What to Watch for at PGF Nationals 16U

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By Carlos Arias

The Beverly Bandits organization have been the powerhouse program in the 16U Premier Division in recent years and should have a pair of top contenders at the PGF Nationals this week in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Watch select 16U Premier bracket play games LIVE only on FloSoftball August 3-August 5.
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"We have not played Bill Conroy's (Beverly Bandits) team, so we aren't really a big rivalry," Michigan-commit Morgan Ovaraitis of Beverly Bandits DeMarini said. "We have approached PGF by playing the best competition that we can and by learning from every play through out the season. We have worked hard all year to get to where we are, and this is where we will show everyone what we have worked so hard for."

No matter what, the Bandits will have a target on their backs.

"As far as upsets," Michigan-committed pitcher of the Beverly Bandits said, "we all know that they can happen to anyone at any time. We just need to focus on playing our game the best we can no matter who we play and not focus on our opponent."

Birmingham Thunderbolts 99-Roberson finished third at PGF Nationals last season and should be top contenders this season.

"We came in third last yearand we have been working super hard all season preparing for this tournament, specifically," said 6-1 lefty Grace Fagan. "We have been treating every tournament like PGF to be mentally and physically prepared to win it this year. It will take our great hitting and pitching from myself and our pitching staff to win it all, along with the amazing defensive plays that we always have behind us. And most importantly it will take a positive attitude and heart to win it all."

The So Cal Choppers had a lot of success last season as a 14U team and most of those girls have moved up to the Choppers 16U team this season.

"We have a very strong team this year," Texas-committed pitcher Shea O'Leary of the Choppers said. "We placed second in Colorado and just had a great tournament in the Best of the West last weekend. This team has bonded well this year and we are excited to finish this year on a high. We have so much all-around talent and just need to go out and leave it all on the field."

Greg Borzilleri's Explosion is another team with a lot of potential.

"This year's Explosion team has to be one of the most talented teams I've played for," Explosion's Maddy Ruffin said. "Each and every girl has a role they play to contribute to our success. However, in order for us to be successful in this year's PGF tournament, we need to focus on being 'on our toes' at all times. There are several teams out there who have just as much talent, so we have to play hard consistently and find ways to win."

The PGF 16U Premier championship game is Saturday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. at Deanna Manning Stadium at Bill Barber Park in Irvine, Calif.

TEAMS TO WATCH OUT FOR AT PGF 16U NATIONALS


No. 1 Birmingham Thunderbolts 99-Roberson
Why: The Bolts have 6-1 lefty Grace Fagan in the circle as the try to make another run at a PGF title.

No. 2 Beverly Bandits-Conroy
Why: Coach Bill Conroy has taken over the 16U Bandits and they should be a force with Michigan-commit Meghan Beaubien in the circle.

No. 3 So Cal Athletics TO-Mercado
Why: After finishing third at 14U, the So Cal A's are ready to make a run in 16U with the Tidd sisters, Payton and Emily.

No. 4 Corona Angels-Slye
Why: Speedster Brooke Marquez, who has committed to Notre Dame, and Arizona State-commit Annalise De La Rocha lead the Corona Angels.

No. 5 Beverly Bandits DeMarini
Why: Michigan-committed CF/C Morgan Overaitis is one of the many playmakers for the Bandits.

No. 6 East Cobb Bullets-Biele
Why: The Bullets have a deep pitching staff that features Tennessee-commit Logan Caymol.

No. 7 So Cal Choppers-Ziese
Why: The Choppers team that had a lot of success at 14U has moved up to 16U. Keep an eye on Texas-committed P Shea O'Leary.

No. 8 Explosion-Greg
Why: Explosion is loaded and ready to make a run with North Carolina State-commit Liliana Bishop and Cal Poly SLO-commit Hannah Ramelot.

No. 9 Gerogia Impact National-Lewis
Why: South Carolina-committed pitcher Rachel Vaughn should keep Georgia Impac in the mix.

No. 10 So Cal Athletics-McNee
Why: Uncommitted pitcher Paige Vargas is the kind of pitcher that can help the A's make a run.

No. 11 Texas Bombers
Why: Baylor-bound pitcher Maddie Lindsey leads this group of Texas All-Stars.

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