Tag Archives: Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP Program

Passion for Sport of Softball Becomes Sanctuary for Softball Factory Athlete Maxine Barnes

Maxine Barnes and Softball Factory coach Leah Majeski at an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout in Ashburn, Va. on 8/25/18

Softball is everything to Maxine Barnes. When times were difficult for the 2019 catcher and outfielder off the field, she found her safe haven in the outfield, catching and at the plate.

When others started to doubt her abilities as a player, however, she started to doubt herself as well and the sport that usually served as an escape from stress for Barnes was beginning to look like a source of it.

Participating in an Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP Program in Ashburn, Va. in August of 2017 reminded the Woodgrove High School senior student-athlete just how talented she is and got her on the track to committing to the University of South Carolina Upstate.

“I grew up with my life surrounded by sports. It was my escape,” Barnes says, explaining where her passion for the sport stems from. “I love softball because when I stepped out on that field, it was another home for me. The one place where no one could touch me. I wanted to be the best. This sport is my blood and I love every moment I’m out on the field.”

By the time she stepped onto the field for the Softball Factory event, however, the sport she viewed as her sanctuary was not giving her the weightless feeling she had before. The Purcellville, Va. native was letting the harsh opinions of others get to her head.

“I was struggling because I’d been told ‘you’re not good enough’ so many times I was starting to believe it,” Barnes confesses. “No matter what I did I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

On that August day, Barnes finally found that help she was looking for.

“Max came to our tryout last year and was pretty down on herself and frustrated in the process,” Softball Factory senior player development coordinator Chris Brown recalls. “She’s an absolute stud… one of the best players we have in the program. My jaw dropped the first time I saw her throw. I couldn’t comprehend how she wasn’t committed.”

When Barnes realized that the Softball Factory staff believed in her, she started to believe in herself again too.

“Softball Factory showed me that I was good enough, they were like another family for me,” the 2019 high school grad answers when asked what Softball Factory did to erase the insecurity she had been struggling with.

“My mom has always had my back, but Softball Factory showed me which door to open. I like how they score you among athletes across the country. They’ve really helped me realize my skill and they’ve taught me about a lot of the small pieces of the game, the pieces most people ignore.”

Maxine Barnes with Leah and Dave Majeski

Barnes went onto play in the Under Armour Softball Factory Fall Classic that November and took part in the Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout when it made its return to Ashburn, Va. in August of 2018.

The support of the Softball Factory staff kept her wanting more. Two of the Softball Factory coaches Barnes credits with boosting her self-confidence and getting her on the path to committing to USC Upstate are Leah and Dave Majeski.

“Coach Dave and Leah have been another family for me,” she says. “They took me under their wings and developed me into the player I am today. I got to play on their travel team, Team SC. I call them my softball parents.”

Being one of Barnes’ “softball parents” is a role Coach Leah Majeski enjoys.

“Maxine has been a dream to coach!” Majeski exclaims. “Her work ethic surpasses many athletes her age and she is such a wonderful kid. It was no surprise that USC Upstate wanted her the minute they saw her in action. “

The young and talented athlete is a two-time All-State centerfielder and catcher, the Loudoun County All-State player of the year and a three-time softball 4A state champion. When looking at her accomplishments it is easy to see that the future Spartan has made the most of her softball career so far, and she looks forward to playing at the next level with USC Upstate.

“It’s an honor to be committed to such an amazing program,” Barnes reveals. “I’m truly excited for my college career.”

Softball Factory Alum Alyssa Sofinowski Verbally Commits to Tiffin University After Rediscovering Her Love for Softball

Alyssa Softinowski

After almost completely shying away from the game, Softball Factory alum Alyssa Sofinowski has verbally committed to Tiffin University and credits Softball Factory as a reason for rediscovering her passion for the sport that she has loved since the age of six.

“I have always loved softball,” Sofinowski recalls. “When I was six years old I was playing lacrosse, and knew it was not for me, so, my dad took me to a little league field and we started to throw and hit the ball for the first time. It was fun. I knew it was for me.”

Her father, Bryon Sofinowski, shares the memory.

“I’ll never forget when Alyssa came to me and said ‘Dad, I don’t think lacrosse if for me,’ he shares.  “I asked her if she wanted to try something else and she said, ‘how about softball?’ So, we went to K-Mart and bought a glove and bat and I’ll never forget how she immediately hit and caught the ball. From that point on, she was hooked”.

From that early age, the catcher and second baseman says she loved the fun that came with running and diving in the dirt and the cheers that could get a rally started. In middle school, however, she found herself pushing softball away.

“When I was in the 7th grade I wasn’t sure if softball was for me anymore,” Sofinowski admits. “I had just gotten over an MCL injury and was afraid I’d never recover properly. I was worried that I’d not play to my potential, which led to thoughts of losing my love for the game.”

In December of 2016, Sofinowski – who had attended two Under Armour Softball Factory College PREP events, as well as two different training events beginning in the summer of 2015– reluctantly decided to give the Softball Factory Christmas Camp & Tournament in December of 2016 a try. Her hesitation with pursuing a softball career at the next level suddenly disappeared.

“After a few years Alyssa became disenchanted with softball and was thinking about not playing ball in college. She was not excited about attending the Florida Christmas camp,” her dad shares. “But, when I picked her up from the airport something was different about her perception of the game. She talked for the entire two-hour ride home about the games, coaches and girls she had played with in Florida. The Softball Factory Christmas session absolutely redirected Alyssa’s mission about her future in softball and college.”

“The Christmas event in 2016 made me realize my love for the sport,” Sofinowski adds. “I realized that softball was what I loved to do. Playing in the Christmas event, meeting girls from other states, playing in the games, and creating a small family in such a short amount of time made me love softball again. All the coaches were great in working with the girls to learn skills and doing fun drills together.”

In fact, the coaches are what the Stevensville, Md. native answered when asked what she enjoys most about her experiences with Softball Factory, saying that they motivated her and taught her new skills – while enhancing skills she had developed previously.

Softball Factory’s Senior Director, Lea Ann Jarvis and Player Development Coordinator, Julia Rice, are two staff members that both Alyssa and Bryon credit with helping her to become the player she is today.

“I cannot thank Coach Jarvis and Julia enough for their support and coaching of Alyssa throughout this entire process.” Bryon said. “She immediately loved Coach Jarvis and Rice and worked extremely hard to impress them with her commitment and skills.”

Now that the softball spark is back, the Tiffin commit, now a sophomore second baseman and catcher for Kent Island High School, has been tearing it up for her team. Her combined batting average in her first two seasons is an impressive .378, with and on-base percentage of .495 and slugging percentage of .528. She has tallied a home run, a triple and seven doubles, along with recording 42 putouts and turning two double plays.

Her hard work has certainly caught the attention of both Jarvis and Rice and they have enjoyed watching her journey to regaining her confidence and committing to playing at the collegiate level.

“She has worked extremely hard since day one,” Rice shares. “I have gotten to meet her and Bryon many times, and her work ethic continues to improve. She has shown true dedication and persistence with this sport. Her softball journey hasn’t been the easiest for her – and she has had to overcome some different struggles – but all those struggles have made her the player that she is today.”

“I spent some time being her catching coach and watched her come into her own as a catcher,” Jarvis adds. “I have also had the pleasure working with her at two player development events and saw her continue to work hard and get better every time she was at an event. I am very much looking forward to watching her play at Tiffin University.”

Perhaps no one, however, is prouder of Sofinowski than her father.

“It is incredible feeling for a parent to see how all those long hours in the dirt and spent hitting have brought her to this point.” he says with great admiration of his daughter. “I’m so very proud of my girl!”

Former Pre Season All American Tijerina Commits to NAIA School

Bonnie Jean Tijerina

The softball program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas has only been around since 2010 but have already emerged as a powerhouse in the Red River Athletic Conference. The Saints have made an appearance in the post season six out of the past seven years and they are gearing up to continue that streak.

On Monday, Bonnie Jean Tijerina signed to play for the Saints, who are led by head coach James Kling. 

Taking after her father Tano, a former professional baseball player, Bonnie began playing softball at the age of nine and by sixth grade was dominating on the softball field. As a United High School freshman, Bonnie joined the varsity softball team where she has played all four years. 

We first saw Tijerina at a January 2013 College PREP event in San Antonio, TX. Only a sophomore in high school, Softball Factory coaches saw something special in the versatile player.

“Bonnie Jean is a talented young 1B with a ton of potential.” reads one of her early evaluations. “Overall, Bonnie Jean has a bright future in this game if she remains committed and continues to find ways to get better and challenger herself.” 

Bonnie Jean has done just that. Since 2013, she has been selected to participate in multiple high level, invite-only events including the 2013 Softball Factory Christmas Camp & Tournament and the 2014 Softball Factory Pre Season All American Tournament.

“Overall, she is a leader on the field with good presence and necessary components to be a competitor,” said Lea Ann Jarvis, Senior Director of Softball Factory, after seeing Bonnie at a tournament in 2014. “She has a solid athletic ability to help aid in her continued development as a player.”

Bonnie Jean, center, with her family and coach

Bonnie verbally committed to play at Our Lady of the Lake University in February 2016.

“Thanks to Softball Factory and all the coaches that invested in her, she is going on to the next level,” said her father by email. “They [Coach Griffin and Coach Jarvis] made a huge impact on her future.” 

Standout Players From Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout – Xenia, OH

Xenia, OH - Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout (2/21/16)

Xenia, OH – Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout (2/21/16)

Over the weekend, the Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout made a stop in Xenia, OH at the Athletes in Action Sports Complex where some very talented and hard-working players attended the event to prepare for the upcoming season.

The weather was picture-perfect for the month of February as players came out for both the National Tryout and College PREP Program events.

 

Here are three standout players from this past weekend’s tryout:

Michaela Medich – The 2019 first baseman from Galloway, OH attends Hilliard Bradley High school and receives the ball very well around the bag at first and is an excellent communicator with great hands. Medich has shown power potential in previous events she’s attended (National Tryout in Dayton, OH last February and Advanced Training at the Junior Women’s World Championships last August in OKC) she generates great bat speed. She’s able to load and launch effectively with hand separation so that she can square up on the ball well.

Kristen Rappold – Rappold, a 2018 RHP from Newton Local High School in Pleasant Hill, OH, got her velocity up between 59 and 60 MPH during the event. Her presence on the mound is solid. With the bat, she’s a gap-to-gap hitter with good pop. Kristen is able to stay inside the ball really well and is quick to get the bat to the ball.

Xenia, OH - Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout

Xenia, OH – Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout (2/21/16)

Sophie Weber – Sophie is a 2019 infielder/outfielder with good arm strength ad quick feet at both positions. Weber, who attends Springboro High School in Springboro, OH moves really well on the field overall and has good balance at the plate. She’s able to stay inside the ball with lots of pop. Her hands are quick and has the makings of a solid line drive hitter.

 

 

The Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout Tour is coming to a town near you! Tryouts are held for players ages 12-18. Don’t miss your opportunity to Be Discovered.

Register online for an Under Armour Softball Factory National Tryout near you or call (855) 822-5115.