Impact Gold DFW has flourished under the guidance of head coach Jimmy Middlebrook. The entire Impact Gold organization has been an essential piece to the growth of talent in the Lone Star State. Middlebrook elaborates on his team's development and their focus for this upcoming season.
When did the team/program start, and how/why did it come to be?
We started the team back in 2008, straight out of T-ball and into machine pitch. We wanted to teach the fundamentals and quickly learned that some of our girls picked it up much faster than we anticipated. We then decided to get on the travel ball scene and go up against tougher competition. Five of the original players are still on the team today.
Where are you based? Where do your athletes come from (all locally, some out of state)?
We are based out of the DFW area. Most of the players live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, but two live in West Texas (Abilene), and one player lives in a rural town in central Louisiana.
What was the purpose of creating the team (showcase players, win titles, develop skills, etc.)?
It’s really evolved from just learning the fundamentals and developing highly skilled players. We starting winning local tournaments as soon as we decided to take the leap into travel ball, so for a few years we were all about traveling the country to try and win. For the last year or so it’s been about getting the kids recruited, so our focus has been about who we play in front of while being highly competitive.
What have been some of your successes in terms of winning or placing at events?
- 2017 Softball Factory Southwest Champions (16U)
- 2017 Top Gun Champions (14U)
- 5th at Independence Day Tournament (16U)
- 5th at Triple Crown Nationals (14U)
- PGF Premier Qualifier (14U)
- 2nd at ASA Southern Nationals (14U)
- USSSA Midwest National Champions (14U)
- Colorado Sparkler Silver Champions (14U)
- Ronald McDonald Champions (14U)
- ASA Texas Challenge Series Champions (12U)
What makes the organization unique?
The biggest thing that makes our team unique is the relationships the coaches have with the players and their parents. We communicate our high expectations and give clear guidance on what we believe is the best path for each player. We have fun playing the game and never take it too seriously. One thing we are proud of is we’ve made the girls develop a winning mindset. They all understand that no matter which direction they go in life after softball, they always need to stay competitive.
What’s your softball background and how did you get to the point of leading the team?
I played baseball growing up, but when God blesses you with three girls who are athletic, softball is the closest thing! Owning my own business has taught me leadership and organizational skills and gives me the flexibility of time this sport requires. I run our particular team like a business in the sense of developing the best product that we can.
How many teams are there in the organization overall?
Currently, there are 54 teams nationwide in the organization.
Has there been a key moment or defining experience in the team’s history?
One key moment for us was the decision to leave one major organization in DFW and join the Impact Gold Organization. This allowed us to keep our core group of girls together and acquire some other players who liked what we had to offer.
What is your primary focus or goal with this team?
At this point, we are focused on getting the remaining four players committed to a school that is the right fit for them to be successful. Also, we want to stay highly competitive over the next few years to prepare these players for college.
What do you think are the strengths of the team?
Leadership and family values. We don’t have official captains, but we have players who lead by example, both vocally and through hustle. Also, we enjoy each others company at the ballpark and even away from it. There are times when the players/parents are apart for some time and everyone genuinely miss each other.
If there is one thing you would say that separates you from the other club programs, what would it be?
One big thing for us is that we wanted our girls to go find the right fit for them when it came to choosing a school at which to play college softball. We have had girls travel all over the country on unofficial visits versus just trying to stay regional. We have players committed coast to coast, from UCLA to North Carolina and Minnesota to Texas Tech.
Anything else interesting or fun that I could use to portray your team as a top organization?
Some fun things we’ve done as a team is travel all over the country for the major tournaments including PGF, Independence Day Tournament, Diamond 9, ASA Nationals, and USA Elite Select WFC. These young players have not only got to see the country, but go to Disneyland, Disney World, white water rafting, and other countless adventures that they wouldn’t get to do without softball.
Meet The Team
#13 | Carson Armijo P/OF | (2020, UCLA)
Armijo is a power hitter and a member of our pitching staff. She throws a lot of strikes and does a good job hitting her spots. She also plays outfield for us where she does well tracking down the ball when it’s hit there.
#24 | Kennedy Crites C | (2020, Texas Tech)
Crites is one of the best catchers in the state of Texas. She gets rid of the ball so quick that it’s rare that anyone is successful in stealing a bag. She’s certainly a weapon behind the plate with her blocking and framing abilities. She’s also a hitter who spreads the ball all over the field.
#22 | MacKenzie Denson OF | (2020, Minnesota)
Denson is the leadoff hitter and can play anywhere in the outfield. She’s a slapper who can place the ball seemingly wherever she wants based on the defense. She’s fast, with a home to first speed of 2.65. She puts a ton of pressure on the defense. Denson has a great arm and a high softball IQ.
#18 | Mia Greenzweig 2B/SS | (2020, Memphis)
Greenzweig is a true utility player. She plays middle infield and can play any outfield position. She’s quick, fast, and has great range. She’s a line drive hitter with some pop and possesses the speed to drop a bunt down for a base hit.
#00 | Jacee Hamlin OF | (2020, Texas Tech)
Hamlin is another utility player who can play all over the field. She generally will be in the outfield, as she’s fast and can track down the ball, but also can play middle infield. She’s a stud at the plate with lots of pop and uses her speed to turn doubles into triples.
#23 | Vivica Hernandez OF | (2021, uncommitted)
Hernandez is our youngest player who is getting a lot of attention from college coaches. It’s really fun to watch her track down balls in the outfield as she gives 110% on every ball. Her strong, accurate arm makes her a weapon out there. She’s a great base runner and steals a lot of bases.
#1 | Olivia Johnson P | (2020, uncommitted)
Johnson has a great curveball that jams lefties and gets righties to hit the ball off the end of the bat. Her changeup is just cruel, and she changes planes well between her drop and rise. Johnson can also smash the ball at the plate.
#17 | Jaden Middlebrook 1B/3B | (2020, North Texas)
Middlebrook is that player who can play all nine positions — and has on this team, even pitcher and catcher. She generally will play corner for us, but can play middle infield as well. She’s turned into a power hitter for us, but also knows how to be productive at the plate when we need to move runners.
#11 | Abigail Orrick SS/3B | (2020, Kansas)
Orrick is a natural-born leader. She can play any position and excel at it. She has all the tools that make up a great player: high IQ, speed, power, and has a high overhand velocity. She generally plays on the left side of the infield and hits in the middle of the lineup.
#4 | Aubrianna Salazar P | (2020, uncommitted)
“Nana” throws the ball hard, then makes it drop in on the hitters hands, or away from the end of the bat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lefty or righty, she can drop the screw or the curve. She’s also developed a riseball to change eye levels. She’s very athletic, and when she’s not pitching she can play middle infield. She hits the ball really hard and never gets cheated out of an at-bat.
#99 | Annabelle Schraub OF | (2020, uncommitted)
Schraub is an outfielder that seems to catch everything hit in the air. She also has the ability to play first base. She has that pretty left-handed swing and spreads the ball all over the field. She’s a strong, tough kid who always hustles.
#25 | Alyssa Washington SS/C | (2020, North Carolina)
Washington is strong and athletic with a cannon for an arm. She generally plays on the left side of the infield but also sees time behind the plate. Offensively, Washington is one of those clutch hitters at the plate who always seems to start a rally or get a hit when we have to have it. She hits for both power and average.
#12 | Maddy Wright P | (2019, Abilene Christian)
Wright is a huge presence in the circle. Her best pitches are her the drop and a screw that tends to saw off righties. But it’s her changeup that can make hitters look foolish. The riseball can be very good as well. At the plate, she crushes it. From line drives to bombs, Wright also hits for a high average.