Atlanta Vipers 05 Poised for Success in 16U

Atlanta Vipers 05 Tamborra Team

by Rachel Pfeiffer – Fastpitch Network

The 16U Atlanta Vipers 05 boast a talented roster built on speed, power and discipline. These girls have sky-high expectations for the upcoming travel ball season even as a first-year 16U team. Whether they’re winning tournaments, facing 18U teams in scrimmages, or grinding through practice together, the Atlanta Vipers know how to be great, in large part because they’ve been taught from the beginning what it takes to be champions.

Coach Stacy Tamborra leads the Vipers. After Tamborra finished her decorated pitching career at Florida State, she said she would never coach or teach. However, she began giving a few lessons and helped coach a local travel team. As she worked with the girls, she began to change her mind. “I just realized that God just had a bigger plan for me. You’re able to impact kids at a whole other level when you’re instructing them,” Tamborra says.

Atlanta Vipers 05 Tamborra Team Pose
Atlanta Vipers 05 Tamborra Team Pose
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True Grit Mentality Guides Rhode Island Thunder

By Tracy Yoder – Fastpitch Network

It takes an athlete with true grit to show up on the softball diamond in 40-degree April weather to get her reps in at the plate. Teams in the northeast often face a different kind of rival – the weather. And cold weather becomes just another opponent to be trampled and stormed.

Training is seasonal in the northeast, and teams often find themselves spending more time indoors than their southern counterparts. But learning to navigate the seasons builds character and initiates a sense of determination in these athletes.

Meet the Rhode Island Thunder. Founded in 1997 by David Lotti, the Rhode Island Thunder has grown to become one of New England’s premier softball organizations. Featuring eleven teams ages 12U to 18U, the Rhode Island Thunder can be found annually at top events such as Boulder IDT, TC Nationals, and PGF Nationals to name a few.

Rhode Island Thunder Pitcher
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Lady Dukes Seize Goals in Life and Sports

Lady Dukes Win On and Off Field

by Tracy Yoder – Fastpitch Network

Five years ago, James Lamar was watching his 10U daughter from the sidelines and decided it was time to make a change. Feeling that some girls were being treated unfairly in the economically driven system, he decided to start a new club team that would create an opportunity for athletes to play, regardless of economic status.

Lamar partnered with his wife, Marissa Young, who had just been hired as Head Coach at Duke University, so it seemed fitting to name the team the Lady Dukes. “This became a full-time way of giving back to life – softball is not my full-time job,” states Lamar. “I was in a position to help kids by providing an opportunity – to help those that couldn’t help themselves. Everyone deserves a fair chance.”

This summer the Lady Dukes will be celebrating its fifth year as an organization and the first cohort of girls graduating into the college ranks. “Everything we have done so far is for this moment,” Lamar reflects. He states, “two years ago people would have said some of our girls would never have made it, given their background of single-parent homes or lower economic status – but they did.”

Lady Dukes Coaches
Lady Dukes Coaches James Lamar and Marissa Young
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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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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.

Team NC Finds a Role for Everyone in their Rise to the Top

Team NC

The organization has been competing at a national level for several years and finally broke through in the summer of 2019, as Nate Eaton’s 14u team won the Triple Crown/USA Nationals championship in Georgia.

Eaton’s team finished in third at nationals the year prior but triumphed by beating the Texas Bombers to cap off a 9-0 run through the tournament.

Eaton’s group, which now competes at the 16u level, is one of over 20 teams in the Team NC program, but its story is one that epitomizes what the fastpitch organization is all about.

Team NC Makes its mark in National Championships
Team NC Makes its mark in National Championships
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Kita’s Stock Rising as 2022 Prospect

Brinkley Kita

Kyle Parmley – Fastpitch Network

When Brinkley Kita warms up in the pitcher’s circle, her dad Brian enjoys scanning the faces of the people around.

Kita’s fastball, which consistently sits in the mid-60s mile per hour range, quickly gets the attention of on-deck batters and parents in the stands.

“Her velocity is kind of surprising,” Brian said.

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