“She fit right into our group,” said Boteler, who has worked with Lorenz for a few years even before Lorenz joined her team. “She has a lot of potential and she doesn’t even know yet how good she is. She’s pretty humble.”
Not many young players are wise beyond their age to show a sense of loyalty in the modern era of sports. From the professional athlete to the youth player, migrating from team to team is not an uncommon occurrence. That was not the choice or case for McKaela Walker.
“One strength that she developed at a very young age was loyalty,” said Todd Mayfield, head coach of the East Cobb Bullets – Mayfield team. “She’s very loyal to her coaches, loyal to her teammates, and very loyal to the organization she plays for.”
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.
An up-and-coming recruit in the 2023 class is a pitcher that resides [in] Santa Fe Texas named Sidne Peters. Sidne owes a lot of the athlete that she has become to her parents and sisters. She says that they have taught her that work ethic is key, and it is alright to fail because [it helps to] make you better.
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Editor’s Note: Fastpitch Network welcomes Kristen Cuyos
Some might wonder if you can start a softball team, much less a softball organization, with just ten players. Kevin O’Donnell, of the Intensity Softball organization, would have no doubts based on his experience.
When O’Donnell started his first New Jersey Intensity softball team in 2002, they only had ten girls on the team.
“We started with a group of ten committed girls,” said O’Donnell. “We came from a town team.”
From the time Jenissa Conway competed in the 2018 PGF National Championship game in 14U, the Sorcerer Softball organization knew they had a very talented and unique player. Whether she was winning games on the mound or at the plate, her talents were obvious to those on the Sorcerer staff.
While Sorcerer coaches are well aware of the special gifts she possesses, her ability to compete at a high level on both sides has started to become more evident to opposing teams and college coaches.
After college, Donny Dreher had traveled around playing modified fastpitch to engage his competitive spirit and stay active. Little did he know that when he retired to save the wear and tear on his body, that years later he would find his way back around to the game of softball and the Finesse Fastpitch organization.
At the request from a friend to come evaluate a player, he visited a local high school to check out the player. This is where he met Tommie Walker and Denny Schlimgen on this day in 1992.
“I got hooked on it,” said Dreher. “I liked what they were doing.”
As a top recruit in the class of 2023, Alexa (Lex) Rosales has earned the respect of those in the Athletics Mercado softball organization from her hard work ethic. In the fall, she was moved to the Athletics Mercado – Greg/Tidd team to continue to work on her development.
“I would put Lex’s work ethic up against any player in the nation,” said Brian Tidd, coach for the Athletics Mercado – Greg/Tidd team. “Lex has played at the highest level throughout her career with our Academy and is a true leader that has set the highest standard of how we play this game.”
How many high school student-athletes can say they have been fortunate enough to play with a top recruit in multiple sports at the same time?
The answer is likely a small number, but Katie Flannery is one of those players. On the softball field, she has played with Annabelle Widra, a dynamic two-way player who will soon suit up for the University of Michigan. On the hardwood, Flannery played with and looked up to Sarah Ashlee Barker, one of the best basketball players in the Southeast who is now at the University of Georgia.
From the time she was young, Addison (Addie) Mettler has been around softball fields. All that time spent around the game helped her acquire a lot of working softball knowledge. That awareness combined with her motivational drive has made her into one of the top 2023 prospects.
“She thinks the game through incredibly well and she learns quickly from her mistakes,” said her dad and former head coach, Greg Mettler.
“The thought that someone out there in the world is working just as hard as me to get that same spot at a great college really motivates me to get better, because it instills competition in me,” stated Addie Mettler. “I know that is my spot and no one is going to take that from me, because I’m going to work ten times harder on the field and in the classroom to get it.”