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DeMarini Stadium • The Stadium pairs a 12” N-Spec composite barrel with an SC4 aluminum alloy handle to create a slightly end-loaded bat that can handle any compression softball. • N-Spec Composite Barrel- A DeMarini proprietary alloy-enriched super-toughened resin system that creates unprecedented high performance longevity in the barrel.

• DeMarini exclusive Hi/Lo composite angles create a barrel configuration that merges the compression of any softball for maximum performance.

• SC4 Alloy Handle- DeMarini’s stiffest handle to date constructed with the strongest alloy manufactured by DeMarini. • Approved by USSSA, NSA and ISA

• 4.ONE Stacked Composite Barrel- Using this specially designed 12” composite barrel, players get the solid feel and responsiveness of a one-piece bat.

• 4.ONE Composite Handle- The same rigid composite material used for the barrel was utilized to make this the stiffest composite handle in the DeMarini lineup. • Aprroved by ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA

DeMarini The ONE.12

Softball Today • July 2010

• The ONE.12 provides players with the stiffest and responsiveness of a one-piece feel in an end-loaded two-piece bat.

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WTDXCFP For 2011, the CF4™ ST has been taken to a new level. The mad scientists at DeMarini have amped up the awesome power of their Pitch Black Plus™ composite by adding twice the Silver Trace™ bonding agent making a stronger,stiffer bat. That means the sweet spot has been extended further down the barrel than ever before. With the bigger sweet spot, the CF4 -10 is becoming the weapon of choice to bring to the plate. With a composite handle and composite barrel, the CF4 is designed to flex, then recoil through the impact. It feels more like you’re launching the ball than hitting it. And even with the flex, it feels solid, through and through, and it should: It’s constructed with a composite material exclusive to DeMarini, and a Silver Trace bonding agent that creates a stronger, more responsive barrel … giving you a massive sweetspot. DeMarini’s high quality composite material means thinner barrel walls, bonded in a Stacked™ wall barrel design that creates a dynamic springboard hitting surface. The revolutionary design doesn’t stop there. The new Clutch 2™ endcap is designed to redirect the energy of the ball impact back into the barrel so every ounce of your swing is aimed at crushing that ball.


WTDXCFI Seeking to level up your hitting performance, but you aren’t quite ready to graduate to the next weight drop? Look no further than the CF4™ Insane. Built for the player seeking extra power in their swing, DeMarini has moved the evenly distributed weight all the way to the end of the barrel. If you’re a power hitter, more mass at full extension results in additional swing speed at contact giving you more power and more distance. In addition to doubling the amount of Silver Trace™ bonding agents in the Pitch Black Plus™ stacked composite and extending the sweet spot towards the handle, DeMarini’s designed hubcap redirects the outgoing energy back into the barrel. With the CF4 Insane, the opposition will recognize that wild look in your eyes.

WTDXCFF

WTDXCFH The new CF4 Black Hope features Stacked Pitchblack Plus Composite and Silver Trace Technology adding rebar-like strength creating a bigger sweet sport and the tighter and stronger composite weave ever made by DeMarini. So what does it all mean? One huge sweet spot. The CF4 Black Hope bat is a limited edition CF4 Black featuring the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. DeMarini is donating a portion of all the sales from the CF4 Black Hope bat to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in addition to their annual donation of a minimum $100,000.

Softball Today • July 2010

Redefining what elite collegiate and high school players demand from an all-composite bat, the new CF4™ for 2011 adds twice the Silver Trace™ bonding agent to the both the barrel and handle, making a stronger, stiffer bat. The sweet spot has been extended further down the barrel than ever before. With the bigger sweet spot, and end loaded feel, you’ll love bringing this power machine to the plate. While the CF4 is designed to flex and recoil through the swing, the DeMarini exclusive Pitch Black Plus™ stacked composite material gives the player the feeling of a stiffer and stronger bat. When the impact energy attempts to escape, the Clutch 2™ endcap send it back into the barrel, launching the ball from the surface of the bat.

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MV-3™ BALANCED MODEL: MV3U • Length/Weight: 34/26, 34/27, 34/28, 34/30.

• 14 1/2” Barrel Length. • 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter.

• Approved for USSSA 1.20 Certified, NSA and ISA. • Made in the U.S.A.

MV-3™ SUPERMAX MODEL: MV3MU • Length/Weight: 34/26, 34/27, 34/28, 34/30.

• 14 1/2” Barrel Length. • 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter.

• Approved for USSSA 1.20 Certified, NSA and ISA. • Made in the U.S.A.

Features for MV-3™ Balanced and MV-3™ SuperMax • Advanced InnerFlex™ Technology maximizes velocity by delivering precisely calibrated handle flex and energy transfer to optimize barrel rebound. • Advanced InnerFlex™ Technology is customized to barrel specifications for maximum distance and ball speed. • Multi-Layer Biaxial™ and MPa7™ Resin System maximize sweetspot and push performance to the limits. • 100 Comp™ - 100% Composite is engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade carbon fiber to deliver Miken’s legendary performance and durability. • R900™ carbon fiber provides 38.8% higher tensile strength and 40% higher elongation than industry standard carbon fiber. R900™ is proven to endure grueling play, deliver unrivaled durability and maximize performance. • New X-Tack™ Plus provides extreme knob grip for even more control.

FREAK® DST™ BALANCED

Softball Today • July 2010

MODEL: MFDSTA • Length/Weight: 34/26, 34/27, 34/28, 34/30. • Balanced for maximum bat speed. • Our proprietary DuraShell Technology™ acts as a composite "shield" on the outer shell of our 100% aerospace grade carbon fiber barrel, maximizing performance out of the wrapper. • Multi-Layer Biaxial™ and MPa7™ Resin System maximize sweetspot and push performance to the limits.

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• Advanced InnerFlex Technology™ takes performance to the next level by delivering precisely calibrated handle flex and energy transfer to optimize barrel rebound. • Advanced InnerFlex is customized to barrel specifications for maximum distance and ball speed. • 100 Comp™ - 100% Composite is engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade fiber to deliver Miken's legendary performance and durability.

• R900™ is proven to endure grueling play deliver unrivaled durability and maximize performance. • 14 1/2” Barrel Length. • 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter. • Approved for ASA 2004, USSSA 1.20, NSA and ISA • Made in the U.S.A.

Miken® FREAK™+ Players Model MODEL: MSFPPM • Length/Weight: 34/26, 34/27, 34/28, 34/30 • E-Flex™/ESD™- ESD™ Extended Sweetspot Design extra long barrel construction produces the industry's largest sweetspot for unmatched performance and consistency.

• 100 Comp™ - 100% Composite is engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade fiber to deliver Miken's legendary performance and durability. • New X-Tack™ Plus provides extreme knob grip for even more control.

• 13 1/2” Barrel Length. • 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter. • Approved for USSSA, NSA, ISA. • Made in the U.S.A.


DENNY CRINE PSYCHO™ MODEL: SPDCU • Super Max (more endloaded). • R900™ Carbon Fiber Composite construction.

• X-Tack™ Plus provides extreme knob grip for better control. • 14 1/2” Barrel Length.

• 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter. • Approved for USSSA, NSA, ISA. • Made in the U.S.A.

Miken® Intensit-E™ 100 COMP Kelly Kretschman • Advanced Inner Flex Technology takes performance to the next level by delivering precisely calibrated handle flex and energy transfer to optimize barrel rebound. Advanced Inner Flex is customized to barrel specifications for maximum distance and ball speed. • The Multi Layer Biaxial Technology™ precisely aligns and bonds filaments of premium aerospace grade carbon fiber to produce unrivaled durability and performance.

• 100 Comp™ is the revolutionary formula that changed the game and introduced certified Miken® high performance equipment. • This product is engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade fiber to deliver Miken's legendary performance and durability. • R900™ carbon fiber provides 38.8% higher tensile strength and 40% higher elongation than industry standard carbon fiber. R900™ is proven to endure grueling play, deliver unrivaled durability and maximize performance.

• The MPA7™ resin system is exclusively calibrated to optimize the performance and resilience of Miken's premium carbon fiber materials. • New X-Tack™ plus provides extreme knob grip for even more control.

• 33” – 14” barrel length, 32 – 13 1⁄2” barrel length, 31” – 13” barrel length, 30 – 12 1⁄2” barrel length.

• 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter. • Made in the U.S.A.

• 34” – 14 1⁄2” barrel length, 33” – 14” barrel length. • 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter.

• Made in the U.S.A.

MV-3™ Light-12 MODEL: FPMV3C12 • Length/Weight: 33/21, 32/20, 31/19, 30/18.

MODEL: FPMV3C9 • Length/Weight: 34/25, 33/24.

Features for MV-3™ Light -12, MV-3™ DST-9 • Our proprietary DuraShell Technology™ acts as a composite “shield” on the outer shell of our 100% aerospace grade carbon fiber barrel, maximizing performance out of the wrapper. • Advanced InnerFlex™ Technology maximizes velocity by delivering precisely calibrated handle flex and energy transfer to optimize barrel rebound. • Advanced InnerFlex™ Technology is customized to barrel specifications for maximum distance and ball speed. • Multi-Layer Biaxial™ and MPa7™ Resin System maximize sweetspot and push performance to the limits. • 100 Comp™ - 100% Composite is engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade carbon fiber to deliver Miken’s legendary performance and durability. • R900™ carbon fiber provides 38.8% higher tensile strength and 40% higher elongation than industry standard carbon fiber. R900™ is proven to endure grueling play, deliver unrivaled durability and maximize performance. • New X-Tack™ Plus provides extreme knob grip for even more control. • Both bats are approved for ASA 2004, USSSA 1.20 Certified, NSA, ISA, NCAA® and NFHS®.

Softball Today • July 2010

MV-3™ DST-9

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By Dalton Ruer

Softball Today • July 2010

In the classic romantic comedy The Secret of My Success, Michael J. Fox plays two different characters. His “real” character delivers the mail to all of the “big shots” in a multi-national corporation. While his “made up” character takes over the office of a person who has been terminated and begins ascending to the top. When the truth comes out he loses not one, but both of the positions. It is at that point in which he has a crucial decision to make. Is he going to return home with his tail between his legs, or is he finally going to pursue his dream without wasting any more time in the mail room. This is likely the point where you may find yourself right now. You have a dream, but are you ready to risk everything to pursue it? If you were willing, how would you go about trying to achieve it? I’d like to suggest that pursuing your dream is

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as easy as using a GPS. A GPS is a pretty easy device to utilize. You simply have to plug in a “starting location” and a “destination.” The vast majority of the time the directions take you exactly where you wanted to go. There are 4 important things that you must do when using a GPS device which are no different than you will need to do in pursuing your dream: One, you have to be honest about where you are starting from. This is often the most difficult part. If you are a player you may well have no idea what your true skill level is. For the past several years your parents may have had you playing on some really weak teams so that you would stand out. Or you could be on a really strong team, and the team is winning game after game but you are just a backup player. So you really aren’t sure what your skill level is … “your starting point.” Try to go to higher level clinics/camps to surround yourself with players others than those you normally see so that you can find out where you really are. Or ask your coach(es) to be really honest with you about where you are starting at. Two, you have to be honest about what your destination is. If you don’t know where you are going, any path is going to take you there. If you plug in your parents dreams, or your friends dreams, the GPS is going to lead you somewhere totally different than where you want to end up. Your dream is “your destination” so you must plug that in. Three, you have to follow the directions. If the

GPS tells you to take a left, and you make a right, you shouldn’t really be surprised if you get lost. But the problem is the GPS is telling us to take a left and the road looks long and bumpy, but on the right we see shady trees and an ice-cream shop. 5 years later we realize we are way off of the path we are supposed to be on. As you try and pursue your dream realize, that the reason most people fail is that the road gets bumpy and it is tough. And finally you have to commit to the destination. You have to completely sell out to reaching your dream and not settling for anything less. One of the resources on my website is an easy path to making a million dollars. The problem is that so many other things end up competing with that dream that so few people can achieve it. They want the freedom to make their own rules. To drive that fancy car. To take vacations whenever they want. As you pursue your dream don’t be fooled into settling for anything less. But above all don’t be fooled into believing you can pursue 8 competing dreams at one time either. A GPS doesn’t allow you to go to more than 1 location at a time, because that is the way life works. My last article was intended to get you to admit your dreams and write them down. My intent in this article was to help you commit to those dreams. In my next article I will propose that Goals are the directions that a GPS would use to help you reach your dreams and help you get started on the path to setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals.


By Anthony Bronson Sixty-four teams from across the nation have been funneled into postseason action. With only 16 spots to advance to super regional play, now is the time for each team to make their statement.

Softball Today • July 2010

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA— In the first of 16 postseason regionals, the number one seeded Alabama Crimson Tide (52-10) was set to square off with Lipscomb (50-12), UAB (37-21) and Alcorn St. (24-25) at the Alabama Softball Complex. Proving they were deserving of the number one seed honor, the Crimson Tide knocked down Alcorn St. in a 9-0 run-rule shutout in the fifth inning. After ousting Lipscomb in the second day of the regional 5-2 and then again in the third with a 6-0 shutout, Alabama punched their ticket to super regional action. The Crimson Tide outscored their opponents 20-2 and outhit their opponents 19-9.

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STANFORD, CALIFORNIA—After their outstanding performance in 2009, the Stanford Cardinals (37-18) have struggled this year and their regional was no different. The Cardinals took on Hawaii (50-15), Texas Tech (38-17), and UC Davis (26-28) at the Smith Family Stadium. As the only seeded team in the tournament, Hawaii made quick work of UC Davis in a dominating 10-2 victory while Stanford knocked down Texas Tech in a narrow 5-4 win. When Hawaii and Stanford clashed, Hawaii came out on top in a 6-3 victory and

Michigan Wolverines senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus slammed two home runs to put the Wolverines past the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in regional play. Photo by Eric Bronson.

advanced to defeat Texas Tech 7-1 in the final game of the regional. Hawaii put up a whopping 23 points in the Stanford regional and held their opponents to just six runs. COLUMBIA, MISSOURI—At University field in Columbia, the ninth seeded Missouri Tigers (51-12) barely escaped with a pass to the super regionals over Illinois (45-7), DePaul (39-17) and Creighton (37-22). Despite a seeded team being present in the regional, Illinois was actually looking like the team to watch. They were putting up outstanding numbers and had actually outscored Missouri against their opponents. But when it came down to business, the Tigers continued their consistency scoring four runs by the third inning. A late game run by Illinois was not enough and the Tigers moved on to super regional action. The Tigers were actually outscored by Illinois 16-10, but Missouri scored them when it counted. ATLANTA, GEORGIA—The Atlanta regional was host to the number 8 seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5110), the Oregon Ducks (36-20), Auburn (31-25) and Jacksonville St. (30-18) More often than not, the seeded teams are expected to move on in postseason action, but this was not the case. The Ducks and the Yellow Jackets met in the final game of the regional after the Ducks had dominated Georgia Tech in an earlier game 11-2. With that in the back of their minds, Georgia tech knew they needed to step up their game in order move on. In a tight game that was tied right down to the wire, Oregon pulled the upset in the eighth inning and advanced to super regional action. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—At the home of the UCLA Bruins (50-11), Easton Stadium, Bruins fans gathered to watch their team put on an outstanding performance just as they have all year. Facing Fresno St. (41-20), San Diego St. Aztecs (34-15) and St. Mary’s (3022) in this round of pool play, UCLA put on an absolutely dominating performance. Although they barely squeaked by the Aztecs in a 4-3 game that came right down to the wire, the Bruins banished Fresno St. in the final elimination game in classic ground-and-pound fashion 72. The Bruins outscored their opponents 23-9 to move on to super regional action. BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA—Out of all of the regionals, no other regional got off to more of an explosive start than the Baton Rouge regional. The twelfth seeded LSU Tigers (45-15) took on La.-Lafayette (45-17), Texas A&M (44-15) and McNeese St. (38-26) at Tiger Park. In their first games, LSU and La.-Lafayette shut out their opponents, which made it look like there was going


AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS—If the walls could talk, the UMass Softball Complex would say that every team in this regional had some hot bats. With a total of 49 runs scored in six games, Arizona St. (44-16), Long Island (39-17), Boston University (35-21) and Massachusetts (42-9-1) put on a great show for the fans. It was smooth sailing for the thirteen seed as the Sun Devils advanced through the regional. As Boston University began to ramp up their efforts on the second day with a big 10-4 win over Massachusetts, they were later silenced by Long Island 5-4. The final game to advance was a run-rule victory for the Sun Devils as they beat down Long Island in a 9-1 victory. GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA—The Florida Gators (49-9) have been a silent performer in 2010. After Staci Nelson led the team to a runner-up finish in the 2009 Women’s College World Series, the Gators have been just as good this year, but little would know. At Pressly Stadium, the Gators faced FIU (38-20), UCF (36-22) and BethuneCookman (32-23). This was a regional where the winners of every game won in a dominating fashion and often times in shutouts. The number four seeded Florida Gators faced little resistance as they punched their ticket to the super regionals. They outscored their opponents 25-3, including defeating FIU in their final regional game 13-3. SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—The Seattle regional at Husky Softball Stadium was perhaps the lowest scoring of the 16 regionals with 15 total runs scored between the three-seeded Washington Huskies (50-8), North Carolina (42-19), Nebraska (30-28) and North Dakota St. (33-24) With all eyes on the Huskies as they looked to repeat as NCAA national champions, they just barely squeaked by and went on to advance to super regional play. Winning their last regional game against North Carolina 2-1, the Huskies only scored 6 runs throughout the regional, which was perhaps a sign of things to come later. COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND—The comefrom-behind Oklahoma Sooners (47-11) came out with a bang in the College Park regional against Fordham (49-11), Maryland (34-23) and Syracuse (32-25) at Robert E. Taylor Stadium. The Sooners sent booms through the regional pool with their dominating 10-0 shutout victory over Syracuse. For the rest of the regional, Sooners lefty pitcher Keilani Ricketts was too much to handle as the Sooners kept all three of their regional opposition from After making a tremendous run towards the NCAA national title and coming up with a third place finish, the Tennessee Volunteers’ coaching staff was selected as the 2010 Southeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Photo by Dennis Anderson.

scoring any runs at all. Fordham lost to Oklahoma in the final regional game after being shut down on day two of pool play and the Sooners were back on track in their typical come-from-behind fashion. COLUMBUS, OHIO—The eleven-seeded California Golden Bears (44-18) made quick work of their competition at Buckeye Field in the Columbus regional where they faced the Ohio St. Buckeyes (39-13), Kentucky (32-26) and Bucknell (28-19-1). While allowing zero runs throughout regional pool play, the Bears defeated Bucknell in a booming 10-0 shutout victory in five innings, Kentucky 1-0 and Ohio St. 7-0. The Golden Bears were quick to strike in every one of their games in this pool. They scored all of their runs within the first three innings, stunning their opponents, and never looked back as they got the go-ahead into super regional action. ATHENS, GEORGIA—At UGA Stadium in Athens, the Bulldogs (50-12) took advantage of the fact that they were on their home turf where they were matched up with Radford (38-16), Florida St. Seminoles (44-17) and Elon (38-20). Right off of the bat, there seemed to be two clear-cut contenders who were going to battle it out for the rights to advance to the super regionals—Florida St. and Georgia. They both put up 10 runs in their first games and it looked as if the final game of the pool was going to be a hitfest, but one of the two didn’t make it all the way to the end. Florida St. ran into some trouble against the Bulldogs in a 5-2 and then against Radford 3-2 where they were eliminated. The six-seeded Bulldogs continued with their hot bats and advanced to super regional action. AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Austin Regional set the stage for a massive upset as the seven-seeded Texas Longhorns (43-14) squared off against BYU (46-12), East Carolina (44-17) and Iona (28-25). BYU was really the shining star as they were able to overcome the pool favorite Longhorns in a 9-8 victory that was competitive enough to be a super regional deciding game. In reality, it was. After the Longhorns fell to BYU, there was no real competition for the girls from

Utah as they knocked down East Carolina in the deciding game 8-3 to move on to the next stage of postseason play. TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tuscon Regional was a battle to the death between the ten-seeded Arizona Wildcats (52-13) and Hofstra (45-11) at Hillenbrand Stadium. After being defeated in an earlier pool game by the Wildcats, Hofstra came back with a vengeance and took Arizona on a 12inning ride that resulted in the Wildcats scoring six runs in the twelfth inning after Lini Koria hit a grand slam to seal the deal. The Wildcats outscored their opponents 25-6 to advance to the next tier of postseason action. KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE—Sherri Parker Lee Stadium saw the Tennessee Volunteers (49-14) take on Louisville (41-18), Virginia (43-22) and Ball St. (43-15) in the Knoxville Regional. As really the only team to turn on their offensive game and really put some points on the board, Tennessee scored more runs in their three games than any of the other teams in the pool. Nineteen total runs jumped the Volunteers past Ball St. 5-0, Virgina 11-2 and Louisville 3-1 in nine innings to advance to super regional action. ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN—Perhaps the biggest performance for NCAA softball fans came at the Ann Arbor Regional at Alumni Field where the Michigan Wolverines (49-7) took on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (47-11), Wright St. (31-29-1) and Illinois St. (32-19) The Wolverines put up more points in their regional than any other team with 31 runs scored, which demonstrated their power and perhaps was a precursor for things to come. The second-seeded ladies from Michigan knocked down Wright St. 11-2, and Notre Dame in two games 8-0 and 12-2 to advance to the next plateau of NCAA postseason competition with high hopes to win the national title.

Softball Today • July 2010

to be a clear cut final game for the regional between the two teams, but LSU fell just short of the finish line as they were shut out in their next two consecutive games. This was exactly what La.-Lafayette wanted to see and it also set the final regional game up to be a relentless beating. Almost every game in this regional was a shut out, which is a perfect demonstration of the great defense of these teams.

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Softball Today • July 2010

By Anthony Bronson

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TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA—With an astoundingly dominating performance in the Tuscaloosa Regional, the top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide (52-10) was set to square off against Hawaii (50-15) in the biggest upset in the NCAA Tournament at the Alabama Softball Complex. Game one was target practice for the Crimson Tide as sophomore utility Amanda Locke crushed two home runs early in the game along with the team’s six runs they tallied in the third inning. Combined with senior pitcher Kelsi Dunne’s heat from the circle and the Crimson Tide were unstoppable in game one and went on to win 8-0 over Hawaii. Little did they know the next two games would be snapped out from right underneath them. Just 30 minutes after

game one had ended, game two began with a fighting Hawaii and a confident Crimson Tide. Despite the hot bats of senior utility and pitcher Charlotte Morgan, who drove in three runs for the game, and once again from Amanda Locke, Alabama fell in game two 8-7. “We have been called the comeback kids from the beginning,” said Locke. “We know we can come back.” Little did she know the Crimson Tide would be edged out in a deciding game three 5-4 despite a three-run home run in the sixth inning from junior utility Whitney Larsen and Hawaii punched their ticket to the Women’s College World Series. COLUMBIA, MISSOURI—After punching their ticket to the super regionals, the Missouri Tigers (5112) were prepared to clash with the Oregon Ducks

(36-20) after the Ducks pulled the upset in the Atlanta Regional over the eight-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (51-10). At University Field in the Columbia Super Regional, the Tigers made quick work of the Ducks. Game one was a matter of breaking through the tough defenses of both teams, but when junior catcher Lisa Simmons got on base after with a single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth inning, it broke the Ducks’ defense and she later scored the only run of the game to seal the deal 1-0 for the Tigers. “They’re a good hitting team,” said sophomore pitcher Kristin Nottelmann. “They’re going to get hits, they’re going to get on base. You just have to go to that next level and really bear down and make sure they don’t get that run across the plate. It worked out today that it didn’t happen.” Carrying that philosophy into game two, the Tigers limited the Ducks to just two runs in their 7-2 victory


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—Upsets generally produce one of two extreme outcomes. The upsetting team either keeps pulling the upset and moves deeper into the playoffs, or a seasoned team who makes it to the playoffs every year shreds them. For Louisiana-Lafayette (45-17), who pulled the upset in the Baton Rouge Regional, it was the latter. Against the UCLA Bruins (50-11), the Los Angeles Super Regional was a two-game relentless ground-andpound with UCLA outscoring the Ragin’ Cajuns 20-3 in the course of two games. In game one, despite an early deficit, the Bruins rallied back with a 12-hit campaign including racking up seven runs in the second inning. The game ended in a run-rule in the fifth inning when junior utility Gionna DiSalvatore crushed a leadoff home run to center field. In game two, the Bruins teed off again on a broken Ragin’ Cajuns softball team. The game was a run-rule once again and was cut off when the Bruins scored nine times in the last two innings. The Bruins continued their undefeated streak in playoffs with their twostraight wins in the super regionals and punched their ticket to the Women’s College World Series. GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA—The Florida Gators (49-9) had hit their stride going into the Gainesville Super Regional at Pressly Stadium. They were on a collision course with a familiar playoff foe—the Arizona State Sun Devils (44-16). With the Sun Devils coming off of their solid performance at the Amherst Regional, fans expected a fight to the death between these two juggernauts of softball, but what they got was just the opposite. In a run-ruled game one, the Florida Gators knocked down the Sun Devils 8-0 after junior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher hurled her 11th shutout of the year and third of the postseason. “The crowd was awesome, the pitching was awesome, the defense was awesome,” said Gators head coach Tim Walton. “And obviously you can’t win games without scoring runs. The offense, hitters one through nine, did a really good job for us.” Game two was much of the same domination fans saw in game one. The Gators took the lead in the third inning and never looked back as they put themselves on a two-game fast track to the Women’s College World Series. “What a great weekend,” said Walton. “To get to the College World Series the first time with a good team, to get there the second time with an even better team and then to get there a third time, that’s when you build a program.” SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—Just short of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional, the Seattle Super Regional was one of the most heated competitions in this round of playoff action. The defending national champion Washington Huskies (50-8) collided with the come-from-behind Oklahoma Sooners (47-11).

With all eyes on the Huskies to repeat their feats of 2009, freshman pitcher Keilani Ricketts and the Sooners were looking to derail that. Oklahoma shocked in game one when they came out with their guns blazing in their 6-1 victory over the Huskies. The Sooners cranked five home runs, including three by senior second baseman Amber Flores topped off by a two hitter from the left-handed Ricketts. “I can do a better job of just everything,” said Huskies senior pitcher Danielle Lawrie. “I hold myself 100 percent accountable for what went on. Obviously I miss, but at times they put good swings on good pitches. I still feel like there’s more I can do. That’s why we get to play tomorrow.” And Lawrie did just that. With a good mix of heat, breaking balls and curves to keep the Sooners on their toes, she ended up being too hot to handle for Oklahoma as she threw two consecutive shutouts to lead the Huskies to the Women’s College World Series. “I just stood there at home plate and put my hands up to soak in everybody,” said Lawrie. People were screaming my name and stuff. I couldn’t be happier finishing Husky Stadium here.” ATHENS, GEORGIA— With the sixth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs (50-12) and the 11th seeded California Golden Bears (44-18) set to put on what fans thought was going to be a great show turned out to be one of the biggest blowouts of the super regional round. The Bulldogs started early in game one at UGA Softball Stadium when junior infielder Alisa Goler crushed her 15th home run of the season to center field putting the Bulldogs out to a quick 2-0 lead. From that point on, there was no looking back for the Bulldogs. They increased their lead to 5-0 in with a two run homer in the fifth inning and later to the final 7-0 when junior infielder Megan Wiggins hit a two-run single to give them the early series lead. Golden Bear junior pitcher Valerie Arioto allowed seven runs with six of them earned and allowed seven hits to help the Bulldogs to victory. Georgia brought the heat again in game two with a booming 10-1 victory over the California Golden Bears. The game was tied early on in the first inning, but Wiggins blew the door wide open with a grand slam in the top of the second inning that crippled California for the rest of the game. With this dominating performance by the Bulldogs, they were looking good as they headed to the Women’s College World Series. TUSCON, ARIZONA—With BYU (46-12) pulling the upset in the Austin Regional after derailing the seventh-seeded Texas Longhorns (43-14), many expected to see the kind of La.-Lafayette (45-17) blowout we saw in the Los Angeles Super Regional, but this was not the case. Matched up against the playoff-familiar Arizona Wildcats (52-13), BYU made a valiant effort to reach the Women’s College World Series. In a close 2-1-nail biter, the Cats barely squeaked out a win when sophomore catcher Lini

Koria singled up the middle to drive in the winning run. “This is a game that I expected, said Arizona Wildcats head coach Mike Candrea. “BYU is a good team. We were very fortunate, especially with the three errors on the winning side. We were slow to make adjustments. A win is a win. We just need to play like it’s our last.” And that’s just what the Cats did in game two. Arizona scored nine combined runs in the third and fourth innings to overwhelm BYU 10-2 and board the train for the Women’s College World Series. Freshman pitching ace Kenzie Fowler went down with an injury after she took a shot to her pitching forearm and was replaced by senior pitcher Sarah Akamine. “You saw the game,” said Candrea. It was a great performance. When Kenzie got hit, our mental toughness set in. Then you began to see timely hits and runs on the board. Overall, it was a great game for Sarah.” ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN—Coming only second to the upset of the Alabama Crimson Tide (52-10), the ousting of the Michigan Wolverines (49-7) at Alumni Field in the Ann Arbor Super Regional was a jaw dropper the nation didn’t expect to see. After complete domination in the Ann Arbor Regional, the Wolverines were already considered a shoe-in for the Women’s College World Series, but the Tennessee Volunteers (4914) has something to say about that. Tennessee’s freshman pitcher Ivy Renfroe struck out eight in game one while only allowing two hits in the seventh inning to capture her 29th victory of the season. The Volunteers scored all of their runs in the middle innings and kept the second-seeded Wolverines scoreless on their way to a 5-0 shutout victory. Michigan’s last shutout loss came against the Florida Gators (49-9) one year ago and busted the team’s home winning streak at 36 games. “I don't think I have to say a whole lot—it was all Tennessee tonight,” said Wolverines head coach Carol Hutchins. “They attacked us, and they really put us on the defensive. I think Renfroe pitched outstanding, and we did not adjust. We did not shorten our swings. Our offensive was down and therefore our team went down. That's the last thing you want to happen. We are going to need to be in better battle mode come tomorrow." And battle is exactly what they brought in a game two, which came right down to the wire. Tennessee jumped to an early lead and kept Michigan scoreless until the fifth inning when the Wolverines mounted a comeback, which fizzed just short of victory as Michigan fell to the Volunteers 4-3 and was eliminated from postseason action.

Softball Today • July 2010

that sent them to their second consecutive Women’s College World Series appearance.

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Stealth SPEED (-10) SSR3B • Stealth Speed -10 Fastpitch • Largest hitting area in the game • EASTON’s focused Flex handle technology increases power • Patented CXN™ EASTON technology provides extra kick and increased bat head speed • Patented IMX™ technology - the best in materials, design and manufacturing process • Evenly balanced for maximum swing speed • Ultra thin 29/32" handle with Pro-Tack cushioned grip • Meets all current Bat Performance Standards – ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA, ISF and SSUSA • 98MPH performance

Review: Stealth SPEED (-10) SSR3B Our group was composed of travel ball girls who ranged from 12 to 14 and under. The early comments on this bat were about its appearance. The Stealth has a sleek clean look about it and our anxious group of hitters quickly found out that this bat was equally matched by its overall performance. “I flat out love this bat and it’s a winner in all the right areas,” said D’aijan Wiggins. “First off, I love the comfortable grip and that it takes away any bat sting problems. This bat is outstanding for line drives and for solid distance. Also, this bat makes a great sound when you really get a hold of the ball. I would love for my mom to buy me this bat.”

Softball Today • July 2010

“This bat is a winner from its graphics to producing great hits,” said Chloe Suarez. This bat is outstanding and the sweet spot is very generous. Even when I slightly miss-hit a ball, the ball still carries extremely well.”

The Score: Line Drives 94 Distance 92 Feel/Sting 94 Sweet Spot 95 Sound 92 Durability 100 Graphics 93

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Approved by ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA, ISF and SSUSA


By Marc O. Dagenais, MHK, CSCS, ChPC The summer season has been over for a few weeks now. Tryouts are done or will soon be done. Just like A LOT of people at this time of the year, you might be thinking that getting fitter should be something you should do in the next few months. Yes, you definitely should. I've been designing softball-specific strength and conditioning programs for teams and individual athletes for over 10 years now. Let me tell you that while proper skills execution is the most important performance factor in our sport, developing more strength, speed, and power can really help support the execution of these skills and improve a player's game significantly. While most players and coaches are aware of that, many still don't take it seriously enough. They know that getting in good shape by doing softball conditioning would help their game but somehow they don't give it enough importance or focus. Why is that? I believe that it's mostly a mix of lack of time and motivation but also not believing softball conditioning is important enough and not knowing enough about it to realize the difference it can make. In other words, I think people know it can help them but aren't really conscious of all the great benefits it can really bring to their game. Here is a list of 20 reasons why you MUST make softball conditioning an important part of your training if you want to become the best you can be and dominate on the softball field. When you follow a well-designed softball-specific conditioning program that uses advanced training techniques and the best exercises for softball, you will‌ Is that a good enough list to include some form of softball-specific conditioning as part of your training? It used to be that being in shape for softball was an edge on your opponents but it isn't true anymore. 11. Tolerate heat better and perform when it's really hot 12. Practice longer without being tired or losing your focus 13. Be much more consistent and have less "ups and downs" 14. Get it faster when learning or refining a skill because of increased body awareness 15. Be much more confident and feel stronger 16. Be mentally tougher 17. Get more extra bases when running 18. Develop an athletic body 19. Recover faster between innings and games 20. Be more dominant in all aspects of the game

Today, you have to be in great softball-specific shape to compete at the highest level. If you are out of shape, you are now at a disadvantage. Softball conditioning is now an integral part of what serious and committed softball players and teams do to get themselves ready to compete.

Softball Today • July 2010

1. Pitch faster and throw harder 2. Swing the bat harder and hit the ball further 3. Steal more bases 4. Get better jumps off the bases 5. Explode out of the batter's box 6. Run down more balls in the field 7. Reach, stretch and get more of those "oh-so-close" balls 8. React faster 9. Have more stamina for long games and tournaments 10. Stay healthy and avoid injuries

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Softball Today • July 2010

By Anthony Bronson

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA—Eight teams came running down the home stretch toward the 2010 NCAA national title: the Missouri Tigers (51-12), the Rainbow Wahine of Hawaii (50-15), UCLA Bruins (50-11), Florida Gators (49-9), Arizona Wildcats (5213), Tennessee Volunteers (49-13), Georgia Bulldogs (49-11) and Washington Huskies (50-9). While some of these teams were widely expected to make Women’s College World Series appearances, others pulled upsets in the regionals and super regionals to punch their ticket to the final showdown. But these eight teams won’t be remembered as the underdog or the expected champions because, after all, you can’t get lucky in regional pool play and then again in the super regionals. They will rather be remembered as the nation’s best that collegiate softball had to offer in 2010. For some players, the 2010 WCWS was their final bow at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. For others, it was a precursor of the next few years to come. Accomplishment, disappointment, pride, defeat—all emotions that swirl in the vortex of the WCWS. “This team has had their eyes on the prize the entire year and we’ve been having the mindset of playing every game like it’s our last,” said Bruins sophomore left-fielder Andrea Harrison. We’ve had our nose rubbed in the ground and I’m just so proud of the way this team has fought,” said Wildcats head coach Mike Candrea. “The big thing now is to play one pitch at a time and leave everything else between the lines.”

“We’ve had some moments that have brought us together as a team and as a family,” said Wildcats freshman pitcher Kenzie Fowler. “And it’s those moments that have made us.” Day one of the WCWS did not disappoint. While the number 16 seed Hawaii ousted Missouri in a close 3-2 match and the defending national champions falling to their playoff rivals of just one year ago in a 6-3 bout, these were not the most jaw-dropping performances of the day. The UCLA Bruins exploded out of the gate with all guns blazing as they shredded the Florida Gators in a 16-3 eclipse that ended in the sixth inning when UCLA put up nine points to run-rule the game. In a similar fashion, the Tennessee Volunteers set off fireworks in their first game of the playoffs as they sent the Arizona Wildcats back to the drawing board in a 9-0 shutout. Over the next two days of the WCWS, some teams continued their dominating performances, some were able to stand back up on their own two feet after being knocked to the ground on day one while others simply couldn’t get their campaign rolling and faded into the mists of defeat. The Washington Huskies and the Georgia Bulldogs—two teams expected to make it deep into the bracket—found themselves packing their bags and watching their competitors battle it out for the national title. "Obviously it's a tough one," said senior pitcher and two-time national player of the year Danielle Lawrie after the Huskies fell to


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Softball Today • July 2010


a very good conference, but we still believe that the Pac10 can still hold its own. So it's kind of fun to culminate with two Pac-10 teams.” Game one came right down to the wire. Both teams were able to hold each other to just a few runs for much of the game, until the seventh inning when time seemed to come screeching to a halt. Bruins senior pitcher Megan Langenfeld, who was a finalist for the national player of the year award, gave up a two-run home run in the seventh inning to tie the game at five runs each. That heart-stopping moment did not end there, however. On the very next pitch, Langenfeld gave up a second home run to the now leading Wildcats and was replaced by sophomore pitcher Aleah Macon. After giving up back-to-back home runs in the first game of the national championship and losing the lead with little time to recover, most players would be at a loss and devastated, but not Langenfeld. Immediately after walking off of the field in disappointment, Langenfeld suited up because she was the first at-bat in the bottom of the eighth. To make up for her mistakes just a few minutes prior, Langenfeld came up with the biggest hit of the game and perhaps her life. She crushed the biggest home run of her career as her team rushed onto the field to welcome her to home plate in a mob fashion. UCLA took the game in a dramatic 6-5 victory. "The top, the top memorable moment,” said Langenfeld. “Nothing has ever been bigger. I know we still have a game tomorrow but it feels pretty good tonight."

Softball Today • July 2010

the Arizona Wildcats 4-3. "I think the biggest thing that I'll take from it is that I'm just proud to say that I went to the University of Washington. I helped them go to their first national championship. I was just a part of something that's very unique and I'm leaving at peace. I'm okay with it. I mean, obviously I'm upset, but the stress that I've been putting on myself lately -- I wanted to win, but right now I'm at peace and I'm happy. I'm disappointed we lost, but at the end of the day it was a good five years." Lawrie ended her career with the Huskies boasting a 136-42 record and 1,860 strikeouts while dominating the school’s record boards. By Monday of the next week—when the dust had settled and the smoke cleared—two of the nations most rivaled and seasoned softball programs were on a collision course: the UCLA Bruins and the Arizona Wildcats. These two teams hold a combined 21 of the last 31 NCAA national championships and after both fizzed out at the end of 2009, they stunned in 2010 and the finals shaped up to be a classic clash of the titans. The Bruins came into the game undefeated in 2010 postseason play while the Wildcats rallied back after being cornered for much of the postseason. "You know, I guess it is like old times,” said Fowler. “But we had to beat some very good teams to get here. I know coming in, a little bit of the motivation is the hype about the SEC. And the SEC is

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After winning their 12th national title with a 15-9 victory over Arizona, the UCLA Bruins were selected as the 2010 National Coaching Staff of the Year. Photo by Eric Bronson.

The Bruins carried that momentum from Langenfeld’s performance into a high-scoring game two where they wasted no time making their statement. They drew first blood, putting up two runs in the first inning and they really began to take it to the Wildcats in the second inning when Andrea Harrison bombed a grand slam home run. Even with a late game rally from the Wildcats, they were unable to stop the relentless UCLA attack. In the fifth inning, the Bruins put up seven runs in the 12 they sent to the plate to seal the deal and win their 11th NCAA national title. "First off, I want to congratulate UCLA and the Pac-10 for a job well done,” said Candrea. “I think we expelled a lot of energy to get here. I'm very proud of this team for the fight that they put up throughout this week and I really have no regrets. For our seniors, it's always tough to end the season on a losing note. They gave us a hell of a ride as a coaching staff and as fans. And no regrets." As 2010 says goodbye to a great year and to every team’s seniors, coaches, fans and returning players look forward to what 2011 will have to offer. "Every team, every program in the country sets out with a vision to be able to get to this point, said UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “Ultimately, it's a dream come true to have your players be able to play their best softball at the biggest of moments and I am so proud of each and every one of the members of this team. They were committed to being able to bring back the history and tradition of where we believe we belong, right here in the thick of it, winning a national championship.”


c O. Da

genais

, MHK,

CSCS, C

hPC

This past weekend, the weather was gorgeous outside so I decided to go for a roller blade ride with a good buddy of mine. After riding for 45 minutes and breaking a good sweat, we took our blades off and stopped by a little snack bar. He bought water and I got myself a healthy shake. Knowing I was going to a family dinner in less than 90 minutes, my buddy looked at me funny and asked me why I was getting a shake right before a family dinner. My response: "I'm having the most important meal of my day!" Clearly, by the look on his face, he didn't get it. So, I went on to explain. I started with a question: “If I told you that you could literally screw up everything else in your diet, but if you did just ONE thing correctly, you’d achieve much better results than if you did EVERYTHING ELSE right and left this one thing out? Would you be interested in knowing? “Absolutely!” he replied. So I pointed to my shake and told him: “THIS is that one thing.” You see, research has shown that right after exercise, there is a "critical window"; a 30-minute period where you must feed your body in order to maximize recovery and results. That means that you should always eat something within 15-30 minutes of the end of your workouts, practices, and games. Doing so will accelerate your recovery because it is during that time that your body is starving for energy and extremely primed to suck up nutrients to recover and regenerate itself. But it only occurs IF you give your body the proper nutrients during this critical time. You must choose high-quality foods. A mix of complex carbohydrates and protein is the ideal. After 30 minutes or so, you've completely missed a great opportunity to accelerate your recovery and maximize your results. And that’s the truth. The interesting thing with this concept is there is no controversy around it and it's pretty much a consensus within the sports, fitness, and nutrition community. Now, you know what you have to do right after your workouts, practices, or games.

Softball Today • July 2010

By Mar

Post-Exercise Snack – Most Important Meal of the Day

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By Dave Utnik

Softball Today • July 2010

Charlotte Morgan just wanted to keep the rally going. On opening night in Orlando, the USSSA Pride rookie stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning hoping that one big swing would get her team back in the game. All the overall No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft had to do was get around on a Megan Gibson fastball. As the first player in University of Alabama history to drive in 50 or more runs in three consecutive seasons, Morgan arrived in Florida with a reputation for delivering big hits. Add another legendary blast to the legend. The first home run of her National Pro Fastpitch career – a grand slam on a 1-0 pitch from Gibson -- brought a capacity crowd to its feet and turned a three-run deficit into a 5-3

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Chicago Bandits pitcher Nikki Nemitz proved her worth in NPF preseason action, pitching games in their entirety and running impressive strikeout streaks. Photo by Dina Kwit.

victory over the expansion Tennessee Diamonds. “Charlotte is such a fierce competitor,” Pride coach Tim Walton said. “She competes so hard every out, every at bat, every game. Her situational hitting ability is unlike anyone’s I have ever seen.” Morgan was keenly aware of the situation as she prepared herself in the on-deck circle. Gibson, one of the world’s premier hurlers, had walked three consecutive batters. That meant a fastball was coming and Morgan was ready. “Melissa is certainly a force,” said Stephanie Hayes, a member of the Pride’s front office staff. On a team that features nine former Olympians, the Pride’s two first-round draft picks played a significant role in the team’s 10-5 start. Morgan’s first two home runs accounted for seven of her league leading 11 RBI, while No. 3 overall pick Melissa Roth batted .500 with two triples and seven runs scored in an exhibition series against the Canadian National Team. “Melissa has a very strong work ethic and a tremendous feel for the game,” Walton said. “She will play in this league and be successful for as long she enjoys playing the game.” Roth, the reigning Big East Conference player of the year from Louisville, owns two school records with a .444 batting average and a .870 slugging percentage. “With her proven track record as a catcher, we believe she will not only be a great addition to the team as a whole, but will complement our already strong pitching staff,” Pride general manager and chairman of the board Don DeDonatis said. The 2010 draft class is proving to be one of the best in NPF history with eight of the top


July, but the Diamonds’ youngsters have already made a name for themselves. Heteniak, DePaul’s career leader in strikeouts per game, finished the college season with a 1.84 ERA and 217 strikeouts. Her professional debut has been equally impressive.

Akron Racers pitcher Lisa Norris boasted an undefeated pitching record through her first seven games of the season, including an extra-innings win in the eighth over the Chicago Bandits in early July. Photo by Akron Racers Media Relations.

Softball Today • July 2010

15 selections making an immediate impact. Pride utility player Amber Flores, the No. 5 overall pick, also hit a grand slam against Tennessee and has scored a gamewinning run, while Chicago Bandits were off to a 9-7 start behind pitcher Nikki Nemitz. “Nikki has been a pleasant surprise and is one of our best players,” Chicago general manager Aaron Moore said. Nemitz, the Big 10 pitcher of the year from the University of Michigan and a first-year member of Team USA, threw three no-hit innings in a 50 victory over the Rockford Hawks and was all over the field in a 6-5 extra-inning victory over Akron on June 26 – hitting her first career home run in the eighth inning and then picking up a save. “Nikki has done a tremendous job adapting to the league,” Bandits coach Mickey Dean said. “Her willingness to listen to the veteran players has helped her to have an immediate impact, both hitting and in the circle, where she leads our staff in innings pitched and strikeouts.” Nemitz, who went 28-7 at Michigan last year and finished her career with 92 wins in the circle, ranks fifth among NPF hurlers with a 2.25 ERA. She was 20 with two saves through her first 10 appearances. The Akron Racers, who were tied with the Pride for first place at the beginning of July, have excelled without a rookie on the roster, while the Tennessee Diamonds are relying on several firstyear players during their expansion season. DePaul’s Becca Heteniak, the No. 6 overall pick, No. 10 pick Loryn Johnson, from Texas, and No. 14 pick Carly Wynn from Florida State have each contributed to the team’s success along with Aubree Brattin, who won a roster spot following a tryout in May. The Diamonds, a re-creation of last year’s league champion Rockford Thunder squad, established their new home in Nashville and made one of the season’s biggest offseason moves by acquiring former University of Tennessee ace Monica Abbott from the Pride. Abbott led the league with a 0.20 ERA and 48 strikeouts at the start of

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Softball Today • July 2010

By Jeff Berlinicke

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Infielders are the key to any high school or college softball team. Sure, a great pitcher who can strikeout 21 batters a game comes in handy, but it’s the infielders that make the plays. It’s the middle infielders who not only are expected to hit and play the field, but also to take charge of positioning the outfield. Look out at any game and it’s usually the shortstop and second baseman signaling to the outfield where to play the next batter. Second and short are also positions that usually employ the teams’ best athlete. It’s different than in baseball, for instance, where the shortstop is there to bring his glove and maybe try to bat .250. In softball, many teams have their best player, especially their best hitter in the middle infield. When the UCLA Bruins walked away with their national championship in June, the two leadoff hitters – second baseman Gionna Salvatore and shortstop Monica Harrison combined for five hits and three RBI in the championship win over the Arizona Wildcats. Harrison set a record with 17 RBI in the

Women’s College World Series. Here are four players you will be hearing about for the next four years after successful high school careers: Marki Creger-Zier (Steilacoom, Wash.) Creger-Zier has a lot more going for her than just softball. She is a three-sport athlete who excelled at shortstop for the powerful Steilacoom softball program that somehow never won a state title with Creger-Zier. Still, she provided power in the middle infield that earned her a scholarship to the University of Washington, which was top-ranked in the nation for most of the 2010 season. She did a lot more for Steilacoom than just play softball. She placed fourth in the state crosscountry meet as a junior and was a star on the basketball court. She takes that speed to the softball field. “My speed is my key,’’ Creger-Zier said. “Everything comes down to hard work and I try to bring that every day.’’ Creger-Zier isn’t sure where she will play when she gets to Washington, a powerhouse that is close t0o home. She may move to the outfield or second base. She said she doesn’t mind as long as she gets

a chance to play for a powerful program that is close to home. She plays second base for her club team, the Northwest Blaze. Going to Washington was always her dream and she gets a chance to fulfill it even if she never won a state title at Steilacoom. “I always wanted to play for the Huskies,’’ Creger-Zier said. “From the time I started competing, the Washington purple and gold was always my dream.’’ With her speed, she still has some tough shoes to fill. She stole 49 bases in her freshman year at Steilacoom, but will be replacing Ashley Charters in the Washington lineup. Charters is the all-time base stealing leader at Washington. Chelsea Suitos (Elk Grove, Calif.) Chelsea Suitos was more worried about her life than her college decision in 2009 when she took a line drive to the head while breaking towards home plate on a pitch. She was wearing a batting helmet but that didn’t matter. The line drive off the bat while she was about 50 feet from home plate shattered her helmet. Suitos got up and said that everything was fine. She stayed in the game and actually scored,


Maddison Ruggeberg (Davenport, Iowa) There was never any doubt that Maddison Ruggeberg had the talent to play at the high Division I level. She could field, hit and was a leader at Davenport West High School. The only problem was that no one knew she was there. Iowa is the only state that plays high school ball in the summer and that’s

when major college coaches are recruiting AAU teams. Ruggeberg had done about all she could do in high school and decided she wanted to go to the University of Missouri, one of the top college programs in the country, after she attended the Missouri softball camp last winter. Missouri is a tough place to earn a scholarship, especially when you aren’t playing spring softball. That’s where Ruggeberg wanted to play, though, so she had an important decision to make after her junior year. She could play for her high school or play AAU ball for the Naperville Diamonds, a team that routinely plays in front of college coaches and offers much better exposure. Ruggeberg played high school ball since eighth-grade, but never received the kind of exposure she deserved. Her one trip to the Iowa state tournament in 2008 was wrecked by heavy rains and she had one hit in only three at-bats. She made the jump to AAU ball and it paid off. “It was my dream to go to Missouri,’’ Ruggeberg said. “I never would have gotten the chance because I needed to be seen. College coaches don’t come to a lot of high school games and I needed to be seen.’’ What the college coaches saw during that AAU summer was impressive. Ruggeberg batted .477 with 36 RBI in 40 games and the offers started pouring in, but Missouri was where she wanted to go. Kaila Hunt (Augusta, Ga.) Kaila Hunt never had any doubt where she would

spend her college years. She’s been committed to the University of Alabama since 10th grade and her thoughts never wavered. The shortstop is known as one of the best defensive players in the country and graduated from Greenbrier High School in Augusta, Ga., and this spring with Player of the Year honors. She stood out in AAU ball, but also enjoyed high school and playing as part of the team. She made that point clear when her team lost its second baseman as the season was coming down the stretch and Hunt had to become a vocal leader, not just a player who proves her point on the field, but also off. “It’s not the way I normally play,’’ Hunt said. “I am not usually outspoken but someone had to do it so I did it.’’ Hunt also has an attitude that is quiet, yet confident. “I know I can do it,’’ I have a lot of natural ability,’’ Hunt said. “A lot of it is hard work, but I have some natural ability.’’ Greenbrier has won 14 regional titles in a row and Hunt was named Class AAAAA Player of the Year this season. She was lauded by Alabama coach Pat Murphy as the top athlete in the entire state of Georgia and has won various offensive and defensive Player of the Year awards. During her senior season she hit .485 and ended her four-year career with 24 homers while spending her past summer playing for the Atlanta Vapors travel team.

Teams not only rely on their infielders for great defensive plays, but also to as offensive powerhouses to seal the deal on victories.

Softball Today • July 2010

but she doesn’t remember any of it. The shortstop was the anchor to the Elk Grove (Calif.) High softball team that made it to the runners-up section in the San Joaquin Section in Southern California. She stayed in the game, but after making a diving attempt at a foul ball, she was moved to left field. That wasn’t the end. While driving home, her mother saw that something was wrong and they went to the hospital. Suitos, who plays club ball for Sorcerer 18 Gold, wasn’t out of the woods. When she got to the hospital, her face was swollen and she began to hallucinate. She doesn’t remember much. “I began to hallucinate and I guess I was acting crazy,’’ she said. “I thought I felt fine.’’ It didn’t turn out to be fine. She lost much of her memory and had to relearn basic everyday tasks. She had signed to play for the University of Arizona, a national powerhouse, and Coach Mike Candrea said he never had any doubt that Suitos would make a full recovery. “She’s a great communicator who will bring a lot to this team. She’s a great player and we look forward to having her at Arizona.’’

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By Jeff Berlinicke

Softball Today • July 2010

Danielle Spaulding barely saw the softball that almost maimed her. It was little more than a green blur that came toward her from 43 feet away. Spaulding was pitching for the University of North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament Seattle Regional against the defending champion, Washington Huskies. The pitch came flying back at her and she could barely get her glove up fast enough to deflect the ball into her face. The pain didn’t register at first. She kept pitching until the Tar Heels lost 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning. It wasn’t until later she thought about how close she came to a serious injury. After barely catching a piece of the glove, it crashed into her chin. She never saw anything but a blur. “I threw a drop ball,’’ Spaulding said. “They weren’t hitting it so I kept throwing it. It came back so fast and so hard that all I could think of was to check to see if my teeth were still there. Spaulding is not the only pitcher who has been slammed by a line drive. Texas high schooler Brooke Graham had a line drive slam off of her forehead this spring

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Game Face Sports Safety Mask from www.markwort.com

that caused major reconstructive surgery. Her assistant coach Krystal McDonald said she saw a dent in her forehead about an inch deep and feared for her life. Several years ago, Lindsay Duval, a pitcher in central Florida took a line drive right off of her right eye. Her eye immediately turned purple. Oh, also, it was Prom Night. With the advanced technology in equipment and tighter softballs that allow for more distance, pitchers are at more of a risk than ever. Many high schools are moving the pitchers mound back by three feet, but the rockets are still coming. Is there a solution? Little by little, pitchers are turning to facial protection. Most pitchers today wear mouthpieces, but there are advanced facemasks that coaches and administrations are looking into. There are cage masks, much like a football player would wear, and there are plastic visors that are just as effective but tend to fog up at times. Most coaches are in favor of some

sort of facial protection. Most pitchers say they have no interest at all. “I never had a line drive hit that hard at my head,’’ Spaulding said. I’ve been hit in other parts of the body, but that was a one-time thing. I am against making it mandatory, but they should probably make them mandatory at a youth level. They are starting to hit the ball harder also.’’ Spaulding said she’s only seen one other pitcher get nailed in the head and it cost the pitcher several teeth. Kayla Cox, arguably the best pitcher in the Tampa Bay area this season, said she’s never been hit and doesn’t plan to be. She said there is no way she would consider facial protection. She’ll be entering her freshman year at North Carolina State this fall. “I would never wear a mask,’’ she said. “No way. It’s hard to see through them and I don’t feel comfortable. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I won’t wear a mask if I don’t have to.’’ Graham is the anomaly in the equation. After she was dinged she had to get a titanium place placed inside her head, right where her skull used to be. She’ll be pitching at San Jacinto College next season with a facemask, one with a vertical bar reaching from her nose to her chin, and a horizontal bar stretching across at nose level. There’s no room for a softball to get between the bars. Soon after the line drive that almost killer her, she said she wished she had used the face mask from day one. Some pitchers use face masks as well as first basemen and third basemen who are constantly charging toward the plate. It isn’t required, but the masks are easy to find and are slowly becoming more prevalent. Mary Struckhoff, Softball Rules Editor for the National Federation of High Schools, said there is not yet a movement to make facemasks mandatory. “The reaction times of pitchers are all different so some need to wear protective masks more than others,’’ Struckhoff said. “If you make facemasks mandatory, you might take away visibility that could make it easier for a pitcher to get hit in the chest.’’ North Carolina coach Donna Papa said the line drive that nailed Spaulding was a rarity, but she has no problem making facemasks mandatory. “The players don’t like them so I don’t think they should be mandatory at the college level, but you have to think of the technology going into the bats today,’’ Papa said. “They are really taking it to the next level but you should let the pitchers decide. If they aren’t comfortable with it then they absolutely should not be mandatory, but I would like to see them at a lower level.’’ It’s not an issue that is going to go away soon. But with technology increasing into the construction of the bats, the 43 feet distance between home plate and a concussion gets smaller and smaller.


CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO—When Ceri Anderson was brought on as the assistant coach for the Loveland Rage (Loveland, CO), she wanted to build a stable environment that would comfort a team and breed success. Seven years later, she’s done just that. “I have coached the team for seven years,” said Anderson—now the head coach for the Loveland Rage. “My first year, I was the assistant and now I’ve been the head coach for six years.” She not only brought stability to the coaching staff, but

also to the team and players themselves. The familiar environment year-after-year has allowed the team to focus on their game and take down higher-level teams. “Most of the girls have played together for six years and that consistency year-over-year is a big reason we have the success we do,” said Anderson. “Since 2005, our team has won 18 championships. We won the 2008 Colorado State tournament hosted by Triple Crown Sports and followed it up with a repeat in 2009.” For the 2010 season, the Rage has continued their top-notch performance in the usual fashion. “This season, we have entered four tournaments and took home championships in all four of them,” said

Loveland Rage catcher Addie Coldiron helped the pitching staff to five shutouts during the 16U Memorial Day Bash along with solid performances at the plate. Photo by Ceri Anderson.

Anderson. “One of those championships was in an 18U Open tournament where we defeated the 18A Colorado Stars in the championship game. Dating back to May 2009, we have won 10 of our past 11 tournaments with a record of 61-7-1.” The impressive numbers have not stopped there. The Rage brought their scoreboard reputation to the USSSA 16U Memorial Day Bash at the Metzler Ranch Community in Castle Rock where they put up big numbers where they counted and kept errors to a minimum. “The team averages less than one error per game,” said Anderson. “At the Memorial Day Bash, we went error-free in five of our seven games including every game during the Sunday elimination round.” A potent offense and near flawless defense allowed the Rage to outscore their opponents 52-4 throughout the tournament, including shutouts in five of their seven games. After the Loveland girls warmed up, there was no looking back as all of their runs against for the tournament came in the first two games against the Lady Huskies 16B (Florence Penrose, CO) and Colorado Kaos (Fruita, CO) in their 5-3 and 7-1 victories respectively. They then silenced the Thunderhawks (Henderson, CO), Brighton Pack 16 (Brighton, CO), Co Pony Express Thunder (Aurora, CO), Hitstreak Crushers (Rocky Ford, CO) and Colorado Springs Thunder (Colorado Springs, CO) for the tournament championship. Despite winning the tournament in dominating fashion, Anderson also teaches her girls to keep it classy and have respect for their opponents. “The pitcher for the Thunder, who we played in the championship game, had an amazing change up and a great off-speed pitch that really kept us off balance,” said Anderson. “We only won that game 2-0 off of defensive errors in the first inning. The Hitstreak edge also had a few big batters that could have really hurt us in the semi-final game, but luckily the weather was on our side.” With this victory boosting their overall 2010 record to 19-1, the Loveland Rage will look to repeat as Colorado state champions in 2010.

Softball Today • July 2010

By Anthony Bronson

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Reebok MÊLÉE Plus Engineered with a super, soft feel and explosive performance, the Reebok MÊLÉE Bat Series will dominate the competition in 2010. The optimal barrel flexibility is designed by using an exclusive, compression molded, seamless construction fused with super-light, aerospace grade carbon fiber and glass composite materials, resulting with one of the highest strength to weight ratios on the market. The Reebok MÊLÉE barrel provides extraordinary durability, no matter what associationapproved softball you play with. They better be ready when the MÊLÉE breaks out. • • • • •

Designed with one of the highest strength material ratios on the market Meets 1.20 BPF Standard Optimal Barrel Flexibility Reebok tackified handle grip USSSA, NSA, and ISA Approved

Review: Reebok MÊLÉE Plus Not one hitter in our bat review group had ever swung a Reebok bat before so there was certainly some great anticipation among our hitters before swinging this bat. By the second round of hitting, the comments were flying high. “I am shocked!” said James Villarreal. “I had never swung this bat before but this Reebok Melee is the real deal. The liners smoke off this bat and I am getting some great distance hits. This bat has added an extra 15 to 20 feet to my long hits.” “The ball really flies off this bat with ease and it has a very generous sweet spot.” said Joe Chapman. “This bat is a keeper.”

Softball Today • July 2010

“We absolutely beat this bat down and we had no durability problems.” said Sergio Sanchez Jr. “Wow, what an all around great ‘stick.’ The line drives are crisp and to go yard with this Melee is no problem. Way to go Reebok.”

The Score: Line Drives 93 Distance 93 Feel/Sting 92 Sweet Spot 94 Sound 90 Durability 100 Graphics 93

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Approved by USSSA, NSA and ISA.


Law/Miken shining through on a hot-tempered weekend in Houston. Wood Law/Miken beat Albicocco in a true Texas barn burner 26-25. It set up a true revenge match for the finals. Albicocco's/The Scene/Worth did exact their revenge as they proceeded with a double dip of Wood Law/Milken. It was Albicocco's first tournament win this season. Albicocco's Rick Sills was tournament MVP and Tony Mack was the defensive MVP. Woodlaw’s Matt Arlett was the offensive MVP. Albicocco's next stop will be the Dudley.

By Robert Campbell CONCORD, CALIFORNIA—The 22nd annual Mike Davis Memorial featured a very strong field. It was highlighted by the Best of the West. Early wins by Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s, GTL Cartel/Worth, Desert Falls, and Famous Sports.Com/Easton, set the pace for the tournament. A rare occurrence in today’s Conference softball was a second round no-hitter delivered by Dan Smith’s pitcher Geno Buck in a 30-0 victory. Dan Smith/Menosse/ Chaney’s continued its dominance with six run-ruled

games at this event and closed out the tournament with consecutive run-rules over “A” division power GTL Cartel/Worth. The tournament MVP was Dan Smith’s Brett Helmer and JD Genter was defensive MVP. GTL’S Jimmy Salas was the Offensive MVP. Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s would now move-on to Illinois. HOUSTON, TEXAS—The Space City Classic had this season’s largest field of teams at 42. The strength of this field shined through with Albicocco's/The Scene/Worth, Fence Brokers/Gametime supply/Worth, and Wood

BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA—The toughest field of the Conference USSSA season assembled for the 28th annual Dudley Easton Budweiser. It’s a venue with a rich softball tradition. The 2010 event showcased some very familiar front runners— Resmondo, Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s, GTL Cartel/Worth, Aubrey’s, and AJS/Easton/ Supreme/Mojo. Resmondo, once again, continued its dominance of the winner’s bracket by outlasting GTL with a 36-32 win and sending GTL to the loser bracket final to face Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s. The loser bracket saw some impressive performances that just fell short of the top 3 positions. Solid showings were had by

Softball Today • July 2010

USSSA “A” Division powerhouse GTL/Cartel/Worth has hit their stride, squaring off with USSSA “Majors” teams such as Resmondo and Dan Smith. Photo by M3 Images/D. Mascote.

JOLIET, ILLINOIS—The Windy City Busch Light NIT was possibly the season’s toughest field to date. The tournament was lead by Conference USSSA powers Resmondo, Dan Smith, and GTL Cartel/Worth. Resmondo rolled through the winner’s bracket with wins over EWS, and Dan Smith on their way to the Championship round. The loser bracket final featured Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s facing off against the red hot GTL Cartel/Worth. GTL outlasted Dan Smith in an early morning battle. Resmondo and GTL would square off in the Windy City finals. Resmondo/SpecialtyTank/ Phonemasters did not take long to dispatch with GTL and run-ruled them in the finals by a score of 37-19. GTL has truly hit a winning stride and definitely stands out among the ‘A’ programs. They should make an impact at next week’s 28th Annual Dudley Easton Budweiser. The tournament MVP was Andy Purcell and Defensive MVP was Greg Connell of Resmondo. GTL’S Jimmy Salas was the Offensive Tournament MVP and Dan Smith’s Brett Helmer received honors.

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Aubreys/Taylormade/ Mizuno 5-2, AJS/Easton/Supreme/Mojo 6-2, and Northwest Combat 4-2. Sunday morning would lead off with a battle of familiar semi-finalists this year—GTL Cartel Worth and Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s. The two have posted some of the best Conference USSSA games this season. This game was very close and both defenses would show their might. Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s would be the walk-off winner in a tight bout by a score of 27-26. Dan Smith would avenge their earlier loss. The two Major titans would now meet in the finals of the 28th Dudley as many predicted. Resmondo/SpecialtyTank/Phonemasters would struggle early as Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s had the upper hand. The game tightened up midway as Resmondo offense started to roll. Resmondo would outlast Dan Smith by a score of 35-25 and take the 28th Annual Dudley Easton Budweiser. Resmondo now has five and Dan Smith has four Conference USSSA tournament titles this season. Resmondo was lead by MVP Greg Connell. Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney’s Geno Buck was the Offensive MVP and Rick Baker was the Defensive MVP. The series now heads to Connecticut, Arkansas, Washington, and Tennessee respectively.

Early tournament Conference USSSA action from Sandlot yielded impressive results for fans who wanted to see high-scoring games and hot defensive units. Photo by M3 Images/D. Mascote.

Softball Today • July 2010

Conference USSSA Top 20

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1. ResmondoSpecialtyTankPhoneMasters 2. Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney 3. GTL CARTEL/WORTH 4. Northwest Combat/ CJ Financial 5. Sinister/Line Drive/Worth/Mojo 6. EWS/SHIRTS and LOGOS 7. Fence Brokers/Gametime Supply/Worth 8. Albicocco's/The Scene/Worth 9. AJS/Easton/Supreme/Mike Foulks/Mojo 10. Aubrey's/TaylorMade/Mizuno

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Wood Law/Miken Logo Express Hub's Pub Jean Shoppe-Easton-Down2EarthSports Blitz/Watanabe/Weller/Minges/Easton FamousSports.com/Easton Elite Sports U.S.A./Combat TEAM COMBAT/LASER VISION Pipac/TCP/Easton Suncoast/Reebok


SALEM, VIRGINIA—Plumbright/TAC of Ruther Glen, VA has all the right ingredients including consistency and team chemistry. Regarding consistency, they have now won seven of the last 10 tournaments they have played in this year. On the chemistry side, they have combined the “best-of-the-best” explained their manager Raymond Hess “The team is mainly a combination of Caroline Softball and Plumbright Softball. We were big rivals in the past but we decided to join forces in the off season.” Their combination of consistency and team chemistry was lethal for their opponents as they compiled a perfect 4-0 record at this year’s Best of the West C/D NIT tournament held at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, VA. In game one, Plumbright/TAC got some consistent hitting throughout the line up as they went on to earn a 20-11 victory over the Outlaws from Honaker, VA. In game two Plumbright/TAC scored a 17-14 victory against Best Oil/Can Man Carting from Waterbury, CT. Plumbright/TAC was down 13 to 12 in the seventh inning when Scott Zyglocke had a base clearing triple that helped put the game away. In the undefeated game, Plumbright/TAC defeated Shen Valley Merchants 15-9. They got off to an early lead with some clutch hitting and great defense. Mike Osbourne and Ab Carter had an outstanding game at the plate as both players produced timely RBI hits. Chad Mawyer and Cory Martin made some great defensive plays to help secure the victory. In the championship game, the two teams squared off once again. Shen Valley had their work cut out for themselves as they would need to defeat Plumbright/TAC two games in a row to secure the tournament victory. However, Plumbright/TAC would not be denied as they combined timely hitting and stingy defense to

defeat Shen Valley Merchants 25-9. The team got off to an early 18-0 lead and cruised home with the tournament championship. Wayne Coleman and Rey Salmon were offensive stars with Jeff Morgan, Eric Snoddy and Daniel Hicks all leading the defense to victory.

“We are hoping to win at least one State and one National this year to go along with our two NIT wins,” said Hess. We have qualified for Nationals in USSSA, ASA, WSL & NSA already. We have a very strong team and we give a lot of credit to our sponsors Plumright, EC Management & TAL. The tournaments we are able to participate in and the traveling involved with those tournaments would not be possible without them.”

Softball Today • July 2010

By Robert Campbell

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Worth Resmondo Titan 5.4L • 5.4L – Multilayer design that extends the length of the sweetspot 2” toward the endcap • EIP / RAV – Technologically advanced manufacturing processes and Worth’s proprietary high strength, high elongation epoxy system ensures the highest quality composite bats available • 1.20 BPF – Multilayer composite core designed to provide exceptional rebound and maximum durability • 100% Composite – Barrel is made solely from composite materials • Flex – Handle stiffness and barrel flexibility optimized to provide maximum batted ball speed • Resmondo – Maximum end load for maximum power • Multiwall – Increased performance due to more flexible barrels • Approved by USSSA, NSA, ISF, and all other Associations using 1.20 BPF standard • One Year Warranty • Length / Weight: 34”/30oz, 34”/29oz, 34”/28oz, 34”/27oz, 34”/26oz • $299.95 MSRP

Review: Worth Resmondo Titan 5.4L Perhaps the biggest surprise our group of hitters encountered with the Resmondo Titan was how quickly this bat was producing at a high level performance. “This bat was hitting bombs right from the start of our hitting session and remained productive throughout the day.” said Allen Banks “This bat is the liveliest U-trip bat I have swung thus far this season.”

Softball Today • July 2010

“This Resmondo Titan will replace my current USSSA bat. This bat has it all, awesome graphics, generous sweet spot and it delivers the tremendous distance you desire as a long ball hitter.” Jacob Bennett

The Score: Line Drives 95 Distance 93 Feel/Sting 91 Sweet Spot 94 Sound 92 Durability 100 Graphics 94

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Approved by USSSA, NSA, ISF, and all other Associations using 1.20 BPF standard


Worth Toxic Titan SBTNC2 • 5.4L – Multilayer design that extends the length of the sweetspot 2” toward the endcap • EIP / RAV – Technologically advanced manufacturing processes and Worth’s proprietary high strength, high elongation epoxy system ensures the highest quality composite bats available • Flex – Handle stiffness and barrel flexibility optimized to provide maximum batted ball speed • Balanced – Balanced weight distribution for maximum bat control and consistency • 100% Composite – Barrel is made solely from composite materials • Multiwall – Increased performance due to more flexible barrels • Approved by ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISF, and other Associations • One Year Warranty • Length / Weight: 34”/30oz, 34”/28oz, 34”/27oz, 34”/26oz • $299.95 MSRP

Review: Toxic Titan SBTNC2 We had a good mix of base hitters and long ball hitters during this round of bat reviews. While most of our hitters had heard of the Worth Toxic Titan, no one in our group had actual swung this bat before. “I have always had great success swinging Worth bats and this Worth Toxic Titan is no exception,” said Joe Contreras. “This is certainly one of the top bats I have swung this season and it delivered some serous bombs throughout our hitting sessions.”

The Score: Line Drives 95 Distance 95 Feel/Sting 91 Sweet Spot 92 Sound 93 Durability 100

Softball Today • July 2010

“This bat is flat out the liveliest bat I have ever swung in my life,” said Conrad Flores. “The liners are spinning off this bat with ease and this stick is changing me from a warning track power guy to a long-baller. Durability wise, we have hit this several hundred times and the bat shows no durability problems. This will be the new bat in my tournament arsenal from here on out.”

Graphics 93 Approved by USSSA, NSA and ISA.

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Miken Freak + Players Model MODEL: MSFPPM • Length/Weight: 34/26, 34/27, 34/28, 34/30 • E-Flex™/ESD™- ESD™ Extended Sweetspot Design extra long barrel construction produces the industry's largest sweetspot for unmatched performance and consistency. • 100 Comp™ - 100% Composite is engineered utilizing 100% premium aerospace grade fiber to deliver Miken's legendary performance and durability. • New X-Tack™ Plus provides extreme knob grip for even more control. • 13 1/2” Barrel Length. • 2 1/4” Barrel Diameter. • Approved for USSSA, NSA, ISA. • Made in the U.S.A.

Review: Miken Freak + Players Model With an excited group of experienced tournament hitters on hand, we had the privilege of testing the 2011 Miken Freak + Players Model. First off the players loved the “Cool” blue color of the bat. Once the serious hitting got started the positive comments began to fly. “This stick is unreal I actually like this bat more then the original Miken Freak.” Said Sergio Sanchez Jr. “The liners were screaming off this bat and the distance our group was getting was fantastic. The only negative remark I can say is there goes next Friday’s pay check, this bat is absolutely a keeper.”

Softball Today • July 2010

“I’m not much of a long ball hitter but this Freak Plus has given me some great distance.” said Ed Rhoads. “This bat is like that battery commercial the line drives just keep going and going and going.”

The Score: Line Drives 95 Distance 93 Feel/Sting 91 Sweet Spot 94 Sound 92 Durability 100 Graphics 94

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Approved by USSSA, NSA and ISA.


By Anthony Bronson

Sacramento rivals—Watchaa (Sacramento, CA)—in a 212 beat down. “The undefeated game was pure domination by Watchaa,” said Tignor. “We came out really flat while they came out hitting and never stopped. We had beaten them five times in a row since the start of the season and they really owed us one.” California Love was quick to return the favor in the championship game as they mounted a late-game comeback to narrowly overcome Watchaa 18-17 for the tournament win. “We were losing 17-9 in the bottom of the sixth with two outs,” Tignor said. “The last two innings were magical. There was a sense of calm when we were down eight like we knew we were going to come back.” With the Carson City Midnight Madness victory under their belts, California Love looks forward to worlds competition and making a name for themselves. Tignor is making his call ahead of time. “My predictions for the team going forward are we will compete with the rest of the teams in Northern California for the top spot,” said Tignor. “I also predict that we can be one of the best teams at the Western Worlds in Aurora, CO in September if we keep playing together with passion and intensity.” Mark his words.

Softball Today • July 2010

CARSON CITY, NEVADA—As one of the rising stars on the USSSA slow pitch scene, California Love/Wicked Sports (Sacramento, CA) has been on the move tallying their most recent win at the Centennial Park Complex in the Carson City Midnight Madness Memorial Day “E.” As a splinter team from a previously built and established USSSA slow pitch program, the boys from Cali Love decided to set out on their own journey to become one of the top “E” division slow pitch programs in the United States. “Six of us played together last year,” said California Love team manager Jon Tignor Jr. “We decided to try to get our team. We have a real good mix of guys that really get along with each other.” The team has accomplished significantly more than trying. In fact, the Northern California team is prepared to take their gloves off and compete with the top USSSA slow pitch teams in the west. “We won an NIT in Yuba City, CA on April 17 to win a berth to the worlds,” said Tignor. “We have been trying to raise money to go to Colorado for the worlds.” California Love has been on a hot streak, boasting a 31-7 record in their last seven

tournaments despite an incomplete team. “We have played in 15 total tournaments this year,” said Tignor. “The Carson City Midnight Madness Memorial was the first time we had our entire team there. However, we have still managed to pull out five tournament wins this year.” The California boys went to work early in the tournament, outscoring and stunning their first three opponents 63-13. With strong offensive firepower early on, they were able to knock down Misfits CC (Dayton, NV) 26-5, Espn (Stockton, CA) in a dominating 20-1 victory and Norcal Misfits Allstars (Chico, CA) 17-7. Their next two games against Cali Gold 2 (Patterson, CA) and Monster Wood (Ceres, CA) however, were not nearly as much of a cake-walk by any stretch of the imagination. “There were a couple of turning points in a couple of close games,” said Tignor. “We came back against Cali Gold 2 in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up by one. We shut them down in the top of the seventh to take the win. In our fifth game against Monster Wood, we were up four and they were mounting a comeback. Our third baseman, Ryan Duncan, steered a line drive to end the game, but our defense was the real key in these close games.” After escaping a few near misses, Cali Love enjoyed one more victory before they were knocked down by their

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USSSA “E” Division heavyweight California Love/Wicked Sports rallied back from a late-game deficit to claim the throne to the Carson City Midnight Madness E Tournament. Photo by California Love.


DeMarini The One: MLC (aka Misery Loves Company) • The ONE: MLC (aka Misery Loves Company) brings the features of DeMarini’s two-piece bats to the plate with a one-piece mid-weight feel. • 4.ONE Stacked Composite Barrel- Using this specially designed 13” composite barrel, players get the solid feel and the responsiveness of a one-piece bat. • SC4 Alloy Handle – DeMarini’s stiffest handle to date constructed with the strongest alloy manufactured by DeMarini • Approved by: USSSA, NSA and ISA

Review: The ONE: MLC (aka Misery Loves Company) This bat was the highlight in a long day of bat reviews as our hitters absolutely enjoyed one of DeMarini’s latest offerings. “The One” MLC is well named in this case as our hitters were wowed!!! About the bats overall performance—“This bat is now my new favorite stick for this season.” said James Villarreal. “This bat is sick, the line drives are screaming off this bat and the distance myself and these other guys are getting is unbelievable.”

The Score: Line Drives 94 Distance 95 Feel/Sting 93 Sweet Spot 93 Sound 92 Durability 100

Softball Today • July 2010

By the second round of hitting, the players were unanimously giving this bat two thumbs up. “The line drives were smoking off this bat and the distance many of the bombs were flying was incredible. As far as durability, we hit this bat between 350-400 times and other then the balls marks there were no signs of any durability issues,” said Ed Rhoads.

Graphics 91 Approved by USSSA, NSA and ISA.

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Chandler, AZ’s Cheba Hut compiled a flawless 6-0 record and outscored their opponents 60-33 to solidify their victory in the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” NSA/Easton Memorial Classic. Photo courtesy of Geno Chavez.

Softball Today • July 2010

By Anthony Bronson

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AVONDALE, ARIZONA—With a team that sounds like something straight out of a Star Wars movie, Cheba Hut (Chandler, AZ) has made little appearances in the NSA, but has left a huge impression. “We have played in 17 tournaments this year,” said Cheba Hut team manager Geno Chavez. “We are a regular USSSA team and 15 of the tourneys we have played in were USSSA tournaments. We have only made appearances in two NSA tournaments this year.” Splashing onto the NSA stage, Cheba Hut tallied their fifth tournament win of this year at the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” NSA/Easton Memorial Classic, however this is not their first win in the NSA this year. “We won another NSA ‘Real Skilz’ tournament two weeks ago,” said Chavez. “We went 6-0 in a really strong bracket and won the championship with a 24-14 win in the final game.” Batting 1.000 in NSA slowpitch tournaments so far this year, Cheba Hut faced an equally fierce field to fight through in the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” memorial. As the top-seeded team in the tournament, they were able to sit back and watch some of their competition because of their first round bye.

Suiting up for their first game against unranked WaCha (Cashion, AZ), Cheba Hut kept one goal in the back of their mind. “We just wanted to play exceptionally solid defense and keep up a high team batting average for the tournament,” said Chavez. “Our confidence level has been very high for every player because of our recent NSA victory in the same kind of tournament.” The boys from Chandler were meeting their tournament goals in the very first game with a violent 21-0 shutout beat down of Wa-Cha, making a statement for the rest of the tournament. “Matthew Chilton is a key player in most of our games with his fierce knuckle ball and excellent defense up the middle,” said Chavez. “He is also one of our top three hitters in batting averages and that really helped us get the tournament off on the right foot.” With an early statement made, Cheba Hut faced little resistance on their road to the championship game. They knocked down G-Squad (Glendale, AZ) in a 19-4 victory and Latinos (Phoenix, AZ) 17-10 to punch their ticket to the championship match. “We prevailed over every team fairly easily up until the championship game,” said Chavez.

“Although the further we advanced in the bracket, the smaller our margin of victory became. It forced all of us to step it up every game.” Cheba Hut’s clash with Softball Junkies (Phoenix, AZ) was a jockey for position the entire game. “No team was really in control during this game,” said Chavez. “We kept going back and forth with lead changes and ended up tying the game at 10 and going into extra innings.” Softball Junkies made the first strike in extra innings, scoring two runs and putting them up 12-10. To fans, it looked as if Cheba Hut’s fate had been sealed. “Keith Benjamin and myself were able to get on base and Zach Cortier drove me in set us up to take the win,” said Chavez. “Then Justin Gill had a walk-off hit up the middle, which drove in two runs and secured the victory for us.” With the nail-biter win, Cheba Hut took first place in the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” NSA/Easton Memorial Classic along with 12 new Easton bats, which will aid them in USSSA Worlds competition. “We plan on playing in the NSA D Worlds West in Las Vegas in August, USSSA E Worlds West in Denver and USSSA D Worlds in Orlando the following week,” said Chavez.


Softball Today Magazine  

Softball Today Magazine is the nation's leading Softball Publication. Each issue of Softball Today is packed with Fast and Slow pitch cover...

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