Tag Archives: Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American

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.

Playing For Something Bigger: SF All-American Gabryella Hay’s Experience As A Leader Pushes Her Team To New Heights

Gabryella Hay

In her junior season at Academy High School in Little River, TX, Gabryella Hay is making the most of her season with the bat and in the circle for the Lady Bees, who are 20-3 and 8-0 in District play at the time of this writing.

The 2016 Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American made a start on the mound earlier this week, helping to lead her team to a win over the second-place Lady Lions, striking out seven in the team’s 6-0 win. She also helped her cause, chipping in with two hits to give Academy a two-game lead over Franklin.

It’s been quite the transformation for Hay, from her first ever Softball Factory event to being a leader on her high school team from the experiences learned during her time with the Factory.

We first saw Gaby in September of 2015 at an Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP event as a LHP/OF. It was during this time that Gaby was unsure of whether to pursue collegiate ball, but once she stepped on the field and realized that she was actually out-performing the other players who showed up that day, it seemed that a spark was ignited.

Gaby in the circle as a 10U.

Gaby in the circle as a 10U.

What was lacking from Gaby’s game prior to Softball Factory was confidence,” said Jessyca Hedrick, Gaby’s mom. After her successful outing at the College PREP event, Hay came into contact with her Player Development Coordinator, Julia Rice, who played collegiately at Purdue University and later at Mercer College. That meeting helped to grow Gaby’s confidence, and so to her game and the drive to be the best she could be.

Once Gaby had a chance to speak with Julia on the phone for the first time, that spark turned into a small flame,” said Jessyca. “After our trip to Dodgertown for the Christmas Camp & Tournament, I can tell you that there is a giant burning flame that will never be put out. Gaby’s passion for the game has returned stronger than I’ve ever seen it. She has always been a hard worker, but now she puts in twice the work because of the sheer desire to be the absolute best.”

In Florida at the All-American event, conditioning became an important piece of the puzzle for Gaby, something she credits Coach Jarvis and the rest of the staff for implementing.

We were dead tired at the end of every day because of how hard they pushed us. That’s when I learned to look for motivation in my other team mates and coaches. Coach LJ (Lea Ann Jarvis) always said, “The only two things you can control are attitude and effort.” No matter how tired I was, I tried to maintain a high level of energy and support which made me not think about myself but rather my team. In my final day of the camp, Coach LJ talked to us about truly loving the game of softball and showing that on the field. Just by hearing her talk about the game, I could tell how much she missed it and made me want to play hard just for her. I was intimidated by Coach LJ at the camp until I created a relationship with her and then had nothing but respect for the way she wanted the game to be played.”

Her skills have grown over the last year and a half and Hay, who showed well not only as one of the top players at January’s premier event in Vero Beach, Florida, but in leadership too according to one of her favorite coaches, Ty Rietkovich.

Gaby really stood out at the All-America games in January,” said Rietkovich, National Showcase Director for Softball Factory. “She was versatile in the field, was very composed in the circle, did a great job at the plate and was very aggressive on the bases. Her leadership abilities came through as she helped us mesh as a unit for these games. Really says a lot about her character and love for the game.”

Once Gaby received the call to go to the Pre-Season All-America Team, she was confident and excited to get back and play games again.

This time it was more laid back because less skill development was needed and more actual games were going on. Again, I built a great bond with my coach for my team who was so funny. Coach Ty made sure we realized how important it was to recognize our team mates great plays and our personal accomplishments as well. He explained that there was too much negative in the world to not speak up anytime something positive happened. As he would say, “there’s a place for everybody,” which reassured us all that we would be going somewhere to just keep working hard and be patient.”

That experience undoubtedly has translated well to her season so far. Gaby has been outstanding in District play for the Lady Bees, allowing just two earned runs in 39 2/3 innings pitched (a minuscule 0.45 ERA) with 44 strikeouts. She’s getting it done with the bat as well. During the team’s pre-season tournaments, Hay slammed three home runs and is hitting .500 in District play with a team-leading seven doubles and 10 RBI (good for second on the team).

The experiences with the Softball Factory have never left Gabreylla, from coaching instruction, all the way down to the little things that add up in the way you bring professionalism to the softball field.

Looking back on my experience with the Softball Factory, I learned and got much more out of it than ever I thought I would,” Gaby remembers. “From day one, we got to work and learned how to do everything the RIGHT way. I still remember the first time we all went to go stretch and warm up. Everyone had thrown their gloves down kind of scattered in a small area. Coach LJ immediately fixed that and had us line them up on the fence and made sure we all set them down gently. Something as small as that made me realize that taking pride in even your equipment was very important.”

Learning new drills and techniques through Softball Factory events has helped to set a new tone for her high school practices.

On my high school softball team, we now line our gloves up on the fence and it makes me feel so good seeing them nice and neat because it shows how we take pride in our things. More importantly though, I became a better softball player mentally. I learned how to push through hard practices without giving up and working together as a team in everything.”

Coming to events for the first time and meeting new people can be a bit overwhelming at times, but the relationships forged during this time are things that Gaby will keep with her the rest of her life.

The girls I met and played with were all so different and fun to learn about. This was the first event I’ve ever been to an event where people came from all over the US. Learning how to play with a whole group of people I had never met before in my life was challenging but so fun! The relationships built in such a short period of time is something I got to take away from the camp and keep for the rest of my life. I keep in touch with many of the players and it feels great knowing I got to be apart of their journey just as they are a part of mine. ”

Thanks to SF, Gaby now has friends all over the country. She has the confidence to know that she can pick up and play with anyone willing,” said Jessyca.

Gaining the experience and knowledge navigating the college recruiting process alongside the Softball Factory are things that both take with them as Gaby begins looking towards the next chapter of her career and life.

I should mention that seeing so many coaches in one setting during our Christmas Camp helped her realize that in looking for the best college program, she needs to have great chemistry with the coach. She saw so many different styles that she realized what works best for her, and what doesn’t. This experience has added that critical component to our search for a college program of choice.”

It’s the hard work on and off the field that Hay is putting forth that will allow her to make the easy transition to the next level. Hay’s ability to slap and hit for power, make her a dual threat at the plate. Couple that with a solid presence on the mound in the way she’s able to attack hitters and you have the makings of a great player. Jessyca credits her daughter for sticking with softball and the Softball Factory for helping to guide Gaby.

I just can’t say thank you enough to everyone on the SF team. They have all helped save her game and even take it to places we had never dreamed were possible.”

Gaby takes one more important piece of information she learned from coaches at events; that your parents are and will always be with you every step of the way. Remember to thank them.

All the coaches stressed how much we needed to thank our parents for their help and support as well. It made me wish I thanked my mom more for all that she’s done for me. The money and countless hours spent to come watch me play, take me to practices, allow me to play in the summer.”

Looking back, Gaby realizes that she’s playing for something bigger than just stepping in between the white lines and throwing or hitting a softball, she was placed here for a reason, to leave things as a better person and player.

All in all, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life in Florida. I have so much more pride and knowledge for softball. I now realize that I’m playing for something bigger than just myself. Glory to God.”

Softball Factory Pre-Season All-America Spotlight

The 2016 Softball Factory Pre-Season All-America Tournament, powered by Under Armour is just one month away and each year, the amount of talent that converges on Florida grows in the search for the best of the best.

These elite players are selected only after having a strong performance in a previous Under Armour Softball Factory Event or after being highly recommended by a coach. The strong talent pool will appeal to any level of coach, as players have gone on to play DI, DII, DIII and NAIA softball.

Some of the elite players that have played in the Pre-Season All-America Tournament have gone on to continue playing collegiately for colleges around the country. Let’s take a look back at some of the standout players and how they are doing for their respective colleges.

Jordan Cargile - Softball Factory

Jordan Cargile – Softball Factory

Jordan Cargile – (’14 – University of Delaware) Cargile, the Baltimore, MD native, wrapped up her freshman season for the Blue Hens, going 2-2 with a 3.57 ERA. She recorded four saves, tying the school’s single-season record and was tied for first in the CAA in ’15.

The Eastern Tech High School alum led her school to a perfect record (25-0) and the state championship in 2014 and was named Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year.

Jordan attended an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Baltimore in November of 2011 as well as training in the College World Series Select Training in June, 2012. Nearly two years later, Cargile was a Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American in 2014 where she threw the ball in the mid to high 50’s and mixed a change-up in the low 40’s.

Taylor Kirby - Softball Factory

Taylor Kirby – Softball Factory

Taylor Kirby – (’16 – University of Missouri) Kirby has acclimated herself as a true power hitter for Macon Meridian High School in Macon, IL, blasting 27 career home runs entering her senior season, which are tops for career and single-season home run records in the school’s history.

Kirby attended two Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP events in 2013 (May – St. Louis, MO and August – Elgin, IL) and selected to the 2014 Softball Factory Pre-Season All-America as a sophomore. Taylor wowed coaches and scouts with her athleticism and her great skill set at the plate and in the outfield.

 

Taylor Fraccastoro

Taylor Fraccastoro

Taylor Fraccastoro – (’14 – Stephen F. Austin University) The native of Orange, TX had a successful freshman season, named an honorable mention for All-Southland Conference teams in 2015. Within conference play, Fraccastoro shined, hitting .303 with five doubles, 21 RBI and a team-high 18 runs and six homers. Her .632 slugging percentage was also a team best. Overall, she hit .261 with nine homers, 32 RBI and 72 total bases (good for second on the team) in 46 starts (50 games overall).

The Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School alum attended a National Tryout in Georgetown, TX back in September of 2013. As a senior, she was named a Pre-Season All-American and impressed coaches with her soft hands and active footwork behind the plate. Her hitting stood out as well, with the ability to go opposite field as her understanding of becoming a more consistent hitter matured.

Emilee Kirk - Softball Factory

Emilee Kirk – Softball Factory

Emilee Kirk – (’15 – Mount Saint Mary’s University) Kirk is a 2015 graduate from Great Valley High School in Paoli, PA and is a standout at Softball Factory events, having participated in Softball Factory National Tryout in Saint Davids, PA, Softball Factory Christmas Camp & Tournament and a two-time Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American in ’14 and ’15.

The athleticism goes beyond the softball diamond; a two-sport athlete, Kirk served as captain for the softball and basketball teams as well. Kirk earned First Team All-Conference during her junior and senior seasons for Great Valley.

Coaches at Mount Saint Mary’s University are thrilled to add Kirk’s power stroke to their lineup and a steady presence at third base for the 2016 season.

Keeli Milligan - Softball Factory

Keeli Milligan – Softball Factory

Keeli Milligan – (’15 – Texas A&M University) The 5’1″ OF from Vidor, TX will stay within the state, playing for the Aggies of Texas A&M  in 2016.

Keeli has excelled in and out of sports. She is a two-sport standout at Vidor playing varsity volleyball and softball as a freshman. Milligan is a honor roll student who has received the Award of Excellence in History and English and will graduate as a Distinguished Graduate in 2015.

Milligan attended a National Tryout in Pearland, TX in November of 2013 and two months later, attended the 2014 Pre-Season All-American, selected as a top performer during the tournament. The left-handed hitter showed explosive bat speed that weekend and outstanding skills in the outfield. Coaches loved her “motor”, playing the game fast at all times.

Abbey Latham - Softball Factory

Abbey Latham – Softball Factory

Abbey Latham – (’17 – Ole’ Miss – verbal) Latham is a 2017 grad from Demopolis High School in Livingston, AL where she serves as the team’s catcher and outfielder. As a sophomore, Abbey was named West Alabama Watchman Co-Players of the Year this past season after hitting .564 this season with 10 homers, 38 RBIs, 30 runs scored and a perfect 14-for-14 on stolen bases.

The next step in her journey will lead her to Ole’  Miss as she has verbally committed to the SEC school. Latham first attended a Softball Factory National Tryout in Bay Minette, AL in November of 2013 and was a 2014 Softball Factory Pre-Season All-American as a freshman. Her skills behind the plate were outstanding for a freshman, receiving the ball and centering her body well. Offensively, her power prowess was evident during the event.

Analiese Raley

Analiese Raley – Softball Factory

Analiese Raley – (’18 – University of Nebraska – verbal) The 2018 grad from Buchanan High School in Clovis, CA has verbally committed to the University of Nebraska to play for the Cornhuskers.

One of the top catchers in the 2018 class, Raley attended a National Tryout in Fresno, CA in November of 2014 and was selected to be a 2015 Pre-Season All-American. Raley had a great presence behind the plate as a leader and in the outfield, she showed a quick first step and took the correct angles when making a play on the ball. With the bat, she showed a squared set-up that allowed for maximum positive movement towards the ball. Coaches noticed that her swing will allow for an increase in power in the future.

For more information on the 2016 Softball Factory Pre-Season All-America Tournament, click here to view the page.