DaNia Brooks Strong Bat Helps Team

Denia Brooks In the Circle

by Ross Jacobs – Fastpitch Network

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.”

Denia Brooks Tampa Mustangs Rene
Denia Brooks Tampa Mustangs Rene
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Gravity of Tampa Mustangs-Rene Chemistry Pulls Families In


by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

The 16U Tampa Mustangs have played together a long time, and this longevity translates to an understanding of expectations and conduct that Coach Rene Ciccarello Jr. believes has helped them achieve success.

“We started the team in 2014, and many of these players have been with us a long time. It’s organically evolved, but every player that has joined us understands our team culture and shares our values,” he says. “We have a lot of selfless players, so when you come on this team, I think that it’s refreshing for a lot of players. We’re competitive, but there’s a chemistry we offer that I think a lot of people gravitate to.”

This chemistry helps the team believe they are in any game, regardless of what the scoreboard says.

High School Teams Represented
High School Teams Represented for Playoffs
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Texas Dirt Divas Courtney Blades-Rogers Takes the Reigns in 16U

Texas Dirt Divas Tournament Photo

by Ross Jacobs – Fastpitch Network

On paper, the [ 16U ] Texas Dirt Divas have a strong team primed to compete for the PGF Championship. For many teams that would be the goal, but for new manager Courtney Blades-Rogers, her goals go further.

“If we had all 25 kids (in the 2023 class) verbally committed, that’s a successful season,” said Blades-Rogers. “Wins and losses are great – and I want to win – but the reality is that it is all about their future.”

Blades-Rogers understands softball success quite well. Her accomplishments as a player are extensive. She was the 2000 Honda Sports Award Softball Player of the year as an All-American pitcher for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. She’s left her mark on the sport with the second most wins in college softball history while ranking fifth all-time in strikeouts. In 2012, she became a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

Texas Dirt DIvas 16U
Texas Dirt Divas 16U
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Sophia Stein’s Bat a Sure Thing

Sophia Stein 2023 SS U16 SoCal Athletics Wellbaum

by Ross Jacobs – Fastpitch Network

Sophia Stein likes to be in control of the game…literally. As a five-year-old, she would stand on the pitching mound and chase balls when they were hit, grab them from the outfield, and run to first base to tag players out.

At sixteen, Stein plays shortstop for the So Cal Athletics Wellbaum/Briggs 16U , is a leader who still wants the ball in her hands, and she relishes the pressure of making the big play.

“I would say my effort on the field is one of the most evident things, because it’s the one thing I control,” said Stein. “I’ve been told effort is how people will remember you or don’t remember you, so I always try to give 100 percent. If there was a game on the line, I’d want to be at bat or making a play in the field.”

Sophia Stein 2023 So Cal Athletics Wellbaum/Briggs 16U
Sophia Stein 2023 So Cal Athletics Wellbaum/Briggs 16U
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16 U Club Rankings


June 30 2020

Team Rankings are compiled by a formula that is made up of 1/3 College Coach Ballots, 1/3 of player rankings, and 1/3 Club Coach Ballots.

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