Team NC’s Ritchie Competes With Grit

Teagan Ritchie At Bat Black Uniform

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Coach Kevin Hinde of the 16U Team NC has many words to describe Teagan Ritchie. Competitor and leader top the list, but gritty might be the most fitting.

“With her athleticism, Teagan can literally play anywhere on the field. She just makes plays,” he says. “She has that presence about her on the field. She’s going to scrap and do whatever it takes, whether it’s to get an out, score a run or help her teammates get going.”

Ritchie is Fastpitch Network’s 13th ranked utility player and 34th ranked player overall. She plays primarily middle infield with some occasional time in centerfield. However, Ritchie particularly relishes the challenge of playing shortstop.

Teagan Ritchie Ball Defense
Teagan Ritchie Ball Defense
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Malayna Tamborra Wins With Her Arm And Her Bat

Malayna Tamborra Atlanta Vipers 2023 Pitcher Hitter

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

Most elite athletes get into sports at an early age, and Malayna Tamborra is no exception. The Atlanta Vipers 05 pitcher and first baseman grew up with softball, even more so than most.

Malayna plays for her mom, Stacy Tamborra. Tamborra played college ball at Florida State, and after giving some lessons and working with a local team, she decided to dive into coaching. She bought the building for her business, Champions Fastpitch Academy, just months before Malayna was born.

While Tamborra encouraged her kids to play other sports, Malayna grew up watching the players her mom coached become great. Soon, she decided she wanted to be a great softball player, too. But greatness doesn’t come without dedication and hard work. Especially early on, Malayna learned to use what she had to be successful.

Malayna Tamborra Atlanta Vipers 2023 Profile
Malayna Tamborra Atlanta Vipers 2023 Profile
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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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Emily Digby of Georgia Impact Lewis Preps for Expected Success

Emily Digby 2023 Georgia Impact Lewis

by Ross Jacobs – Fastpitch Network

Emily Digby is not big on stats. In fact, when asked about her numbers from last season she couldn’t recall any specifics. If you find it surprising that a 16-year old athlete doesn’t recall their own stats, then you probably don’t know Digby very well.

Digby is the consummate team player for the Georgia Impact 18U, a squad with a track record of success and an expectation that drives student athletes to become better in all aspects of softball while also competing in the classroom.

The Dacula, Georgia resident made a big jump from 14U to 18U in the fall of 2020 and this will be her first season of playing at this level. A right-handed .400 hitter with plus power, Digby is now competing in a league where pitchers put a lot spin and speed on their pitches, the game is faster and the competition will be ratcheted up. Despite these challenges, she has already impressed her coaches and teammates despite a small sample size.

Emily Digby launches another ball for Dacula High School
Emily Digby launches another ball for Dacula High School
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Makayla Huddleston of TN Mojo Strikes With Precision

Makayla Huddleston 2023 RHP TN MOJO Danley

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

When batters step into the box against Makayla Huddleston, they don’t know what’s coming, but they do know each pitch will be precisely where Huddleston wants it to be. The meticulous righty dominates through control, something her coach Michael Danley of the Tennessee Mojo 2023 has seen since he started coaching Huddleston in 10U.

“The first time that I ever saw her she just absolutely wowed us. I mean threw it well, had great control, hit her spots, mixed speeds. She’s just got a great knack for getting people out,” he says.

Huddleston has continued to wow, leading the Mojo to the 10U 2016 PFG National Championship title and and then the 12U title two years later. Now as Fastpitch Network’s 15th ranked pitcher for the recruiting class of 2023 and the 28th ranked player overall, Huddleston believes she’s dominated in large part because she continues to hone the strengths her coach saw the first time he met her.

Mojo Danley 2023
Mojo Danley 2023
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Consistency The Name of the Game for Beverly Bandits 16u Team

Beverly Bandits 16U Conroy

by Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

There was no grand vision when Bill Conroy started the Beverly Bandits travel organization.

But 22 years later, the program has grown to 13 teams and features premier teams that compete with some of the best in the country.

Conroy typically coaches the organization’s top 18u team, but has taken the reins of the first-year 16u group and is excited to see the team’s growth after a strong fall.

Beverly Bandits
Beverly Bandits
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* Editors Note: The Boulder IDT Website was down at the time of publishing. A Twitter Page is linked instead.

Renae Cunningham A Foundation Of Calculated Control And Dominance

Renae Cunningham 2023 Beverly Bandits Allen Pitcher

by Ryan Greenwood – Fastpitch Network

When asked to describe softball sensation Renae Cunningham in just two words, much like trying to hit her pitching, it becomes a tough task. Some may choose the words “Gentle Giant” given her stature and humility. Some may be more straightforward and use “Great Player”. Her head coach Cray Allen, of the Beverly Bandits – Allen, liked the words “Controlled, Calculated”.

“Her approach is always a calm one. It seems like the moment is never too big for her, which allows her teammates to feed off that quiet confidence,” said Allen. “The way she goes about her game is such a blessing in today’s world of highs and lows. She never gets rattled and stays calm and focused through each situation.”

In a day and age of the never ending selfie and self promotion, the way Cunningham carries herself on the field is refreshing. Even Cunningham admits, “I’m a pretty simple person.”

Renae Cunningham 2023
Renae Cunningham 2023
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Alyssa Hastings’ Fury With Bat And Base Running

Alyssa Hastings 2023 Fury Premier 2022 Moyer - High Fives

by Ross Jacobs – Fastpitch Network

Some leaders use their voice. Some lead by example. And, some lead using their actions. Very rarely do you find a leader who does all three, but Alyssa Hastings isn’t just any type of ballplayer.

Hastings, a sophomore sensation who plays shortstop for the Tennessee Fury [Premier 2022] U18 squad, is hard to miss. She’s typically the first player out on the infield grass, the first player at practice, and one of the last players to go home. Her work ethic and softball IQ, at just 16 years of age, is off-the-charts.

For all of her special softball gifts – the quick hands, smooth glove, the patient approach at the plate, incredible bat control – it is her team first approach that stands out above all else.

Alyssa Hastings 2023 Fury Premier 2022 Moyer Game Changer
Alyssa Hastings 2023 Fury Premier 2022 Moyer Game Changer
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Moriah Polar’s Spirit Forms the Backbone of Her Team

Moriah Polar Impact Gold 2023 Home Run Celebration

by Tracy Yoder – Fastpitch Network

Moriah Polar dominates the plate as a “triple-threat slapper where a single is always a double,” according to her coach, Steve Jones, with Impact Gold National 16U in Pearland, Texas. She leads the team in on-base percentage (OBP) and stolen bases and “she covers ground like no other player I’ve seen – she has crazy range.”

“Not only is she over the top athletically gifted and has honed her skill set to be one of the best in the country; she is also one of the primary heartbeats of this team.” Polar is ranked as the No. 3 outfielder and tied for No. 27 overall in the 2023 class, according to Fastpitch Network.

Jones has coached Polar since she was 5-years old. He smiles as he remembers her out in the field with her little pink glove. She probably didn’t gracefully catch every ball that was hit to her back then – in fact Jones chuckles that she hardly caught a ball – but Jones loved her overall athleticism and how coachable and eager she was to learn. “What I saw was a kid that tracked the balls and a kid that was willing to do anything I asked.” Polar has been his lead-off hitter since she was 7-years old.

Moriah Polar Impact Gold 2023 Drag Bunt
Moriah Polar Impact Gold 2023 Drag Bunt
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Savanna Bedell : Powerhouse Strength And An Electric Personality

Savanna Bedell 2023 Vipers Gold Tamborra

by Tracy Yoder – Fastpitch Network

Savanna Bedell has all the ingredients of an elite level athlete – speed, power, and strength. These defining characteristics coupled with her fiery personality and passion for the game set her apart from others in the field.

Bedell is a power-hitting outfielder ranked as 23rd overall (tie) and No. 2 for outfielders in the class of 2023 prospects by Fastpitch Network.

“What stands out about Savanna is anytime, in any situation, when she is at the plate, you just know that anything is possible,” states Stacy Tamborra, head coach for the 16U Atlanta Vipers Gold.

Savanna Bedell 2023 Vipers Gold Tamborra Powerhouse
Savanna Bedell 2023 Vipers Gold Tamborra Powerhouse
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