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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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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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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Mike White Forges New Trail To WCWS For Longhorns

Winding Up In the Circle For the Longhorns

By Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

Although The University of Texas softball had seen its share of success through the years, the program was becoming somewhat stale. By 2018, their season had ended in regional play each of the last five years.

The Longhorns were ready to get back to their prominence and to the Women’s College World Series. The change started with the hire of Mike White as the Head Softball Coach on June 25, 2018. White was very familiar with the Women’s College World Series, having been there five of the last seven years.

Texas Longhorns Use Bats to Blaze Trail To WCWS
Texas Longhorns Driving The Ball on Trail to WCWS
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Arizona Remains Grounded in the Fundamentals

University of Arizona Wildcats

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Five consecutive NCAA Super Regional berths left the University of Arizona softball program wanting more.

That’s as great a testament as any as to what head coach Mike Candrea has created in Tucson over the last 35 years. The bar has been set so high that seasons ending in the Super Regionals from 2014-18 had the program still yearning to take the next step and return to the Women’s College World Series despite seasons that would seem like a mere pipe dream for the majority of programs across the nation.

University of Arizona Wildcats
University of Arizona Wildcats led by Coach Mike Candrea
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EC Bullets 25 Years Strong

EC Bullets Greg Schnute

By Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

Greg Schnute knew if the Southeastern Conference added fastpitch softball to its list of athletic offerings, the sport would grow rapidly at not just the college level, but the levels below as well.

He was correct. All in the span of a few years in the mid-1990s, the Summer Olympics featured softball, the SEC adopted softball and the state of Georgia transitioned from slow pitch to fastpitch at the high school level.

EC Bullets Elite 50 Pitcher
EC Bullets Sensing during an Elite 50 game on Saturday, June 13, 2020, at Wilson Morgan Park in Decatur. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
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Oklahoma Sooners and Monumental Expectations

University of Oklahoma Sooners Softball Coach Patty Gasso

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

The bar has been raised to astronomical levels within the University of Oklahoma softball program.

That tends to happen when you have a stretch like the Sooners have enjoyed over the last decade: three national championships, eight Women’s College World Series appearances, eight straight Big 12 titles and seven 50-win seasons.

University of Oklahoma Sooners Softball Coach Patty Gasso
University of Oklahoma Sooners Softball Coach Patty Gasso
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