Author Archives: Matt Lund

Softball Factory Alumni Notebook (Week of 3/26/18)

Each week in the Alumni Notebook, we highlight Softball Factory alums who are performing well at all levels of college softball.

Division I

Meghan Beaubien

Meghan Beaubien – The University of Michigan freshman snagged Pitcher and Co-Freshman of the Week honors for the second consecutive time after she went 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA last week, allowing just two hits with 25 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings of work. In the series opener against Purdue, she tossed her second no-hitter of the season. For the season Beaubien is 20-2 with an 0.78 ERA and 151 strikeouts for the Wolverines, who are 28-7 on the season. Meghan attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Waterford Township, MI in 2016.

Division II

Jackie Najera – (Chaminade University – Pacwest Conference) – Najera collected 19 hits during the week of March 19th as the Silverswords won four games, including a 9-2 victory over No. 13 Sonoma State. For the season to date, Najera leads the team in hitting with a .360 average to go along with 18 doubles, one home run and 23 RBI. The freshman infielder from Santa Ana, CA, attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Orange, CA in 2015.

Haley Drakoulakos – (Assumption University) Drakoulakos, a freshman second baseman for the Greyhounds, was named to the Hitting Honor Roll in the Northeast10 Conference as the team went 3-0 last weekend and Haley paced the offense, collecting three doubles, three RBI and three runs scored. Assumption is currently 8-5 overall. Haley attended a UA SF National Tryout in Medfield, MA back in 2013.

Kylie Stonebraker – (University of New Haven) – Stonebraker was an Honorable Mention for her pitching performance last week in the Northeast10, pitching 12 2/3 innings, allowing five hits overall for the week. She recorded a five-inning shutout against Saint Rose, tying a career-high in strikeouts with 10. Her next start, she pitched 7 2/3 with seven strikeouts. Kylie attended the 2015 UA Softball Factory Eastern Classic.

Payton Lippert – (Shorter University) – Lippert, a junior pitcher, was named Pitcher of the Week in the Gulf South Conference, winning both of her starts against No. 22 Alabama Huntsville last week, allowing only two earned runs on 11 hits with seven strikeouts. For the season, Payton is 8-6 with a 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances (11 starts). She attended a UA SF National Tryout in Jackson, MS in 2014.

Division III

Theresa Gonzales

Theresa Gonzales – Gonzales, a junior IF at UT-Tyler, was named Hitter of the Week in the American Southwest Conference, going 9-for-15 (.600) during the week with six doubles, a home run, 11 RBI and six runs scored. Gonzales attended a UA SF National Tryout in Georgetown, TX in 2013 and was a participant in the 2014 Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament.

Tori Wilkins – Wilkins is a junior OF at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD and earned Player of the Week honors in the Centennial Conference, hitting .533 for the week with a home run, eight RBI and a stolen base as the Green Terror got off to a 3-1 start in conference play. Tori, a graduate of Land O’ Lakes HS in Lutz, FL, attended the 2014 UA Softball Factory Summer Showcase.

Kaitlyn Willis – Willis, a senior pitcher at Ursinus, also in the Centennial Conference, took home Pitcher of the Week honors, allowing just one earned run in 20.0 IP, striking out 22 and walking just six. The Perryville, MD native leads the conference in strikeouts with 63, while ranking second in ERA (1.11). She attended one of the first UA SF National Tryouts, in Baltimore, MD, back in 2011.

Softball Factory Alumni Notebook (Week of 3/19/18)

Each week in the Alumni Notebook, we highlight Softball Factory alums who are performing well at all levels of college softball.

Division I

Jordan Cargile

Dasha Hill – Hill, a junior at Hampton University, was named MEAC Player of the Week (for the week ending March 4) and during a six-game stretch, went 12-for-22 with seven runs scored. She had a pair of three-hit games against the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore during that stretch and currently leads the nation in stolen bases with 30. Her .487 average is also good for ninth in the country in Division I softball. The Williamsburg, VA native attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Glen Allen, VA back in 2014.

Jordan Cargile – Cargile, a Baltimore, MD native and senior RHP at the University of Delaware currently has a 3.61 ERA. Cargile attended one of the first Softball Factory events ever held when she attended a Softball Factory Accelerated Hitting Weekend in December of 2011. She later played in the Softball Factory College World Series Select Training and the Ronald McDonald Tournament in 2012. In 2014, Jordan was a Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American.

Division II

Amanda Clark

Amber Johns – Johns is a freshman pitcher at Division II North Georgia – as of March 25th, was 2nd in Division II rankings in ERA with a 0.38 ERA for the Nighthawks. She’s 12-0 in the circle in 13 starts (18 appearances) with 83 strikeouts and only four earned runs allowed in 73 2/3 IP. Amber participated in the 2014 Under Armour Fall Classic Showcase.

Division III

Amanda Clark – Clark is currently second in all of Division III in batting average, hitting .842 for Gwynedd Mercy University. The sophomore C/IF from Philadelphia, PA is also second in slugging percentage (1.368) and was named the CSAC Player of the Week in early March after posting three or more hits in four games, including a 4-for-4 performance with four RBI’s in the team’s first game of the year against Medaille. Amanda attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Sellersville, PA and Softball Factory’s Christmas Camp & Tournament in 2014.

Gaby Hay – Hay is a freshman at Division III College of New Rochelle where she is a dual-threat with the bat and on the mound. She currently leads the team in hitting with a .400 average, five doubles, four homers and 10 RBI. On the mound, she’s posted a 4.13 ERA in six starts with 36 strikeouts in 39 IP. Hay is a decorated Softball Factory athlete, attending an Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP event and Softball Factory’s Christmas Camp & Tournament in 2015. As a junior and senior, she was named a Pre-Season All-American in 2016 & 2017.

Standout Players From 2018 UA Softball Factory All-America Rookie Pre-Season and All-America Pre-Season Tournaments

For the first time in Softball Factory history, the All-America Pre-Season Tournament included younger athletes at the UA Softball Factory All-America Rookie Pre-Season Tournament at Scrap Yard Sports in Conroe, TX.

The event for the second straight year featured special guest, three-time All-American, Jennie Finch, with wide-ranging talent from across the country. Check out some of the highlighted players from each event, featuring notes from our coaching staff.

UA Softball Factory All-America Rookie Pre-Season Tournament

Reagan Marchant (1B, 2022) – Reagan is a vocal leader on the field, and is very athletic. Good position awareness at first, very coachable. Offensively, she makes adjustments at the plate, squares up the ball well and has good pop. Great team player. Was named Best Defensive Player of the event.

Kayla Garber (SS, 2022) – Takes command at short, strong arm, and showed good position awareness at multiple positions. Switch hitter with power from both sides, making hard, consistent contact. Took home the first ever Rookie MVP award at the event.

Lilly Hood (2B/OF, 2022) – Lilly is a power hitter, great plate awareness and a very hard out to get. Best of all, she’s coachable with a great work ethic. Was named Best Offensive Player at the event.

Sophia Bianco (SS, 2022) – Sophia moves well at short, taking great angles to the ball. Bianco is a line drive hitter with pop on her bat. Overall, a strong athlete with a ton of potential. She was one of the Most Improved players at the event.

Emma McLean (OF/IF, 2022) – Emma showed good bat control, takes good angles in the outfield when tracking balls, and not afraid to go after it and dive for them either. Her arm plays well from the field. She was one of the Most Improved players at the event.

UA Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament

Taryn Bennett (C/2B, 2020) – Bennett calls her own game; excellent framer of pitches, strong arm with quick release. Offensively, she has pop in her bat, hits to all fields, squares up the ball. Named Top Offensive Player of the Tournament. 

Hayley Parrott (SS/RHP, 2019) – Parrott is an absolute spark plug on the field; plays her position well. What a gamer. Barrels up the ball well, solid line drive hitter. Confident and coachable, she has all the tools to play at the collegiate level. Parrott was named the All-America Pre-Season MVP.

Madison Shea (OF, 2020) – Shea demonstrated her ability to be a vocal leader on the field. In the outfield, she takes great angels to the ball, and offensively, has gap to gap power. Shea was named Top Defensive Player of the Tournament.

Jessica Persechino (SS/RHP, 2019) -Persechino was very effective on the mound at Pre-Season. She gets key outs, and is also no easy out at the plate with the bat. She was the Most Improved Player of the Tournament. 

Softball Factory Player Lauryn Brooks Reinvents Game, Leading To Commitment To Hampton University

Lauryn Brooks

Softball Factory athlete Lauryn Brooks, a stand-out 2018 CF/2B at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, has committed to Hampton University through hard work and reinvention (more on that shortly).

Brooks, who became interested in the sport of softball at an early age, watching major leaguers hit homers and steal bases on TV, wanted to do the same kinds of things. Full of energy growing up, she played any sport involving a ball, including bowling and basketball.

At eight, she played tee-ball and baseball for the Bowie Boys & Girls Club before her parents put her into softball to learn the sport. Since then, she’s played on travel teams in Maryland and Virginia, most recently with Virginia Glory in competitive
tournaments across the country as a middle infielder and center fielder.

This past summer, Brooks joined the Virginia Legends, coached by Kevin Shafer and gave back with community service, coaching under-privileged youth with the Washington DC Grays Team under the Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities (RBI) program.

Brooks attended her first Softball Factory, an Under Armour National Tryout in La Plata,
Maryland, just days’ shy of her 13th birthday in the summer of 2013. From there, she spent countless hours in the cages and playing in high-level Factory events such as: Spring Training and Christmas Camp at Historic Dodgertown and Softball Factory’s Eastern and Fall Classic Showcases.

“Spring training at Vero Beach was my very first major event and I was so excited to be on the grounds where Jackie Robinson once trained,” Lauryn said. “I learned so much from the drills, all-day workouts and staying on campus with other players which gave me a feel for what
playing in college might be like.”

Lauryn’s father, David, could see the natural, yet underdeveloped softball skills that were
bubbling on the surface when she started with the Factory. It was only a matter of time to
polish that talent.

“After trying out for the Softball Factory, Lauryn received encouraging feedback that she had the potential to play softball at the next level,” David said. “From that point on, Lauryn became more attentive and focused every time she took the field. With every Factory event, practice, and game, her development continued. Lauryn has developed a mindset that there is always a way to get better.”

That mindset has helped Brooks become a standout starting catcher for three seasons at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, as her team won three county and regional championships, while also making three appearances in the Maryland state 4A semi-finals.

Brooks put together an outstanding junior season in 2017, one in which the team went 18-2 overall, reeling off 14 straight wins to start the season as she paced the team offensively,
leading her Raiders squad in home runs (8) and tied for the most RBI (32) before she was sidelined with a broken arm. She was voted a First-Team Softball All Met in 2017 by the Washington Post, becoming the first Prince George’s County (MD) public school softball athlete to receive that honor in the last 15 years, and was nominated for the Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year award.

Despite the injury, Brooks spent five months recovering, which she says, “felt like years.” She
remained determined to get back quick, not letting that derail what she had been working hard to achieve.

“I hated watching from the sidelines. I had too much time on my hands so I did everything the physical therapist required and more and my arm healed. My love of the game motivated me to push myself to get back on the field. Every time I’m on the field, I know it is a gift that I can’t take for granted.”

Accolades aside, realizing her chances were becoming harder to stand out at the next level, Brooks took on the task of reinventing herself: She became a lefty slap hitter.

Brooks already had half the equation that college coaches longed for; her lightning-quick speed was a major factor (recorded a 2.95 20-yard time at a recent Softball Factory event), but now needed a new wrinkle to her game.

The idea to become a slap hitter was first recognized by Factory coaches, Katie Rietkovich and CJ Browder, noting Lauryn’s speed and athleticism and then formulated in the cages of Softball Factory headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, working numerous times with Softball Factory’s Senior Director, Lea Ann Jarvis, in one-on-one meetings. Brooks had to completely start over, learning new skills as Jarvis taught and un-taught her skills that she learned at an early age.

It was a frustrating transition, first learning how to swing from the left side, then, getting the footwork of hitting the softball while moving forward down, all while working to grow the
confidence at the plate to repeat and do it successfully. It took her a year and a half to get the
mechanics down, but in the end it paid off and she began getting solid looks from coaches.
From this situation, came a close bond with Coach Jarvis.

“Coach Jarvis has been my hitting coach for almost four years now. She is like family,” Lauryn said. “She is direct with me about where I need to improve and is very encouraging at the same time. She has supported me through the challenges of switching to the left side to slap hit. I strongly believe that her instruction and the Softball Training have contributed to
improvements in my skill level and are one of the main reasons why I am going to college to play softball at the Division I level.”

“When Lauryn decided to make the change from righty to lefty, it was the best discussion that she made to become a Division I athlete,” Jarvis said. “She is one of the hardest workers that I work with at Player Development events and hitting lessons.”

Lauryn’s Player Development Coordinator, Julia Rice first met the family in 2014 and remembers talking to them about the switch to the left side because of her speed.

“Lauryn has grown so much since I started working with her,” Rice said. “It is amazing that in a few short years, she is a triple-threat slapper at the plate. She can bunt, soft slap, power slap, and hit for power. She has worked incredibly hard with Coach Jarvis and on her own being the best slapper she can be.”

From the beginning, Factory staff were right there for Lauryn, ready to provide encouragement or advice, something David appreciated greatly.

“Throughout our years with the Factory, Coach Rice and Coach Jarvis have maintained open lines of communications to discuss progress, recruiting, and just about any topic Lauryn wanted to discuss.”

Through her work on the field and in the classroom, the Brooks family navigated the sometimes-tricky college recruiting process, leading her to find Hampton University for a variety of reasons.

For starters, Lauryn’s mom, Kim is a Hampton alum. Lauryn said she chose the school because of the way it felt like home as soon as she stepped foot on campus. She also immediately connected with Hampton head coach Angela Nicholson’s vision.

“I liked how she emphasized personal responsibility for staying in shape and working out,” Lauryn said. “I also liked her emphasis on academics. I love learning, being a leader, doing community service, and performing well in school. I feel like I will be able to continue a high-level of academic performance while also playing softball with Coach Nicholson.”

“I am over the moon excited that she has committed to Hampton,” Rice said. “They have everything that she is looking for in a school. It really shows that if someone works hard enough in the classroom and on the ball field, good things happen.”

Brooks could have easily packed it in after her injury and learning to reinvent her game, but didn’t, something Jarvis was proud of.

“When she missed all of the 2017 summer with her injury, she never got down,” Jarvis said. “She knew if she continued to have a great work ethic, great attitude and be a student of the game, she would be just fine. I’m so proud of Lauryn that she will be continuing her softball career at Hampton University.” 

The life-long memories made on the fields across the country with the Factory are priceless, according to Lauryn. The All-America Pre-Season Tournament earlier this month was the most fun she’s ever had as she still keeps in contact with several players she met there, and along the way at other Factory events. Along with the care shown by the coaches and other staff, Lauryn says all of these memories will stay with her, well past when she’s done playing softball.

“They (Factory) are people that care about you because they want to see you succeed,” Lauryn said. “The coaches find a way to relate to players because they were in our shoes. Factory coaches/staff  want to give back to the game, they want to give kids the advantage of learning softball the right way.”

David agrees that by seeing Lauryn go through it, that it was worth the hard work, determination and sacrifice.

“I would highly recommend the Softball Factory. It’s a professionally run organization with highly qualified, energetic, positive staff. The staff relates well with the players and share their experiences as student athletes to help players understand what it takes to be successful in high school and college.”

“I’d tell them that if softball is really the sport they want to continue playing, then the Softball Factory is a great organization to help increase their skill level,” Lauryn said. “The training may be hard, but it is worth it. I don’t want to be cliché and say that softball and the factory will teach life lessons that you will carry for the rest of your life, but it’s true. Everything you will be taught at the Factory, you will need to get through college regardless if you are play softball or not.” 

Eight Softball Factory Alums Named 2017 Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year

Gatorade has announced the Softball Players of the Year for 2016-17, based on the state each player lives in and this year, eight Softball Factory alums were part of the honor.

Avery Wheatley

Delaware – Avery Wheatley: Avery is a shortstop from Delmar, Delaware and just wrapped up her senior season at Delmar High School. She helped lead the Wildcats to the state championship game at the time she was selected. Wheatley hit .662 with 19 RBI and 40 runs scored and was a First Team All-State selection. Softball Factory first saw Wheatley at a College PREP event in Savannah, GA in November 2014 and a month later, attended Softball Factory’s Christmas Camp & Tournament. In 2015, she participated in the Under Armour Softball Factory Fall Classic. Wheatley has committed to play at the next level with Appalachian State University.

Jocelyn Alo

Hawaii – Jocelyn Alo: Alo has now been named Hawaii’s Gatorade State Player of the Year in back-to-back years. She is a senior catcher at Campbell High School in Ewa Beach, HI and helped lead the Lady Sabers to a Division I state title this season, hitting .571 with 12 home runs and 27 RBI. Defensively, she threw out nearly 40% of baserunners attempting to steal. Alo attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Hemet, CA in November, 2016. She has committed to play at the next level with the University of Oklahoma.

Maryland – Kaitlin Beasley-Polko: The Leonardtown, MD native is a senior right-handed pitcher at Leonardtown High School and had an incredible season for the record books. Beasley-Polko dominated in her senior season, going 21-2 with an 0.36 ERA, striking out 331 in 157 innings pitched. Her dominance lasted all season as she threw six no-hitters, including one perfect game, and 15 shutouts. Kaitlin attended the 2016 Under Armour Softball Factory Eastern Classic as an 18U Participant and has committed to Coastal Carolina.

Meghan Beaubien

Michigan – Meghan Beaubien: Beaubien wrapped up her senior season at St. Mary Catholic Central High School where she helped the Kestrels to an 18-3 record at the time of her selection. Meghan was 15-1 in the circle with an ERA of 0.43 and 244 strikeouts in 115 innings pitched through 21 games. She attended a November 2016 National Tryout in Waterford Township (Detroit), MI. She will be playing at the next level with the University of Michigan.

Lauren Burke

Oregon – Lauren Burke: Lauren is a senior shortstop at Marist Catholic High School. Burke is the returning Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year in Oregon and helped the Spartans to a 25-3 record at the time of her selection. Putting together a solid senior season, Burke hit .629 with 14 doubles, 10 home runs, four triples, 62 runs scored and 42 RBI through 28 games. She attended a National Tryout in Hemet, California in 2016 and will play at the next level with the University of Oregon.

South Carolina – Bailey Betenbaugh: Bailey is the only underclass selection of the eight, a huge feat for the sophomore right-handed pitcher and infielder from Union County High School in Union, South Carolina, helping to lead the Yellow Jackets (26-6) to the Class 4A state championship this past season. On the mound, Bailey was 16-4 with a 1.38 ERA and hit .504 with nine homers this season. Softball Factory saw the talented Betenbaugh at an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Columbia, South Carolina back in 2015.

Casey Dixon with her Easton Glove at 2017 Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament

Texas – Casey Dixon: The senior right-handed pitcher from Willis High School in Willis, TX helped lead the Wildkats to a 39-7 record at the time of her selection with an incredible 34-7 mark in the circle with a 1.07 earned run average and an astounding 415 strikeouts in 236 innings this season. The University of Louisiana-Lafayette commit was even better during their playoff run, tossing two complete games on a single day in each of Willis’ final three rounds of the Class 5A Region 3 Tournament, as her wins were the deciders in each series.

Dixon attended the 2017 Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament in January and shined, winning an Easton Gloveman Award for her performance.

Virginia – Kathryn Sandercock: Kathryn is a junior right-handed pitcher from Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, VA. She helped lead the Knights to a perfect 27-0, winning both the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I state titles this past season. Sandercock was 26-0 with a 0.09 ERA – yes, an 0.09 ERA – and 330 strikeouts in 151 innings pitched, allowing just 35 hits and 19 walks. Softball Factory staff saw the talented Sandercock at the 2016 Under Armour Softball Factory Eastern Classic where soon after, she was selected as a standout to train for the 2017 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team in Oklahoma City, OK this summer. Sandercock has committed to play at James Madison University.

Softball Factory Alumni On Team Rosters Entering The 2017 NCAA Division I Championship

The field for the 2017 NCAA Division I Championship was set earlier this week and games are underway as we’re sure to see some exciting match-ups and storyline intrigue over the coming weeks as the University of Oklahoma looks to defend their 2016 Championship.

The pairings were announced and the Southeastern Conference set a new record as all 13 teams were selected to the tournament, the most in conference history. According to the NCAA website, the Pac-12 had eight teams selected to the tourney and three schools will make their first ever appearance: East Tennessee State University, University of Montana and Saint Francis University (PA).

For the third straight year, the University of Florida holds the overall No. 1 seed in the Championship Tournament and will host Florida A&M in their first matchup.

This year, 45 of the 64 teams entered into the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship tournament have at least one Softball Factory alumnae on a roster. In total, 78 players who have participated in at least one Softball Factory event are on the rosters of teams looking for the opportunity to be called champion. East Tennessee State and Fairfield lead the way, with both teams having four alums on their rosters.

Below is a list of our alums who are on rosters of teams selected for this year’s tournament.

University of Florida:  Kelly Barnhill, Amanda Lorenz, Nicole DeWitt

Florida A&M: Tahlia Snider, Jamesia Stoudemire

University of Arizona: Taylor McQuillin, Alyssa Palomino, Michelle Floyd

University of Oregon: Mia Camuso, Cherish Burks

Florida State: Elizabeth Mason

UCLA: Rachel Garcia, Bubba Nickles

University of Washington: Morganne Flores

Auburn University: Alexa Nemeth

University of Tennessee: Kassidy Gallo, Meghan Gregg

Texas A&M: Keeli Milligan

University of Oklahoma: Falepolima Aviu, Lea Wodach

University of Utah: Kelly Martinez, Maddie Roth

OLE MISS: Bryanna Castro

Baylor: Gia Rodoni

University of Minnesota: Allie Arneson, Carlie Brandt

University of Michigan: Katie Alexander

James Madison University: Cambry Arnold

Marshall: Elizabeth Deshields

BYU: Briielle Breland, Libby Sugg

Jacksonville State: Kirsten Titus, Ryann Luna

Louisiana-Lafayette: Alyssa Denham

Tulas: Brittany Walker

University of South Carolina-Upstate: Kristen Wright, Karla Beasley

Missouri: Lexi Rampetsreiter, Taylor Kirby

Oklahoma State: Logan Simunek

University of Illinois: Danielle Brochu, Ruby Rivera

DePaul: Morgan Greenwood

Mississippi State: Maddie Dorsett

Fresno State: Kamalani Dung

Montana: Sara Stephenson

East Tennessee State University: Nikki Grupp, Rebecca Wahrmund, Kelly Schmidt, Taylor Wright

Notre Dame: Alexis Bazos

Arkansas: Keely Edwards, Aly Manzo

Kent State: Jade WilliamsVanessa Scoarste

Oregon State: Shelby Weeks, Riley Gregoire, Fallon Molnar

South Carolina: Lex Hull

University of Georgia: Madison McPherson

McNeese State: Erika Piancastelli, Brenique WrightAlexandria Saldivar

Fairfield: Danielle Tringali, Angelina McGuire, Hannah Futo, Courtney Hankins

University of North Carolina: Leah Murray

San Jose State: Colette Riggs

Lehigh: Jennifer Stoll

Longwood:  Jessica Smith, Leanna Toler, Kasey Carr

Texas State: Randi Rupp, Sara Rupp

Texas Southern: Jazmyn Foster, Heaven Benavidez, Tyra Williams

 

Softball Factory Standouts Announced To Training Team For 2017 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team

Looking to repeat their Gold Medal-winning performance at the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Women’s World Championship (JWWC), USA Softball has announced the selection of 24 athletes to their training team. Softball Factory is proud to announce that four alums are part of the initial roster of players who will attend training camp this June in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The JWNT will compete in the World Cup of Softball XII, held in Oklahoma City, Okla, July 4-9, 2017 and from there, the roster will be trimmed down to 17 players before Team USA looks to defend their Gold Medal in the WBSC JWWC, July 24-30 in Clearwater, Fla. Team USA claimed the last Gold Medal in 2015 at the WBSC JWWC, defeating Japan by a score of 8-1.

It was a record-breaking performance for the team, going undefeated en route to the Gold. According to USASoftball.com, Team USA led the tournament in batting average (.425 team batting average) and runs scored (119) while limiting opponents to just six runs in a 10-0 performance.

Listed below are the Softball Factory standouts who have been selected to continue training in hopes of locking in a spot on the 2017 team.

Natalie Lugo (photo courtesy of USA Softball)

Natalie Lugo – RHP – Covina, CA (South Hills HS)

Lugo dominated her junior season at South Hills High School in Covina, Calif., in 2016, going a perfect 10-0 in league play and not allowing a single earned run. Overall, the right-hander went 18-6 in the circle with a minuscule 0.62 ERA and 279 strikeouts in 159 innings.

Natalie is a signee at the University of Florida. Softball Factory coaches and scouts saw her at an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Hemet, Calif. last November.

Madilyn “Bubba” Nickles (photo courtesy of USA Softball)

Maddy Nickles – RHP/SS – Atwater, CA (Merced HS)

This is the second selection for Nickles as she was part of the 2015 Junior Women’s World Team that won a Gold Medal. Nickles has plenty of experience under her belt from her time with the team as she played in 14 games between the World Cup of Softball X and World Championship, hitting a homer, driving in 14 runs and walking six times.

Nickles enters her freshman season in 2017 at UCLA after a decorated high school career as a four-year starter and pitcher at Merced High School in Merced, Calif. Collectively, Nickles won 67 games, posting an ERA of 1.05 with a staggering 11 no-hitters and 809 strikeouts.

In November 2013, Nickles attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Fresno, Calif.

Kathryn Sandercock (photo courtesy of USA Softball)

Kathryn Sandercock – RHP/1B – McLean, VA (O’Connell HS)

Sandercock is a junior at O’Connell High School in McLean, Va and is the only player of the 24 selected from the state of Virginia. Sandercock has given her verbal to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

Kathryn participated in the 2016 Eastern Classic, held last October in Henrico, Va, performing well, posting a top velo of 66 mph with strong command of her pitches and control around the strike zone.

Taylon Snow (photo courtesy of USA Softball)

Taylon Snow – OF – Chino Hills, CA (Chino Hills HS)

Snow, a senior OF at Chino Hills High School, is a three-time All-Inland Valley and Baseline League selection. She is also an Auburn University signee.

In 2016 for the Huskies, Snow hit .438 with nine home runs, 37 RBI and 27 runs in 32 games. Last November, Taylon attended the Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Hemet, Calif.

We congratulate our former and current Softball Factory standouts for their inclusion for the 2017 Junior Women’s National Team!

For more information on the USA Softball JWNT, visit USASoftball.com.

Five Division I Commits Shine At 2017 All-America Pre-Season Tournament

Being named a Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American is truly an honor. Powered by Under Armour, Softball Factory All America Preseason Tournament featured a special guest this year, Olympic Gold Medalist and former Player of the Year Jennie Finch. Softball Factory selected 44 athletes from across the nation to participate in the event. Each athlete showed strong passion and skills for the game.

This year there were five 2017 Pre Season Under Armour All American outstanding player awards listed below:

Casey Dixon

Casey Dixon

RHP Casey Dixon is approaching her final season at Willis High School in Willis, TX. Last season Dixon went 25-2 with a 1.13 ERA striking out 311 batters. She also batted .364 with 38 RBI and was named MVP of her district. The senior has committed to University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

At the tournament, Casey was a recipient of the Easton Gloveman Award and received a brand new Easton glove. She described the experience as unforgettable.

“I had so much fun! It was great to meet so many girls from different states and to play alongside them,” Dixon said. “I was able to learn a couple of new and different things while playing for coaches I had never played for before. Having Jenny Finch there to watch and instruct me was an honor!”

The Dixon family is just as excited to see her play at Louisiana-Lafayette.

“We are so excited and blessed. Most of our family is from Louisiana, so it feels like home. The people in Lafayette are just wonderful and so welcoming. It will be amazing to watch Casey in a Ragin’ Cajun uniform with the best softball fans in the country. I know she has worked really hard to get the opportunity to play Division 1 ball, so it is a wonderful feeling to see that pay off for her.”

Janae Jefferson

Janae Jefferson

OF Janae Jefferson is entering her senior season at Chester W. Nimitz Senior High School in Harris County, TX. Her junior season she finished with a .687 batting average with 21 doubles, 15 triples, 31 RBI and swiping 18 bases. The Texas native will be playing college ball at the University of Texas.

“I thought the event was great,” Jefferson said. “The event was very professionally organized. I got to meet some nice people and play the sport that I love. I really enjoyed it. Softball means the world to me. I fell in love with the game at six years old, I love the competition and team work aspect of the game.”

Ecstatic to play at the University of Texas, her parents share the emotion of the feeling.

“It’s always been her dream to play Division 1 softball. We are so proud and excited for her. The fact that she gets to live out her dream is just awesome. The true icing on the cake is that she gets to play for Coach Clark at The University of Texas. When you think of college and universities in this state, the one that immediately comes to mind is UT. They have a tremendous tradition.”

At the tournament, Janae was also a recipient of the Easton Gloveman Award and received a brand new Easton glove.

Audrey Lyle

Audrey Lyle

1B/C Audrey Lyle is entering her junior season at Westlake High School in Westlake, OH. In her high school career, Audrey is averaging .437 with 45 hits and six doubles. She has already committed to Belmont University and has worked hard at the game since four years old.

“Audrey started softball when she was four years old. She went from tee ball, to coach pitch, to local travel, and eventually to national travel teams. Softball has taught Audrey so much about life and how to work with others. She has been challenged and blessed so much by the game. She has learned to set and achieve goals for herself and her teammates through hard work and dedication.”

Her favorite moment at the tournament, according to her mom, Laura, was the coaches, especially Jennie Finch and Raven Chavanne.

“Audrey was so honored to be chosen as a Pre-Season All-American, and she was so blessed to be coached by Jennie Finch and Raven Chavanne, along with all of the amazing Softball Factory coaches.”

At the tournament, Audrey was also a recipient of the Easton Gloveman Award and received a brand new Easton glove.

Her family continued “She loves being able to play with amazing, talented girls from all over the country at Softball Factory events! She has learned so much about life and softball from the Softball Factory!”

Playing at Belmont University Audrey can’t come any sooner for Audrey.

“Playing at Belmont after graduation will be a dream come true for her. She feels like it is the perfect place that God prepared for her. Her future coaches and teammates are amazing, and she can’t wait to get there!”

Alexandria Lewis

Alexandria Lewis

SS/OF Alexandria Lewis is entering her senior season at Columbia High School in West Columbia, TX. In a total of 73 games, Alexandria has a batting average of .444/.519/.580 with 53 stolen bases in her high school career. She is a Galveston College commit who fell in love with the game at six years old determined to play college ball.

“Alexandria has been playing softball since she was six years old and we are so proud that she has decided to attend Galveston College and continue her education. She has made some sacrifices along the way but she has always been very determined to follow her dream and play softball and dreamed of someday playing at the Division I level and maybe even in the Olympics. Our goal was always for her to go to college so she could make a way for herself, not knowing for her it would becoming so much more.”

At the tournament, Alexandria was also a recipient of the Easton Gloveman Award and received a brand new Easton glove, where she described the tournament as an amazing experience.

Madison Watson

Madison Watson

3B Madison Watson is approaching her senior season at Riverside Academy in Reserve, LA. Last season, Madison averaged a slash line of .348/.442/.573 with 31 hits in 31 games. The Louisiana native looks forward playing college ball at Southeastern Louisiana University. It has been a dream of hers to play in college for a long time, while her parents are just as excited.

“Softball means the world to me,” Madison said. “It’s the one place where everything disappears and I get to be me. It has taught me valuable life lessons such as team work and how to overcome failures even through difficult times. I fell in love with softball when I was eight years old. I have to thank this sport for the endless amount of friendships that will last forever.”

“To us as parents, we are always proud of Madison, whether it’s on the softball field or in the classroom. It doesn’t mean so much to us where Madison is playing, DI or at a Junior college. We are most proud that all of her hard work has paid off. She has spent endless hours at the softball field working to get better. She’s a kid who doesn’t believe in defeat, so we are proud that she gets to live out her life long dream of playing college softball.”

At the Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament, she was a recipient of the Easton Offensive Player Award and received an Easton stealth bat.

“I personally feel like that weekend was one of the most influential events I have ever attended,” Madison said. “There were so many great coaches and role models there to remind me why I fell in love with softball in the first place. I learned a lot from the event that I will continue to use as I play this sport. Let’s not forget that it was also a lot of fun and I was able to interact with some great athletes from around the world.”

Softball Great Jennie Finch To Appear At 2017 Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American Event

SF-012 2017 SF Pre-Season AA Invite-Jennie Finch-600x400

Legendary USA Olympic Gold Medalist Softball pitcher and former collegiate All-American Jennie Finch will appear at the 2017 Softball Factory All-America Pre-Season Tournament, held at the Scrapyard Sports Complex in Conroe, TX, January 13-15, 2017.

The nation’s premier event features top, handpicked talent from across the country by Softball Factory’s scouting staff based on a strong performance at a previous Under Armour Softball Factory event or recommendation by a coach. Players have the opportunity to be selected to this prestigious event by attending a future Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout & College PREP event in the area of their choice.

Jennie is a great role model for young female athletes everywhere,” said Lea Ann Jarvis, Senior Director for Softball Factory. “She was that “give me the ball” type of pitcher that all coaches want in a player. Jennie’s career as a athlete is over but she continues to give back to the sport that gave to her in the right ways by teaching, coaching and being a great ambassador for the great game of softball.”

The University of Arizona alumnae who helped lead Team USA to the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, also won a Silver Medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Her #27 jersey was retired by her alma mater, the University of Arizona in 2003 and she finished her collegiate career as the program’s career leader in strikeouts, shutouts, innings pitched and tied for no-hitters (8).

We are very excited to bring our Pre-Season All-Americans one of the best instructors and role models to ever grace the softball field,” said Steve Sclafani, CEO & Founder of Softball Factory. “This is a chance for our top players to celebrate their success with Olympic Gold Medalist and All-American Jennie Finch and also take the next step to improve as players. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of softball!”

Players who are selected for this event will have personal interaction with Finch as she will provide special coaching for pitchers during the event, and meet with players throughout the day on Saturday.

The players will also be honored in a special ceremony as a Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American, powered by Under Armour. Jennie will be the featured speaker and be available to meet and take photos throughout the evening, prior to on-field activities.

The prestigious event is a great way for players to jumpstart their spring season, as they’ll compete against other top peers with the opportunity to be recognized as having “Top Tools” from the Pre-Season Tournament.

For more information on the event, please visit the Pre-Season Page here.

Softball Factory Select Training at Historic Dodgertown Wrap-Up

The 2016 Softball Factory Select Training in Vero Beach at Historic Dodgertown last weekend exceeded expectations in terms of talent, attitude, and work ethic according to coaches and scouts. All of the players were extremely respectful and bought in to everything being taught to them in each session. In total, 47 players attended the event and each one brought something different to the table. 

Thursday Night was check in night for the athletes, and the evening concluded with the welcome meeting around 10 pm. During checking in, staff mingled with parents and talked to the players, enhancing the overall experience for everyone.

Bright and early on Friday morning, the players were out on the field, ready for a full day of training.

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The morning session consisted of all defensive work to introduce the proper mechanics and fundamentals for each position. Each athlete learned a ton in just one session of introduction.

“It’s always great to see how much they can learn in just a couple of hours, because most of them have never been told the correct way to play their position,” said on-field director, CJ Browder.

After lunch, players rotated between speed/agility, base running, tee work, and on-field BP. Speed & Strength Coach, Richard ‘Tippy’ Golphin worked in each of the rotations so that the kids could start to become familiar with how their body works with strength and agility training and also the proper running technique. After dinner, players split into two groups. One group participated in a rotation in the cages while the other group was in the recruiting seminar, spending about an hour at each station. Coach Nicki Trumpler and Coach Nancy Evans ran the recruiting seminar and did a great job, while many questions were asked by parents and the athletes. The hitting cage rotation consisted of two front toss stations with different drills to work on hand path and engaging the lower half, and also tee stations to work on the basic mechanics of contact points.

Saturday morning saw a similar set up for the morning session, progressing on what the players had worked on the day prior. Each coach went more in depth and explained more on what each position needed to do to play the position to their full potential at a high level.

After Lunch, players continued their defensive work so the catchers could work with outfielders on throws to the plate, infielders could get a lot of ground balls and work on what they had learned, pitchers pitched to catchers, outfielders working with infielders on cut situations, and lastly infielders working on bunt coverages all together with catchers and pitchers involved as the coaches prepared the players for live game situations. 

After defense, the ladies had a very productive hitting circuit with speed/agility, tee work, along with two lanes of hitting on the field with base running. The group on field was split into two groups, one on the bases and one hitting. Both groups hit for fifteen minutes each, gaining as many reps as they could get in within that time period. Five coaches were on the field, talking to hitters and base runners and throwing front toss as well. Coach Tippy had his own field and did an amazing job with speed and agility, while Jill Semento worked with the other groups on the tees.

After Dinner wrapped, players went back out to the field and completed all of their measurables. The girls had a great time and the energy was great throughout the whole session. The girls had worked so hard all day and held themselves to high expectations. Coaches talked to the players about all they had learned that day and had a great talk with them before heading back to get some rest for the final day of the event. 

On Sunday morning, all the girls were finally ready to put what they had learned into game play. Two games were played to maximize each player getting playing time as opposed to us just playing one with 47 players. There was a game held on two fields with a lot of energy and great things happening. It was a pleasure to be apart of such a great event with such great athletes. They were respectful and knew was expected of them at all times, while holding themselves accountable just as we would. I believe it all starts from the top and our staff set such a great example from the start to the end.

Easton Fastpitch Award Winners From Dodgertown (with comments from Coach Browder)

Emma Kuhrt (Most Outstanding Camper) Easton Catching Glove Recipient- This kid has everything any coach could ever desire in an athlete as far as attitude, respect, and work ethic. I’m not sure if I’ve seen an athlete like this in a long time. She displayed the love, heart and passion for the game and how bad she wanted to succeed at EVERYTHING she was doing, no matter what it was. Every time she was talking to a coach or a friend you could see how genuine she was. The definition of a self-less, amazing kid that wants the person next to her to succeed just as much as she wants herself. 

Sydney Carter (MVP) Easton Glove Recipient- MVP says it all. Sydney was the best at the camp and continued to display how great her grit, and instincts were for the game. She’s such a great athlete at a young age. Definitely has the potential to go somewhere at the Division I level. 

Posey Pence (Infielder Award) Easton Glove Recipient- Posey showed her skills off throughout the camp with her smooth hands and footwork. She got even better throughout the time she was with us and continued to show her skills as an athlete at everything she did the entire time. Very athletic and great kid! 

Tori Maas (Outfielder Award) Easton Glove Recipient- Again, such a respectful and awesome kid to be around overall and her outfield skills, footwork, and angles to the ball were awesome. She wasn’t the strongest on the offensive side but she tore it up in the grass! She never stopped wanting to learn and get better with everything the coaches were talking about. Tori is an athlete that is never satisfied, and displays so much respect for the game. 

Virginia Gibson (Most Improved): Under Armour Glasses Recipient– The sweetest kid you could ever coach. She got so much better at every aspect of her game and was SO thankful for everything and everyone helping her. She was the quietest one, but every time she opened her mouth it was worth hearing. She never took a rep off and gave it her ALL the whole camp. 

“I can’t say enough how great the staff, kids, and overall the event went,” said Browder. “I truly think each and every person left this event with a smile and great vision for what Softball Factory has to offer and what a great experience it left in all of our minds. One for the books for sure. Once again, I am humbled to be part of such a great company focused on the development of such great kids.”