The Top Gun Academy, based out of Kansas City, Missouri, fields players from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois. The young organization started in August 2016 and has grown into eight powerhouse teams.
FloSoftball spoke with Robb Behymer, founder and co-president of the Top Gun Invitational tournament, to learn more about the organization, teams and the players to watch this summer. Watch the Top Gun Invitational LIVE June 16-18 on FloSoftball.com.
What was the purpose of creating the Academy (showcase players, win titles, develop skills, etc.)?
Top Gun Academy was created to not only get athletes to college to play softball but also make sure that they go to the best fit for them to graduate. We ask that they take the ACT college entrance test at least twice a year. We ask that they work independently of the team to improve their skill set. All of our coaches, decided to support and promote the program to improve the scholar-athletes in all they do.
What have been some of your successes in terms of winning or placing at events?
Teams in Top Gun Academy had the following Top 10 Finishes in 2016:
What makes the organization unique?
- 2016 USA Elite Select WFC: 14A Top Gun Academy Angels (7th); 12A Top Gun Academy Barber (9th)
- 2016 Tulsa Elite Invite: 14A Top Gun Academy Angels (2nd)
- 2016 Top Gun Invite: 14A Top Gun Academy Angels (1st); 14A Top Gun Academy Sciara (7th); 12A Top Gun Academy Barber (7th)2016 USSSA
- World Series: 14A Top Gun Academy Sciara (1st); 14A Top Gun Academy Angels (2nd)
Top Gun Academy brought in hand-selected teams to represent softball in the Midwest. These teams were selected based on the actions and reactions on the field of play, sportsmanship; talent level; parents; and overall respect for the game. With this being said, we have committed to conducting ourselves in a respectful and professional manner to show respect to our opponents and the game. What's your softball background and how did you get to the point of leading the Organization?
I was raised around sports. That is what my family did. My Dad, coached all of us. Our springs, summers, and falls were spent at the fields. My Dad coached a women's fastpitch team that my mom played on. In 1979, the St Louis Hummers (W.P.F.A) played an exhibition game in St Joseph, MO. I remember how awesome I thought the game was and the speed at which the athletes moved. When my daughter decided to play Fastpitch, I jumped at the opportunity to coach her team. I soon realized that I did not possess the talent or the knowledge to coach. To honor my dad and his legacy, I started a tournament, The Top Gun Invitational, to privately say "Thank You Dad, for giving me the love of the game." As this tournament grew, I realized there was still something missing. I was not impacting the youth of today with opportunities to succeed on a more localized/regional level. In February of 2016, I was invited to attend the Texas Firecrackers Organizational fundraiser in Dallas, Texas. While there, I met with Tony Rico and after that talk, I was motivated to start the Top Gun Academy and "Make a Difference" . How many teams are there in the organization overall?
We currently have eight teams:
Has there been a key moment or defining experience in the Organization's history?
- 18A Top Gun Academy Ramirez (Sam Ramirez)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Rose (Dean Rose)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Sciara (Joe Sciara)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Angels (Scott Dial)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Petre (Tabetha Petre)
- 14A Top Gun Academy Boyet (Adam Boyet)
- 14A Top Gun Academy Barber (Eddie Barber)
- 14A Top Gun Academy Turner (Bob Turner)
Having five teams earn their berths for the USA Elite Select World Fastpitch Tournaments. This is quite an honor and accomplishment. What is your primary focus or goal with this team?
Top Gun Academy will focus on preparing our student athletes for the college experience. Whether it is academic or competition, college athletics is about performance and playing under duress. Having the ability to overcome obstacles and perform at or above abilities is the key to success on and off the field. We stress the importance of academics and the development basics skill sets, so that college coaches can continue our athletes development with their expertise. We allow our athletes to explore different college programs and make decisions that best fit their goals. What do you think are the strengths of the Organization?
Our Commitment to our athletes and our families. We do not charge Organizational fees, We all go through recruiting training. This includes the coaches, parents, and athletes. All of the teams have Recruiting Coordinators. The bottom-line is we genuinely care about each athlete, and strive to give them our best effort in all we do. We have had three athletes featured on FloSoftball:
We have one team ranked in FloSoftball:
- Lauren Howel (University of Arkansas)
- Brooke Huitt (Missouri State University)
- Jaide Rose (Uncommitted)
- Top Gun Academy Turner (14A)
- All teams were invited to the Top Gun Invitational in Kansas City
- Top Gun Academy Boyet (14A) have been invited to participate in the Birmingham Thunderbolts 5 Star Exposure
- Top Gun Academy Sciara (16A), Top Gun Academy Angels (16A), Top Gun Academy Boyet (14A), and Top Gun Academy Turner (14A) have been invited to play in the Tulsa Elite Invitational
- Top Gun Academy Rose (16A), Top Gun Academy Petre (16A), Top Gun Academy Sciara (16A), Top Gun Academy Barber (16A) have been invited to play in the Wilson Tulsa Elite Invitational
- Top Gun Academy Sciara (16A), Top Gun Academy Petre (16A), Top Gun Academy Turner (14A), Top Gun Academy Boyet (14A), Top Gun Academy Barber (14A) have been invited to play in the Hustle City Invitational
- 2017 USA Elite Select WFC (Qualified)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Rose; 16A Top Gun Academy Angels; 16A Top Gun Academy Sciara
- 2017 USA Elite Select WFC Futures (Qualified)
- 14A Top Gun Academy Barber; 14A Top Gun Academy Turner
- 2017 PGF Championships (Qualified)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Angels
- 2017 USA Gold National Tournament (Qualified)
- 16A Top Gun Academy Sciara
Top Gun Academy Player Profiles
#23 Mayce Barber (2021 Pitcher): Top Gun Academy Barber
MJ is a premier pitcher for TGA-Barber 13u. Her ability to kept opposing batters off tempo is her specialty. Her Fastball to Changeup has a drop 8mph with sniper like accuracy. She also has the ability to move the ball with her Curve and Screwball. She is currently working on adding a Riseball. She is a Power hitter on offense.
#7 Ashton Maloney (2021 CF/Middle-Infield): Top Gun Academy Barber
Ash is the tablesetter for us. Her Slapping ability is AMAZING! She can do it all, power to anything directionally soft. Great chopping ability also. Sub 3 seconds off the bat to first. Defensively she runs the show in the Outfield with her range from Center. She is solid at both Middle-Infield positions as well.
#11 Zoe Caryl (2021 C/3rd): Top Gun Academy Barber
ZO is the Captain of the team. She is there to lead her teammates on and off the field. She has an electric arm from behind the plate with great judgment. She is also solid at third. She is tied for HR leader and is the leader in RBI's for TGA-Barber 13u.
#42, Cierra Harrison (2022, P): Top Gun Academy Turner
Cierra Harrison is a very talented pitcher for TGA-Turner. She excels in the circle with a powerful presence, in addition to great spin and accuracy. Cierra has begun the season with a 1.19 ERA, 39 K's, and 4 Shutouts in 6 starts this spring. Cierra is also a middle of the lineup hitter that is second on the team in doubles, and 3rd in RBI and Runs Scored. She has also been a USA Elite Select - Select 30 Invitee in 2016 and again in 2017.
#43, Elle Smith (2022, OF): Top Gun Academy Turner
Elle Smith is a talented outfielder for TGA-Turner. She possesses elite level speed, clocked at 2.60 H-1st, which allows her to cover extensive ground in the outfield. In addition, Elle utilizes her great speed as an offensive weapon, as she leads the team in stolen bases and runs scored. Elle has also been effective in high pressure situations, as she is second on the team in BA / RISP. Elle is a 2017 USA Elite Select - Select 30 Invitee in 2017.
#13, Logan Turner (2022, 2B): Top Gun Academy Turner
Logan Turner is a talented middle infielder for TGA-Turner. She possesses soft hands, good feet, and a high softball IQ. She has made multiple diving plays at second, as well as a critical defensive play in the championship game of the Top Gun Qualifier, which preserved a 0-0 game in the late innings. In addition, Logan is hitting .450 while batting in the middle of the order for TGA-Turner. She was a 2016 USA Elite Select - Direct Select and a USA Elite Select - Select 30 Invitee in 2016 and 2017.
#21, Julia Boyet (2020, C/UT): Top Gun Academy Boyet/Purvis
Julia Boyet is a versatile athlete for TGA-Boyet/Purvis. Julia is extremely competitive and is willing to do whatever necessary to help the team win. While playing multiple positions, Catcher, IF, and OF, she keeps her performance at high level. Julia with her quick release keeps base runners at bay. She leads the team in runners caught stealing and fewest past balls. When hitting, Julia uses all fields. She leads the team in HR's and is 2nd in BA, Hits, 2B, RBI, SLG, OPS, OBP and Runs. Julia, at 5'9", has a great work ethic and has trained hard this off season to gain more speed and power.
#18, Raegan Branon (2020, P, OF): Top Gun Academy Boyet/Purvis
Raegan Branon is a talented pitcher for TGA-Boyet/Purvis. Raegan pitches with a lot of confidence and is not scared to come inside with her screw ball on right handed batters. Raegan is second on the team in ERA with a 2.1. Branon commands the strike zone with her drop, screw, change, and rise balls. She demonstrates poise on the mound and is not phased in tough situations. Raegan loves the pressure of the circle and gives our team a great chance to win every time she takes the ball.
#00, Addison Purvis (2020, P, IF): Top Gun Academy Boyet/Purvis
Addison Purvis is one of the most well rounded softball players you will find. Addison has led TGA-Boyet/Purvis over the past few years in pitching and hitting. She commands all of her pitches and spots the ball very well with lots of spin. Purvis is leading the team in ERA with a 1.5 and also striking out batters at a clip of 10 K's per game. Addison not only pitches, but also hits for power and average, spraying the ball all over the field. Addison leads the team in BA, Hits, 3B, 2B, RBI's, SLG, OPS, and OBP. This is a girl to keep your eye on!
#12 Jaycee Ginter (2020, P/OF/SS): Top Gun Academy-Angels
Jaycee performs best when the game is on the line as she beat 9 teams mentioned in last summer's Flo-Softball Top 14u teams. Jaycee had 5 wins leading us to a 2nd place finish Tulsa Elite Invite, and had 6 wins leading us to the Top Gun Invitational Championship. Jaycee throws in the low 60's with outstanding control. Jaycee is also a 5-tool player who can do everything on the diamond. She hits for a high average (1st on team), hits for power (2nd in HR), and has outstanding speed.
#24 Daryn Lamprecht (2020, 1B/C/3B): Top Gun Academy-Angels
Daryn is an outstanding power hitter who excels at hitting great pitching. Daryn had 20 home runs last season, and most of them were against D1-caliber pitchers. Daryn is a gold glove first baseman who saves us lots of runs with her cat-like reflexes. Daryn is a great all-around athlete who excels as a 4-sport star (volleyball, basketball, softball, and track). Daryn is athletic enough to play any position on the field except pitcher. Daryn led the team in homeruns (20) and RBIs (131), and hits for a high average (.430).
#3 Marrit Mead (2020, 3B/CF/SS): Top Gun Academy-Angels
Marrit is an exceptional third baseman who is also a great shortstop and center fielder. Marrit has top-notch speed, good arm, and athleticism to beat teams in every way possible. She will steal on any team, and at any time. Marrit is a great athlete who takes away a team's small-ball capabilities. Marrit is a switch hitter who bats at the top of the lineup while leading the team in stolen bases (66).
#8, Paige Rocha (2020, 3B, 2B): Top Gun Academy Sciara
Paige Rocha was born left handed. At an early age, her father taught her to throw with her right hand so that she would have the opportunity to play more than the traditional position for lefties. That transition really paid off for TGA-Sciara. Paige Roach is what many coaches call "A Beast" at 3rd base. Paige's fearless play makes her one of the best 3rd basemen in the Midwest in fielding bunts and guarding the line. Paige has plus arm strength, and over the winter was clocked with the 2nd fastest overhand throw at the Oklahoma State Winter Camps. Paige is a left handed power hitter for TGA-Sciara. Paige currently leads the team in doubles, is 3rd in Slugging Percentage, and has a share of 2nd in Runs Scored.
#10, Abby Sciara (2019, SS, 2B, OF): Top Gun Academy Sciara
Abby Sciara's athleticism and high Softball IQ allows her to play multiple positions at a very high level. Although she is TGA's everyday shortstop, Abby's plus foot speed gives her excellent range at short stop, and allows her to close on balls in the gap in the outfield. Her plus overhand arm strength (measured at 65 mph by a college coach during game play) keeps her playing the left side of the defense. Abby is the prototypical 2nd batter. Batting from the right side, she mixes power, contact and excellent bunting with the ability to run a pitch count. Abby is currently 2nd on the team in Home Runs, 2nd in RBI, tied for 2nd in Runs Scored. Abby also leads the TGA-Sciara in Quality At Bats(6 plus pitch ABs &/or 3 pitches after 2 strikes).
#13, Baylee Hoffman (2019, OF): Top Gun Academy Sciara
Baylee Hoffman is a talented outfielder for TGA-Sciara. Baylee has a mixture of size, speed, savvy and a powerful arm. Baylee plays primarily center field, but also excels at both corner outfield positions. Baylee has tremendous arm strength. At least once per tournament, a competing team learns that when Baylee catches the ball you don't "Run on the Gun". Baylee is a middle of the lineup hitter that leads TGA in Home Runs and RBI. Baylee is also tied for 2nd on the team in Runs Scored.
#11, Peyton Milburn (2019 Uncommitted, UT): Top Gun Academy Petre
Peyton Milburn is a hard worker who puts in the time to succeed. She is able to transition to many different positions on the field with success. She has primarily played infield positions but is also able to transition to the outfield when needed and performs. She is a team leader with hitting and has had significant improvements with power-hitting within the last year. Peyton has a team-leading batting average of .536 and holds a power hitting position in the middle of the lineup. She is also the team RBI leader and a 4.0 student.
#8 McKenzie West (2019 Uncommitted, P/OF): Top Gun Academy Petre
McKenzie West is an ace pitcher who strikes out a ton of hitters when she is on the mound-73 strikeouts in 57 innings so far this season and opponents have a poor .172 batting average when she is in command of the circle. McKenzie has excellent ball movement and never "caves in" to a hitter. She has demonstrated the ability to pitch at an elite level effectively and help get her team to championships. She is also a left-handed power hitter with speed who can transition into an outfielder role to keep her bat in the line-up. She is the team leader in the extra-base hit category hitting and carries a .433 batting average. Mckenzie has a 4.0 GPA.
#9 Lauren Youngblood (2020 Uncommitted, SS/UT): Top Gun Academy Petre
Lauren Youngblood is a true utility player and able to transition to new roles as her team needs her to. She has quick feet and speed needed for both middle infield and outfield. She is always up for a challenge and will be successful at any position . She currently is the starting shortstop for TGA-Petre. Offensively she is a threat as a right handed, lefty-hitter who has speed to get down the line. Lauren holds down the top of the batting order for TGA- Petre and carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
#7, Katelyn Kiser (2019, uncommitted, Utility): Top Gun Academy Rose
Katelyn Kiser is the true definition of a utility player. Katelyn true athlete with above average speed , strength and softball IQ. Katelyn perform at a high level weather it's playing 3B fielding a bunt or making a diving catch in the outfield. Katelyn is one of the top players every season in most offensive categories. Katelyn is great teammate to go along with all her physical skill.
#17 Dakota Rau (2019, uncommitted, P/3B): Top Gun Academy Rose
Dakota Rau is a hard working player that loves being in the circle. Dakota is one of the most composed pitchers there are during a game. Dakota's experience at 3B has made her a lethal fielder while in the circle. Dakota has been putting in extra time to perfect the pitches needed to compete at the next level. Dakota has a strong bat and a knack for always putting the ball in play.
#4, Chloe Murphy (2020,uncommitted,Catcher): Top Gun Academy Rose
Chloe is a 5'10 extremely hard working catcher. Chloe works out with trainer multiple times a week. Travels 2 hours each way to hitting lessons weekly. Chloe is a very vocal player that knows how to handle a 3 pitcher staff. Chloe reports necessary info to coaches during game to help them manage game. Chloe has the softball knowledge needed to be a catcher at the highest level. Chloe has become a very strong 3 hole hitter. Chloe's bat has gotten stronger in every tournament this season.
Gentry Wishard -- (2018 Uncommitted, P): Top Gun Academy Ramirez
Gentry is a lefty pitcher who performs at high level in pressure situations. She is off to a great start this year appearing in 12 games and has ERA of 2.40 and 45 strikeouts and only 5 walks allowed. Gentry mixes her pitches well and keeps hitters guessing with two off speed pitches, a straight change and a drop change, but can also move the ball through the zone with a hard moving curve. Gentry exhibits a level of leadership that endears her to her team. Gentry is currently working on building and increasing her endurance in preparation to compete at the collegiate level
Gabby Abbott -- (2019 Uncommitted, OF): Top Gun Academy Ramirez
Gabby is a speedy lefty slapper who is versatile and can play all positions in the outfield. She currently has a .430 batting average with an on base percentage of .500 in 18 games in which she has played. Her strength is definitely her speed, which is 2.55 home to first, and 11.5 home to home, which she has continued to improve as a sprinter for her high school track team. Gabby is currently working on building her arm strength in the outfield, and continues to grow her confidence on a team where she is the youngest player.
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