a decent job of getting the girls not only physically prepared but mentally prepared as well, believing in themselves and keeping it even keel,” Bigley says. “Keeping them in the moment was key for us and special stuff happening in special moments.”

The deep run at PGF was the culmination of a season where the team had to learn to overcome adversity. The team suffered a blow when Emma Misasi suffered an injury at Triple Crown Nationals.

Sorcerer Bigley Team Huddle
Sorcerer Bigley Team Huddle
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Hotshots Esparza: Built, Not Bought

Hotshots Esparza BW 2021

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Teams across the country are familiar with the chaos and exhaustion that comes from traveling during the summer, playing in tournaments from coast to coast. However, this past season Hotshots Esparza took the grind to the next level.

“This past summer, I kind of put them through a gauntlet,” Coach Charlie Esparza says. “We set out a dramatic summer schedule that took the parents and players on the road for a 43-day tour all over the country.”

The team played in top tournaments, starting with the Top Gun tournament in Kansas City. From there the Hotshots played in Top Club Nationals in Oklahoma, the IDT in Colorado and the TFL Championships in Texas. After finishing near the top in all of these tournaments, they won a national championship at their next stop, the NFA National Championship in Louisiana. The team took a week off before finishing their season at PGF.

National Fastpitch Challenge Champions 2021
National Fastpitch Challenge Champions 2021
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Beverly Bandits-Chow Know Nothing Comes Easy

Beverly Bandits-Chow 16U

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Beverly Bandits-Chow, one of the organization’s four 16U teams, boasts a talented roster with players from multiple states. However, playing top competition from around the country reminds them that nothing comes easy. In the PGF Show Me the Money tournament this past summer, the team dropped a couple of games in pool play. Coach Tony Michalski explains that some of the adversity the Bandits faced early on meant the team had to remember to trust each other and their coaches.

“Once they trusted and believed in the process and what we had to do, we figured it out,” he says. The Bandits battled back from their early losses to make it all the way to the championship game, which ended up being rained out. Regardless, Michalski recognizes that he has the opportunity to coach a unique team.

Beverly Bandits Chow Fall 2021
Beverly Bandits – Chow Fall Schedule 2021
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Georgia Fire Develops Players With College in Mind

Georgia Fire Organization

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Tim Todd knows the Georgia Fire well. He coached in the organization when his daughter played and continued his involvement even after she graduated and fulfilled her dream of playing college softball. The decades-old organization is based in the Atlanta area and has sent over 350 players on to the next level. However, Todd says success hasn’t translated into a desire for profit and growth.

“We stay small. We do not have 150 teams, and we will never have 150 teams. We are a 100% volunteer board,” he says. “We’re not trying to make money off of uniforms, and we’re not trying to go nationwide.”

The Fire boasts a great deal of experience throughout the organization, and because of its small size, coaches are able to really invest all they’ve learned back into their players.

Georgia Fire Organization
Georgia Fire Organization
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Sorcerer Faulstich Promotes Learning and Growth Opportunities

Sorcerer Softball Logo

by Tracy Yoder – Fastpitch Network

Power and speed define Sorcerer Faulstich, a 16U team based out of Fairfield, CA. Formerly known as Universal Fastpitch, Mike Faulstich joins Sorcerer Softball with his talented group of athletes from all around northern California.

Faulstich has coached travel ball for the past 20 years and will be in his fifth year coaching alongside Brian Sullivan and Dave Garcia this season. “We’ve all had our daughters play the game and now we’re on a mission for this group of talented athletes,” states Faulstich.

Sorcerer Faulstich “has an incredibly balanced attack with power and speed,” with a strong line-up of 7 lefties in the roster of 15 players. “We have to have one of the best outfields in the country,” states Faulstich, and “our five pitchers complement each other extremely well as they bring different components to the circle

Sorcerer Softball Logo
Sorcerer Softball Logo
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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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Explosion Sanchez-Berouty 2023 Strikes Balance of Intensity and Free-Play

Explosion Sanchez Berouty

by Tracy Yoder – Fastpitch Network

Getting back onto the ball diamond and competing is what Explosion Sanchez-Berouty 2023 is looking forward to most this season. First stop Zoom into June, followed by Boulder IDT, the Champions Cup, and PGF Premier.

Explosion Sanchez-Berouty is based in Cerritos, California and features a core group of ladies that have competed together since they were under ten years old. Rey Sanchez is head coach of the Explosion and has coached this group of athletes since 2015.

Sanchez looks forward to getting back on the softball diamond and playing in normal conditions after losing a competitive season to the pandemic. “These girls have paid enough of a price, they deserve it,” he states.

Explosion Sanchez Berouty Black Uniforms
Explosion Sanchez Berouty Black Uniforms
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