Tag Archives: NCAA Division I

College Spotlight – University of North Carolina

University of North Carolina

Division: NCAA I

Conference: Atlantic Coast

Nickname: Tar Heels

School Size: 18,350

Mailing Address: Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Team Site: University of North Carolina Softball

Head Coach:

Donna Papa – djp@unc.edu

Program Highlights:

  • Coach Papa has been with the Tar Heels for thirty seasons and holds a record of 1,126-617-5
  • The 2015 Tar Heels finished the season ranked 2nd in the ACC and 36th in the nation
  • Coach Papa has led Carolina to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 15 years and five regular-season ACC titles
  • Under Coach Papa the Tar Heels have posted a winning record in 27 of her 30 seasons, with 13 40-win seasons and one 50-win season in 2008
  • The Tar Heels excel on and off the field, multiple players earning Academic All-American and All-District honors

Schedule Highlights:

The Tar Heels head into the 2016 post season with a 30-22 overall record

North Carolina’s full 2016 schedule can be found here.

For more information on Donna J. Papa Softball Camps click here.

To fill out a recruiting questionnaire, click here.

College Spotlight – California State University, Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach

Division: NCAA I

Conference: Big West

Nickname: 49ers

School Size: 37,430

Mailing Address: 1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840

Team Site: Long Beach State Softball

Head Coach:

Kim Sowder – kim.sowder@csulb.edu

Program Highlights:

  • In her nine seasons leading the 49ers, Coach Sowder has never finished the season with a losing record
  • Coach Sowder has a 300-195 (.606) overall record, including a 129-60 (.623) record in Big West Conference games
  • The 49ers have made five trips to the NCAA Tournament and been crowned Big West Conference champions three times
  • In three of the last five seasons, the 49ers have won more than 35 games, posting a 39-19 overall record, winning the Big West and advancing to NCAA Regionals for the 22nd time in program history in 2014
  • The 49ers have had 69 players received all-conference over the last nine years under Sowder

Schedule Highlights:

The 49ers head into the 2016 post season with a 28-18 overall record

The 49ers full 2016 schedule can be found here.

For more information on 49ers Kids Camp click here, June Showcase Camp click here, July Showcase Camp click here, and August Showcase Camp click here.

To fill out a recruiting questionnaire, click here.

Softball Factory Alumnae Makes Verbal Commitment

Kimberly Wert, ’17

When Kimberly Wert was 10 years old she decided that she wanted to play collegiate softball. Since then she’s worked hard to achieve her dreams. Last year after a summer of travels and college visits she made the decision and verbally committed to play at Hofstra University in New York.

Wert, who primarily plays catcher, had been heavily recruited by colleges and universities for two years prior to making her decision to attend the Colonial Athletic Association Division I school.

Softball Factory Senior Director Lea Ann Jarvis remembers seeing Kimberly at her first College PREP event in Bel Air, MD.

“She had a great skill set as a catcher, great pop time,” said Jarvis. “She really understood how to play the position.”

Jarvis went on to say that as strong as she is defensively Kimberly can also produce offensively, noting that Wert is a solid gap-to-gap hitter.

Kimberly joined the Factory family in 2013 and since then has been invited to compete in Under Armour Softball Factory National Team events around the country.

“She [Kimberly] has a great attitude about the game and a great work ethic to go along with it.” Jarvis said, “I felt like she gave back to the game what she was getting out of it and to me that’s one of the most important qualities in a player. I look forward to seeing her success at the next level.”

College Spotlight – University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina

Division: NCAA I

Conference: Southeastern

Nickname: Gamecocks

School Size: 32,027

Mailing Address: Columbia, SC 29208

Team Site: University of South Carolina Softball

Head Coach:

Beverly Smith – bevsmith@sc.edu

Program Highlights:

  • In her first five years with the Gamecocks, Coach Smith has a 157-131 record and has led the team to three NCAA Tournament apperances
  • Coach Smith’s squad also produced its first NFCA All-American
  • Under Coach Smith, 18 team program marks have either been broken or re-broken by one of her squads
  • The Gamecocks advanced to post-season play for the first time in 2013 under Coach Smith’s leadership
  • The Gamecocks are currently ranked 27th in the nation with three regular season games left

Schedule Highlights:

The Gamecocks hold a record of  34-18 in the 2016 season

South Carolia will finish the 2016 regular season on the road taking on SEC opponent Missouri

The Gamecocks full 2016 schedule can be found here.

For more information on Bev Smith Softball Camps, click here.

To fill out a recruiting questionnaire, click here.

College Spotlight – James Madison University


James Madison University

Division: NCAA I

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

Nickname: Dukes

School Size: 21,230

Mailing Address: 800 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Team Site: James Madison University Softball

Head Coach:

Mickey Dean – dean3ms@jmu.edu

Program Highlights:

  • Coach Dean is in his fourth season leading the Dukes
  • The Dukes have made an appearance in the NCAA postseason the past three seasons
  • Coach Dean carried a 135-42 record into the 2016 season
  • Under Coach Dean’s leadership, the Dukes have won 52 and lost just 6 conference games
  • In the 2015 season, Coach Dean led the Dukes to their best record in program history, with a 48-10 overall record
  • The 2015 season saw the Dukes break 22 single-season team records, including most wins (48), fewest losses (10), team batting average (.347), home runs (55), runs scored (345), opposing batting average (.174), strikeouts per seven innings (7.86), fewest hits allowed (233), fewest runs allowed (109), strikeouts (417) and fielding percentage (.971).

Schedule Highlights:

The Dukes are 40-3 in the 2016 season and are on a 10 game winning streak

James Madison will finish the 2016 regular season taking on CAA opponents Elon and Hofstra

The Dukes full 2016 schedule can be found here.

For more information on Mickey Dean Softball Camps, click here.

To fill out a recruiting questionnaire, click here.

Audrey Lyle Commits to Division I Belmont University

Audrey Lyle, ’18

On April 11th, after considering multiple offers, Audrey Lyle verbally committed to continuing her education and softball career at Division I Belmont University. Five days later she hit her first high school career home run for the Westlake Demons as a sophomore on the varsity team.

Ryan Schweikert has been Audrey’s Softball Factory Player Development Coordinator since 2013 and has seen her transform into a competitive athlete.

“Audrey progressed [over the past few years] extremely fast for a girl her age. She has a great work ethic and a great support system [in her family] that has helped turn her into a Division I player,” said Schweikert.

Lyle began her journey with Softball Factory in 2013, attending a national tryout in her home state of Ohio. Since then she has attended multiple high level, invite-only events including Select Training at Vero Beach, 2014 Softball Factory Christmas Camp and Tournament, and the 2016 All-American Pre-Season Tournament.

Evaluations at these events are done by Softball Factory on-field directors and coaches. Audrey’s evaluations consistently praised her advanced techniques, improvement between events, and the hard work she put in to get there.

“I am so thankful for all of the support and instruction I have received from the Softball Factory and its coaches over the past few years,” said Audrey by email. “They taught me how to become a better softball player and person.”

Audrey’s parents, Rick and Laura Lyle, are thrilled to see their daughter find her future home at Belmont.

“The campus and its coaches and players were everything she could have imagined when looking for a place to call home,” said her mother Laura, “She is going to keep working hard so that she gets to Belmont ready to contribute, both on the field and off.”

College Spotlight – University of Florida

University of Florida

Division: NCAA I

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Nickname: Gators

School Size: 49,800

Mailing Address: PO Box 14485 Gainesville, FL, 32604

Team Site: University of Florida Softball

Head Coach:

Tim Walton- timw@gators.uaa.ufl.edu

Program Highlights:

    • Under Coach Walton the Gators have won three SEC Tournament Championships, made 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, seven College World Series appearances, and won two consecutive national championships
    • Coach Walton has coached 26 All-American selections and one Collegiate Player of the Year in his 10 seasons leading the Gators
    • There are currently three Softball Factory alumni playing for the Gators
    • The Orange and Blue were ranked #1 in USA Today’s 2016 Top 25 Pre-Season Poll

Schedule Highlights:

The Gators opened their 2016 season sweeping opponents at the USF Wilson-Demarini Tournament and the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic

Florida will compete in two more tournaments, the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (Feb 25-27) and the Aquafina Invitational (March 3-6) before starting the regular season March 9th against South Dakota

For the Gators full 2016 schedule, click here.

To fill out a recruiting questionnaire, click here.

Two Softball Factory Alumnus Named as National Freshman of the Year Finalists

Two Softball Factory alumnus have been named to the Top 25 finalists for the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award which will be presented at the beginning of this year’s NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Meghan Gregg, a shortstop at the University of Tennessee, participated in an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Douglasville, GA in 2013 and was recently named to the 2015 USA Junior National Team.

Gregg is having an outstanding season for the No. 12 ranked Volunteers, batting .338 with nine home runs and 38 RBI. She also leads the team in doubles with nine and total bases with 85.

Erika Piancastelli, a catcher for McNeese State, participated in an Under Armour Softball
Factory National Tryout in San Marcos, CA in 2012.

Piancastelli paces the Cowgirls in all offensive categories, batting .421 with 17 home runs, 48 RBI and 32 runs scored. She’s homered in back-to-back games, and four of the team’s last five,
dating back to April 4 at Nicholls State.

To read more about the finalists and the process to determine who is named Freshman of the Year, visit the National Fastpitch Coaches Association page here.

Softball Factory Alumnus Emilee Kirk To Play at Mount Saint Mary’s University


Softball Factory standout Emilee Kirk has committed to attend and play softball at Mount Saint Mary’s University in
Emmitsburg, MD, a Division I school out of the Northeast

Kirk, a senior at Great Valley High School in Paoli, PA, has been involved in numerous Softball Factory events, starting with a
National Tryout in Saint Davids, PA in 2011.

Her skill set took her to the 2011 Softball Factory Christmas Camp & Tournament in addition to Fall Classic and Fall
Showcase 18U events, before being selected in 2014 and 2015 to the Softball Factory
All-America Pre-Season Tournament.

“Emilee attended numerous Softball Factory events over the last four years and each was a great learning experience and will always be a cherished memory,” says Emilee’s father, Paul Kirk.

We are proud of Emilee’s accomplishment and hope she will continue to carry the “Factory Way” spirit with her throughout her college career.