2023 PGF Nationals Championships 16U/18U

2023 PGF 18U National Championship Welcomes America's Top Teams

2023 PGF 18U National Championship Welcomes America's Top Teams

Defending champions the Birmingham Thunderbolts and Rock Gold Manetta Waye return to headline the 2023 PGF 18U National Championship.

Jun 21, 2023 by Kyle Kensing
2023 PGF 18U National Championship Welcomes America's Top Teams

Last season's champions of both the Premier and Platinum Divisions return to defend their crowns when the 2023 PGF 18U National Championship gets underway July 21. 

The Birmingham Thunderbolts, winners of the 2022 18U Premier bracket, and Platinum bracket winner Rock Gold Manetta Waye, headline this year's event, with each boasting the playmakers necessary to repeat. 

Birmingham will head to Orange County, California with one of the most talented rosters in the country, featuring a bevy of high-level Division I signees and commits from the 2023 and 2024 classes — and the top prospect in the 2026 class. 

Ava Hodo, the '26 catcher from Orange Beach, Alabama, rolled into the summer off a high-school season in which she drove in an incredible 96 runs. Her big bat promises to be one of the leading storylines of this year's PGF 18U National Championship. 

And Hodo's certainly not the only plate presence who could make waves near the Pacific Ocean. 

Saviya Morgan, a class of 2024 commit to Women's College World Series finalist Tennessee, is another outstanding hitter tasked with defending Birmingham's championship. 

The Bolts will have no shortage of options when it comes to scoring runs, and they're backed by a pitching staff unlikely to allow many in the other half of innings. 

Birmingham's pitching rotation features Kentucky-bound Sydney Langdon and 2024 University of Iowa commit Sofia Elliott. Elliott will be playing in her backyard for the PGF 18U National Championship, representing Mission Viejo, California. 

The Premier bracket also welcomes back 2021 PGF finalist Lady Dukes National Lamar and 2022 runner-up Select Fastpitch Jones. 

Select Fastpitch Jones boasts a lineup brimming with Division I commits and signees, including a trio of future Missouri Tigers in 2023 pitcher Marissa McCann, 2023 catcher/first base/third base Abby Hay and 2024 infielder Madison Uptegrove. 

Last year's Platinum championship winner, Rock Gold Manetta Waye, returns to California with another impressive collection of players. 

The club's 2023 roster includes Clemson signee, a Florida Player of the Year and a more-than-capable hitter. 

Katey Brennan, a powerful home run hitter headed to 2023 NCAA Tournament-qualifying Seton Hall, figures to be another player to watch for the reigning Platinum Division champs. 

The division's 2022 runner-up, Minnesota Renegades, feature St. Thomas-bound utility player Kyllie Weingart, and Haley Zembo. Zembo, a pitcher and first baseman, headed to Winona State. 

This year's PGF 18U field also welcomes back six-time national champion So Cal Athletics Richardson, which claimed its last title in 2019, and Nebraska Gold. 

Competition begins July 21 and runs through July 29.