Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pride Send Salling to Rebellion, Get Kamekona

The USSSA Pride filled one of their biggest holes in a great way on Wednesday, acquiring all-NPF second baseman Amanda Kamekona from the Pennsylvania Rebellion.

Kamekona had been “franchised” by the Rebellion, meaning they controlled her rights until the end of April; she had told me that she wanted to look at all of her options instead of just acquiescing to the franchise tag. It’s worth noting that, since the Rebellion had not actually signed Kamekona to a contract, the Pride actually only acquired the rights to her.

In return, Jenn Salling is headed north, as is an as-yet unnamed player to be named later. Salling has been a defensive replacement and gotten spot starts pretty much her entire career in the league, and with the Pride’s drafting of two more shortstops who looked to start out ahead of her on the depth chart, Salling’s role seemed quite undefined and perhaps even non-existent. Now, in Pennsylvania, she’s likely to have a greater role and certainly figures to rely on her experience as a college and international star in mentoring the rookies and young players on the Rebellion.

I’ve not seen a trade in the NPF before that included a “player to be named later”, so I’m not 100% entirely sure how that aspect of the trade will work, but from where I stand, it looks like another great trade from the perspective of both teams.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Maddie O'Brien Steps Into Justin's World

One of the finest players on the field this year, and one of the "surprises" for a lot of people has been Florida State's slugging infielder Maddie O'Brien

A breakout power hitter - she's broken both the single-season and school career home run records this season - O'Brien has proven to be one of the most dangerous hitters in the country. At this point in time, I'd call her one of the top twenty overall prospects for the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch draft (despite one of her answers below).

Not only a great hitter, but also a stellar defender (three errors in more than 120 chances this season) and a team leader, Maddie is the epitome of what a softball player should be - stupendous on the field and a role model for both her peers and younger players.

Topics discussed included... 
- How redshirting her true freshman year may have been a good thing
- How she keeps her focus during a record-breaking year
- Mental preparedness
- Her favorite away stadium to play in
- Her future plans
- Her hilarious accidental text to head coach Lonni Alameda
- The patented Robinson Crusoe question (of course)

Be sure you are connected with Maddie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @MaddieOB7

Justin’s World: Although Im sure its not the way you would have preferred to begin your collegiate career, but did redshirting your true freshman year help you adapt to the college game better and come out of the gates swinging, if you will?
Maddie O’Brien:
Redshirting my freshman year allowed me to see the game from a different side, as well as learn more about the game. I would stand right next to Coach Alameda and she would talk to me about why we were throwing a certain pitch in a certain situation or where our defense should play on a certain hitter and why. It gave me that extra year to push myself to become more knowledgeable about the game at the college level.

Justin’s World: You seem to get better and better as each season goes on; to what do you attribute that progression and growing success?
Maddie O’Brien: As the years go on you learn to appreciate your opportunities and how to capitalize on them. College has flown by and every year I try to remind myself that my time playing at FSU is soon coming to an end and I need to make the best of it.

Justin’s World: Of course, your 2014 season (even just so far) has been your best one yet. Youve broken records and set new ones; already bested your previous season-high in home runs, with most of conference play still to go; and youve made some incredible defensive plays. When youre playing as lights-out as you seem to be, how do you keep yourself focused and on-point at-bat to at-bat and play-to-play?
Maddie O’Brien: First off, THANK
YOU! None of my successes thus far could have been possible without my Seminole Family. When I am feeling good at the plate, I try to stay in the present moment as much as possible. I can't let myself think back and I can't let myself jump ahead. I am constantly reminded that this game is a game of failures and I have to be okay with it. On defense, I also have to stay with the "pitch by pitch" mentality. Having a routine and a release point also make me more relaxed when I'm hitting and playing defense.

Justin’s World: When you get on a hot streakas you have been, does it affect your mental preparation for each at-bat?
Maddie O’Brien: Seeing the ball well at the plate definitely allows me to be more relaxed and confident.

Justin’s World: Like I mentioned above, youve recently etched your name firmly into the FSU record books, and still have a good bit of time to raise the numbers beside your name. How does it feel to know you will be remembered for years to come as one of the best players in Seminole softball history?
Maddie O’Brien: It feels so awesome! I am so grateful got every opportunity Coach Alameda and FSU have given me. Like I said before, I could not have achieved this without my Seminole Family. My teammates have paved the
way for me to break these records and it really goes to show how all of our hard work for each other is paying off. It is really cool to permanently be a part of such an amazing legacy here at FSU.

Justin’s World: What does being a Seminole and representing Florida State University embody for you?

Maddie O’Brien: At Florida State University there is such a rich history of tradition as well as legacy. Being able to represent FSU in a softball jersey has been amazing. Sometimes I feel like I am some kind of celebrity when we get asked to sign autographs or take pictures, but I am soaking it all up now because I know that one day the only thing I'll be signing are my checks when I pay bills. LOL! Being a Seminole has been so special and I really feel like I have a second family up here in Tallahassee, FL. Everyone from my coaches, to my teammates, and even our support staff has made me feel a part of the Seminole Family from day one and that is not something you get everywhere.

Justin’s World: Other than Graf Field, whats your favorite field or stadium to play in?
Maddie O’Brien: Either at Alabama or UF because there is always a huge crowd and it feels like you're in postseason competing at the World Series.

Justin’s World: What are your plans for the future? Is continuing to play softball, either at a professional or international level, something you hope or would like to do, or are you preparing for college to be “it” for your days in cleats?
Maddie O’Brien: I love this game, but AS OF NOW, I am actually looking to start my career after college. I would like to be a part of the MLB Network team as a TV Host/Analyst. I love baseball and think it would be a dream to be able to talk about all day long for my job.

Justin’s World: If you had to set just one goal for the remainder of this season and the rest of your collegiate career, what would you hope to accomplish?
Maddie O’Brien: Become an All-American First Team player after making it to OKC.

Finish this sentence: If not for softball, I would be NOWHERE!

- Funniest practical joke or prank you
ve ever played on someone or had played on you
My sophomore year I accidentally texted Coach Alameda "Good Morning lovey dovey" instead of my boyfriend and so our strength coach, Coach Quinn, made me a shirt for one of our workouts with "Lovey Dovey" written on the back of it. *laughs*

- If you could trade places with anyone in history for a twenty-four hour day, who would it be and why?
I've always wanted to be a model or a fashion designer soooo- Donatello Versace or Vera Wang

- Say youre stranded on a deserted island (Robinson Crusoe-style), but youre allowed to take three individual things with you. Boats and phones are off-limits. What would you carry along?
For survival: Fire starter, knife, and an unlimited supply of Cheez-Its! For fun: My family, my dog Ryder, and my yoga mat.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Roundup

News, Notes, and Milestones:
  • 2014 Winter Olympian and former George Washington softball star Elana Meyers threw out the first pitch at the Atlanta Braves game on Thursday. A video was posted here.
  • Coaching "W" milestones reached this week: Ehren Earleywine, Missouri, #500; Craig Nicholson, Arizona State, #1000; Kyla Holas, Houston, #500; Sandy Montgomery, SIU-Edwardsville, #900.
  • USA Softball star (and former Cal slugging star) Valerie Arioto threw out the first pitch at the San Diego Padres game over the weekend. A photo collage was posted here.
  • Minnesota's Sara Moulton set the Gophers record for strikeouts, surpassing the previous record of 1,122 that had been held by now-pitching coach Piper Ritter.
  • Congrats to the pitchers on this week's edition of the No-No Express! (If I missed somebody that belongs on this list, please bring it to my attention so I can give them the recognition they deserve):
    • Anna Miller, USC-Upstate (5.0 IP, 1 BB, 12 SO)
    • Courtney Mirabella, NC State (5.0 IP, 0 BB, 6 SO)
    • Sara Nevins, South Florida (7.0 IP, 1 BB, 10 SO)
    • Emily Mayes, Davenport (NAIA) (5.0 IP, 3 BB, 8 SO)
    • Tori Almond/McKenna Bull/Ashley Thompson, BYU (5.0 IP, 1 BB, 6 SO)
    • Kate Poppe, Villanova (7.0 IP, 4 BB, 12 SO)
    • Krista Lewis, Christopher Newport (7.0 IP, 0 BB, 3 SO) - PERFECT GAME

Photo of the Week: 
The North Texas Mean Green show support for injured teammate
Karly "Karl" Williams.

Player of the Week: 
We have just three players up for the Justin's World National Player of the Week honor this week. Each representing a different school and conference, they all appear on a poll at the top of the right sidebar on this page. You can cast your vote and encourage others to do so until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 17, 2014. The candidates for the award are:
  • Alexis Cantu, Creighton - .429, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB
  • Sammi Gallardo, Buffalo - .421, 6 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R, 1 2B
  • Megan Low, UTSA - .455, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top 25 National Player of the Year Finalists Announced

Whittled down from a pre-season list of fifty, the top twenty-five finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year award were announced today.

Made up of twelve seniors, ten juniors, three sophomores, and zero freshmen, the final twenty-five include seventeen players that were also on the pre-season watch list, as well as eight newcomers. Nine schools are represented by two players on the list, while seven other institutions are represented by a single individual.

Some of the most notable names on the pre-season list not to be named finalists include Oklahoma slugger Lauren Chamberlain, who has been sidelined by injury. Jenny Gilbert, Katilin Inglesby, and Laura Winter also were not named finalists for the award.

Those added to the "pack" include Sammy Marshall of Western Illinois; Maddie O'Brien of Florida State; and Farish Beard of South Alabama, all of whom presently lead the nation in certain statistical categories. Marshall holds the #1 spot in batting average, hitting .522 thus far on the year, while O'Brien's sixteen home runs are tied for the top spot in that category,(with UTSA's Megan Low). Beard has the top spot all to herself in the ERA category, where her stellar 0.64 sets the bar high.

The entire Top 25 list can be seen below by clicking "Read More", via a table provided by For a photo lineup of the twenty-five finalists and to read the full release, follow this link. I've added stars to denote those players who were not on the pre-season watch list, but were named as finalists for the award.

The top 10 finalists for the award will be named on May 7, while the eventual winner will be revealed prior to the start of the WCWS.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Roundup

News, Notes, and Milestones:
  • Plenty of school records were broken and re-set this week. Houston slugging catcher Haley Outon set the school's career RBI record over the weekend, driving in her 179th career run and Long Beach State pitching ace Erin Jones-Wesley set her school's career wins record in the first game of a weekend series against UC-Riverside.
  • Several coaches earned milestone victories as well, including Jenny Allard of Harvard (#500); Dick Blood of Cornell (#600); and Stetson's Frank Griffin (#600).
  • Florida State superstar shortstop Maddie O'Brien broke the Seminoles single-season home run record and was rewarded with a pie to the face (much to the delight of teammate Courtney Senas). The hilarious GIF is here: OBrienGIF
  • WATCH: Former Georgia Tech star & ex-NPF'er Kelsi Weseman took part in a home run derby for charity. She's still got that smooth swing - the Vine video is here.
  • READ: This article on softball-playing sisters Ashlyn & Lauren Masters is definitely worth a read.
  • Congrats to the pitchers on this week's edition of the No-No Express! (If I missed somebody that belongs on this list, please bring it to my attention so I can give them the recognition they deserve):
    • Megan Betsa, Michigan - (5.0 IP, 2 BB, 8 SO)
    • Kirsten Verdun, DePaul - (6.0 IP, 1 BB, 4 SO)
    • Tori Speckman, Buffalo - (7.0 IP, 3 BB, 10 SO)

Photo of the Week: 
L-R: Akron Racers OF, ex-Georgia star, and Ohio assistant coach
Taylor Schlopy; Akron Racers owner & GM Joey Arrietta;
ex-LSU & Racers star and Buffalo head coach Trena Peel.
*--- Photo courtesy: Akron Racers Facebook page ---*

Player of the Week: 
We have eight players up for the Justin's World National Player of the Week honor this week. Representing eight different schools and five different conference, they all appear on a poll at the top of the right sidebar on this page. You can cast your vote and encourage others to do so until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The candidates for the award are:
  • Kailee Cuico, Oregon - .462, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
  • Lexie Elkins, Louisiana-Lafayette - .500, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB
  • Taylor Hasselbach, Michigan - .400, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R
  • Katiyana Mauga, Arizona - .625, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R, 5 H, 4 BB
  • Haley Outon, Houston - .556, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 SB
  • Shellie Robinson, USC-Upstate - .467, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB
  • Haley Steele, Arizona State - .600, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 2B, 3 R, 1 BB
  • Taylor Thom, Texas - .727, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R, 4 BB, 2 SB

Friday, April 4, 2014

Senior CLASS Award Finalists Announced

The Top 10 softball finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award have been announced, and fan voting is now open to select a winner. Fan votes count for 1/3 of the award, with balloting from D1 coaches and national media members making up the other portions.

At present time, Tennessee's Madison Shipman leads the voting with 27.3% of the fan vote, while Alabama infielder Kaila Hunt currently stands in second place, with 17.8%. Sara Nevins of South Florida and Hannah Rogers of the Florida Gators make up the rest of the clear leaderboard, while three other players are within 0.3% of each other behind them.

You can cast your  vote by visiting the Senior CLASS Award website here and casting your vote. You can vote for up to three of the eligible players at a time, and you can vote once daily per voting device (computer, tablet, phone). 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 NPF Draft - Recap & Analysis

The 2014 NPF Draft was held last night in Nashville, Tennessee. While I wasn't in attendance, the league offered a live stream on their website, and I tuned into that full broadcast. Below, there's a breakdown and analysis of each pick, as well as grades for each of the teams and my post-draft "awards".

The Pride carried an already-almost-full roster into draft day, while the Racers only had nine players on their roster. Both the Bandits and Rebellion fell in the middle of that spectrum.

Of the twenty draft selections, twelve were split evenly between the Racers and Rebellion. The defending-champion Pride had only three, while the Bandits carried five. The draft order was determined based on teams' finish after the regular season last year, so the Rebellion led off, while the Bandits would finish the first round.

I would like to note that, minus a premature unmuting of the goings-on in Nashville that led to anyone tuning in being privy to the instructions for applause cues, the production quality of last night's draft was very good. I know some other viewers had a few problems with the volume, but mine was just fine all night. The on-camera personalities were a different story, but I felt the Middle Tennessee students in the truck and involved with the production of the stream deserved kudos for their efforts.

Analysis of Draftees
As widely predicted, the Rebellion did go with a pitcher in the first round, although it was not who I nor many others had expected. They chose Dallas Escobedo out of Arizona State. As you'll recall, I had mock-drafted Escobedo at #18, going in the fifth round. I still stand by that pick, as well as my analysis that she's a good college pitcher, but I don't believe she'll translate well to the pros. Either way, the Rebellion and owner Stu Williams were eager to add her to their team early and did so.

The Pride came in at #2, thanks to the Brittany Mack trade with Akron last summer. With the pick, they selected Madison Shipman, a shortstop out of Tennessee. This was a pick that puzzled me at first, given that they already have an all-star and gold-medal-winning shortstop in Natasha Watley. However, with the second base job still up for grabs following the retirement of Ashley Charters, the Pride may try to convert one of their surplus of power-hitting shortstops to be the every day second-sacker. Shipman was a player that I expected to go very high, so this pick did not surprise me at all.

At #3 were the Akron Racers, following another trade that got them back into the first round. They made a big announcement earlier in the day, signing 2013 draft pick Brianna Cherry to a contract to play this season, so it got Racer fans in an excited mood from the very beginning. With the pick, they chose Hannah Campbell, a picture from South Alabama. Campbell has a quality arm and one of the best ERAs in the nation. Of the rookies drafted and/or signed so far, she could be the early Andi Williamson of 2014.

The first really surprising pick of the draft came early, by the Bandits at #4. They chose a pitcher, Estela Pinon of Arizona. Pinon was not even someone that was on my radar to be drafted at all, much less so early. It does baffle me a bit as to why she was chosen so early; she might be a capable pitcher, but I don't believe she was worth such an early draft choice. I believe they could have easily let her fall a round or even two and still had an opportunity to make her a Bandit.

The first choice of the 2nd round belonged to the Bandits, thanks to the "snake" format of the draft. With the 5th overall pick, Bill Sokolis' squad chose Sara Moulton out of Minnesota. One of the best pitchers in the country, while also one of the most unheralded, Moulton is well on her way to another stellar season this year, and while I had originally pegged her as a late round 2-3 choice, I think going at #5 was an excellent and appropriate spot for her.

At #6, the Pride inexplicably chose... another shortstop? Yup, sure enough, Don DeDonatis picked up Courtney Ceo from the University of Oregon, his second acquired shortstop in as many rounds. With Ceo now also in the fold, I think it's a bit more likely that she rather than Shipman is first in line for the potential conversion to second base, if that is in fact the route they want to take. Also like Shipman, Ceo adds a humongously-powerful bat to the Pride lineup.

Akron had the seventh choice, and they drafted hitting pitcher Laura Winter out of Notre Dame. An excellent pitcher, she's also a solid hitter. She hit seventeen home runs last year, but only has a single roundtripper to her credit this season. In the circle, she's mowing hitters down left and right and recently set the Irish career strikeout record. She will fit nicely into the rotation with Rachele Fico & Campbell.

Following that, the Rebellion had two straight choices at #8 and #9. They opted to take a catcher first, selecting Taylor Edwards of Nebraska. With a gaping hole behind the plate, this was a great choice. Edwards is a power-hitting catcher that also calls a good game. Barring the signing of a free agent veteran catcher and even with Lauren Lappin in the fold, Edwards may move right into a starting spot. Following her, at #9, the Rebellion chose Bryana Walker out of Washington. Admittedly, I thought Kaitlin Inglesby would be the first Husky name to be called, but Walker is a fairly solid pick in and of herself. I don't think she'll be a top-of-the-rotation starter, but I could see her fitting in as a Jen Mineau-type, either as a back-of-the-order starter or a spot-starter/reliever.

At #10, the Racers chose the first internationally-affiliated player of the draft, with Jenny Gilbert heading to Akron. A member of Team Canada, Joey Arrietta even mentioned that they'll have to share her with the national team, but when you've got a talent like Gilbert, only a partial, 3/4 season is well-worth such a high pick. The International experience that Gilbert already has under her belt is going to be valuable at the professional level, and perhaps most importantly at this stage, she seems eager to play in the league. This might have been the steal of the draft at #10.

With their final pick (yes, at #11), the Pride picked up another Oregon Duck in Alexa Peterson. Although she was called an outfielder at the draft, Peterson adds even more catching depth to an already-deep position in Florida. Now the fourth backstop on the Pride roster, she'll likely be a pinch hitter much more than a daily starter. She does add another power bat to the Pride bench.

It was the Bandits' turn to go back-to-back with the 12th and 13th selections. They went with an outfielder first, picking up Emily Allard from Northwestern. Coming off a rehab-filled 2013, Allard is hitting .406 on the season; has made just one fielding error on the season; and is 15-16 on the basepaths. You've also got the "hometown" factor in the pick, ala Tess Sito and the Racers last year. Following that pick, the Bandits chose shortstop Cheyenne Coyle out of Arizona State. The second Sun Devil to be chosen, Coyle has really come into her own following her transfer out to Tempe. A power hitter to the fullest definition, even despite being behind Tammy Williams on the depth chart, she's a great pick.

Another double set of picks were next, this time for the Racers at #14 and #15. With their picks, they chose Kaitlin Inglesby out of Washington and Jill Barrett of Tulsa. Inglesby, as I said above, was my guess to be the first Husky selected, but she fell to the fourth round. Another hitting pitcher, Arrietta also spoke about how happy she is to have the versatility of Inglesby and Winter. Barrett is presently hitting over .500 more than 2/3 of the way through the season, and is another infielder added to the Racers. Although a third baseman throughout her collegiate career, the Racers already have depth at the hot corner, so we may see Barrett in a bit of a utility role.

Rounding out the 4th and opening the 5th, the Rebellion also had back-to-back selections, as well as three of the final five. To finish off round #4, they went with another sleeper pick and chose Anna Miller from USC-Upstate. Chris Hawkins runs a great program at SC-U, so it's no surprise to see one of his players have the opportunity to continue her career in the pros. I was surprised by the selection of Miller here, but I think the Rebellion got a solid pitcher who can help solidify their quickly-forming rotation. With pick #17, they did not deviate from the trend of filling out the battery, selecting catcher and first-baseman Nicole Morgan out of  Texas A&M. With Edwards and Morgan in the fold, in addition to Lauren Lappin and Courtney Liddle, the position of catcher is well- and talent-filled for the NPF's rookie team.

The Racers' final pick of the draft came in at #18 and they called Ashley Thomas, an infielder from Georgia Tech. The 2013 ACC Player of the Year has been a breakout power hitter this year, clubbing seven home runs so far this season (which more than triples her previous career total). She carries a .376 batting average this year, and ended last season with a .417 average. She could use a little shoring-up defensively, but she looks like a solid bottom-of-the-order, quick-footed addition for Joey Arrietta's squad.

The Rebellion used their sixth and final pick to draft Victoria Hayward, again out of the University of Washington and also a member of Team Canada. One of the best outfielders available in this year's draft (honestly, THE best behind Gilbert), Hayward will also likely have to split her summer between playing for Team Canada and suiting up for the Rebellion. I wondered if her national-team affiliation might cause Hayward to slip a bit in the draft, and I believe it was at least a contributing factor, although not one that apparently concerns Stu Williams or his management team.

The final pick of the draft belonged to the Chicago Bandits, and they again threw another curveball, selecting RT Cantillo out of Ole Miss. Cantillo was another that wasn't on my radar (which is really something I love about the NPF draft - the unpredictability). Cantillo is hitting close to .500 this season, with a .495 batting average and a .626 slugging percentage. She carries a career .363 average. She strikes me more as a better acquisition through free agency instead of the draft, but the Bandits chose to take her here.

The Picks & Where They're Coming From:
1. Rebellion – Dallas Escobedo, P, Arizona State
2. Pride – Madison Shipman, SS, Tennessee
3. Racers – Hannah Campbell, P, South Alabama
4. Bandits – Estela Pinon, P, Arizona

5. Bandits – Sara Moulton, P, Minnesota
6. Pride – Courtney Ceo, SS, Oregon
7. Racers – Laura Winter, P, Notre Dame
8. Rebellion - Taylor Edwards, C, Nebraska

9. Rebellion – Bryana Walker, P, Washington
10. Racers – Jenny Gilbert, OF, Ball State
11. Pride – Alexa Peterson, C, Oregon
12. Bandits – Emily Allard, OF/UT, Northwestern

13. Bandits – Cheyenne Coyle, SS, Arizona State
14. Racers – Kaitlin Inglesby, P/UT, Washington
15. Racers – Jill Barrett, IF, Tulsa
16. Rebellion – Anna Miller, P, USC-Upstate

17. Rebellion – Nicole Morgan, C/1B, Texas A&M
18. Racers – Ashley Thomas, IF, Georgia Tech
19. Rebellion – Victoria Hayward, OF, Washington

20. Bandits – RT Cantillo, OF, Mississippi

Draft Grades:

Akron - B-... (Joey Arrietta took care of her team's biggest need by drafting three pitchers to fill out the rotation. She also added a couple of great power bats in Jenny Gilbert and Kaitlin Inglesby, and added some solid infield depth in Barrett and Thomas. The gaping hole still at catcher is the only thing that keeps this from being a higher grade.)
Pennsylvania - B... (In their first draft as members of the NPF, the Rebellion did an excellent job filling some of their more pressing needs. They added three pitchers who can give depth to their rotation; drafted two catchers that, combined with veterans already on the team, arguably give their new team the best catching depth in the league; and added several big-time power bats. With five outfielders on the squad, I'm unsure how the addition of Hayward helps them long-term. I definitely would have liked to see at least one infielder added, but there is still a  good period of free agency before the season begins, and all in all, I think it was a fairly successful draft for the Rebellion.)
Chicago - B-... (The Bandits filled the hole that Nikki Nemitz left, but it remains to be seen how they'll fill the hole left by  Vicky Galindo at second base. They added to an outfield that needed it, but didn't add the depth to the infield that I felt they needed. Additionally, surprisingly given past history, it seems like the Bandits' picks have failed to provide that WOW factor for their rabid & loyal fan base, which is a telling sign in and of itself. I feel like they drafted a few players earlier than they should have and didn't make the best decisions with the picks that they had, but the league's Chicago squad came out of Nashville OK.)
USSSA - D... (With just a few small holes to fill, the Pride almost did anything but, adding two natural shortstops [a position that Natasha Watley has a firm handle on] and a 4th catcher. The positives of the Pride's draft selections were only that they didn't add any pitchers to their already-overflowing surplus and with Peterson in the fold, they can now afford to part with one of their catchers should someone like Akron come calling.)

Post-Draft "Awards":

Best Steal: Jenny Gilbert/Racers
Player Drafted Too High: Estela Pinon
Best Player Drafted Too Low: Victoria Hayward
Team That Best Filled Their Needs: Rebellion
Best Player(s) Not Drafted: Ellen Renfroe; Aimee Creger; Tatum Edwards
Player That Will Have the Biggest Immediate Impact: Hannah Campbell, Racers
Player That Will Have the Biggest Long-Term Impact: Emily Allard, Bandits