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The Beverly Bandits-JT and Athletics-Mercado/Smith battled it out for the top spot. The Bandits took the 16U PGF National championship this summer but have since lost stud pitcher Meghan Beaubien (2017, Michigan) to the 18U Cray Allan Bandits team. Sydney Supple (2019, Northwestern), who pitched the Bandits to a PGF Shootout championship, will take the reigns on the mound moving into 2017. The team is also stacked with big bats and one of the best coaches out there, Jen Tyrell.
The Bandits fall short to Athletics-Mercado/Smith, a team that dominated the 14U division in the 2015-16 season, winning seven major tournaments including the PGF Nationals and the Colorado Sparkler/Fireworks Power Pool. This fall, the team moved up to the 16U division and took the gold at TCS Dons Battle On, USSSA Phoenix Showcase, and the TCS Fireworks NIT. The entire roster of 15, nine of whom are Hot 100-ranked players, will return for 2017 and will take on both 16U and 18U tournaments.
The East Cobb Bullets organization had the most teams ranked in the FAB 50, including East Cobb Bullets-Biele (No. 3), EC Bullets-Caldwell (No. 30), EC Bullets-Pointer (No. 44), and EC Bullets-Wright (No. 46). The Bandits organization had three teams in the rankings: Beverly Bandits-JT (No. 2), Beverly Bandits-EK (No. 7), and Beverly Bandits-Dorsey (No. 34).
California holds the most FAB 50 16U club teams with 12 and also houses the No. 1 team, Athletics-Mercado/Smith. Texas follows behind with seven and Georgia takes third with six teams. Club teams such as the South Dakota Renegades (No. 8), who gave the Beverly Bandits a run for their money in the 2016 PGF National championship game, put their states on the map and will be a force to reckon with in 2017.
Many of these 16U players have verbally committed to top universities, including Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State, and UCLA--our top 2017 recruiting class.
There are also many uncommitted players on FAB 50 teams who will no doubt be scouted closely next year. A huge standout is the uncommitted pitcher from Athletics-Mercado Smith, Shannyn Bustamante (2020), who carries the lowest ERA on the team. She also leads the team in strikeouts. Other standouts come from the Georgia Impact-Stewart team, ranked ninth in the nation. MIF Maddie Perry (2019), OF Jasmine Moore (2019), and OF Mariah Wicker (2019) all run a 2.65 or faster.
P/OF Emma Hardin, a 2018 from the South Dakota Renegades, also jumps out as a top uncommitted player. She smacked a double in the PGF championship in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game and give the Renegades a chance against the Bandits.