The 18U Power Pool division is going to be a dog fight with elite clubs from all over the nation vying for the coveted Colorado 4th of July Championship July 1-7 LIVE on FloSoftball.
"The atmosphere, beauty of the parks, playing conditions, and overall experience at TCS Colorado is why we are most excited about playing here," Coach T.J. Goelz said. "Add the excellent competition that we will see has us excited to compete for a championship. We have finished 3rd (2016), and 2nd (2017) the last two times we played at TCS fireworks/sparkler so we are looking to improve upon that!"
Coach Randy Kaye has been taking his Firecrackers AZ team to Colorado for years. "We are excited to play in this tournament because of the excellent competition we see in the 18u Power Pools," Kaye said. It really is the best of the best."
TN Fury 19/20 Coach Sam Thomas has come close to reaching the title and is hoping this year will be the year. "We look forward to visiting the beautiful Denver area and playing against the great competition the 4th of July tournament provides each year. Perhaps we'll get that elusive championship this year!"
Many coaches agree that Colorado is the turning point in the summer season. "Colorado is where it all starts and I feel this group has the ability to be standing tall on the final day of every tourney this summer," Jim Huecker said of his Louisville Lady Sluggers.
What Teams To Watch For
Texas Glory - Shelton
Last season Texas Glory had an outstanding run during the summer ranked No. 3. The squad returns a veteran core that includes six starters and two pitchers bolster a lineup that has added additional strength on defense and at the plate. Already off to a solid start, Texas Glory won the 2019 Triple Crown TX State Championship that included most of the top teams in Texas. Hot 100 infielder Trinity Cannon (2020, Texas A&M) possesses base stealing speed, tremendous power, and is “Just a monster,” said Kevin Shelton, Glory head coach. One of the scariest hitters to watch will be LSU commit Hayden Brown. Oklahoma signee Rylie Boone is dynamic and powerful at the plate and you’ll find her roaming the outfield. She is an important catalyst for the team. The pitching quartet of Jaycee Cook (2019, UAB), Mattie Boyd (2019, Oklahoma State), Savanna Desrochers (2020, Kansas) and Raelin Chaffin (2021, LSU) are formidable and can keep them in every game. New edition Karli Petty (2019, Oklahoma State) plays all over the infield and adds power and versatility from the left side of the plate.
After a fifth-place finish in last year’s tournament, Firecrackers AZ is led by our three seniors: Audrey LeClair (Michigan), Kennedy Wyllie (Michigan State), and Hope Banales (New Mexico). Also returning are 2020 infielders: Sophia and Aris Carroll (Arizona) - both forces to be reckoned with at the plate. Their pitching staff is well-rounded with 2020 Jacie Hambrick (Grand Canyon) and a pitcher that’s recently been on everybody’s radar: Raci Miranda. She’s a 6-foot pitcher throwing between 62-64. Firecrackers AZ have also added some new players this summer including Kayt Leyvas, (Grand Canyon) a dynamic player who bats from the left side.
Louisville Lady Sluggers - Huecker
This Lady Sluggers team has the key components to excel at all facets of the game. The pitching staff will be anchored by 2019 Wisconsin commit Abby Herbst Flosoftball 52nd ranked player—as well as 2020 Florida State commit Jeya Prasad Flosoftball 67th ranked player and Nijaree Canady ranked 17th in the 2022 Class uncommitted. Canady will be one of the best pitchers in that class to watch in the tournament. Their defense is led by 2019 Kentucky commit shortstop Emmy Blane who’s ranked 8th in the 2019 class as well as utility player Purdue Commit Cora Bassett 63rd in Flo rankings in the 2019 Class. Leadoff Morgan Zuege utility player will be a top player to watch in the 2020 class. Madison “Pickle” Winkler FloSoftball Hot 100 player in 2022 Class has the potential to have a break out summer.
TN Fury Platinum 19/20
This will be TN Fury Platinum 19/20’s fourth appearance in the Colorado 4th of July tournament finishing 2nd, 3rd and 5th in Power Pool play the past three years. Fury has a balanced combination of power and speed with talented players committed to some of the top programs including Alabama, Florida State, and Tennessee. This club is led by
Alabama signee Jenna Johnson who’s known to hit for a high average, power, and is certainly one of the best defensive center fielders in the country. Johnson is a fearless competitor with great speed and a very high softball IQ. Future FSU Seminole Kalei Harding possesses incredible athletic ability and is physically imposing on the field. She plays both catcher and shortstop at a very high level. Expect her to play a key part during the tournament. Another shortstop/catcher to watch for is Tennessee commit Josie Willingham. A dynamic athlete with a rifle for an arm, Willingham will be fun to watch. In the circle, expect Rutgers signee Jaden Vickers to play a pivotal role. The southpaw throws in the mid-60s with a cutter and riseball that leaves hitters guessing.
Sorcerer Gold - Gabales
Coached by Paulie Gabales and based out of Lodi, Calif. this squad placed 9th in last year’s tournament. Composed of athletes from Central and Northern CA as well as Northern Nevada and one from Utah, their ages range from incoming sophomores to graduated seniors. Nevada signee Blake Kraft leads from the circle displaying tremendous control and poise in pressure situations. Middle infielders Kailee Luschar (2020, Arizona State) and Nicole Hammoude (2019, Cal) are absolute playmakers. Luschar is an elite slapper with superior bat control and lots of speed. On defense, she’s smooth, rangy, and exciting to watch. Hammoude, the younger sibling to Frankie Hammoude (Oregon State) is one of the best shortstops in the country equipped with a strong arm and quick release. Look for Hammoude and Taja Fielder (Louisville) the big bats in the order to do damage at the plate. Signed to play for Utah State, twins Mazie and Makenzie Macfarlane are two gems. Mazie is an outfielder with all-around game and Makenzie is the field captain who is a master of her craft behind the plate.
Loaded with talent, experience, and familiarity, the core of this Tampa Mustangs-TJ team has played together since they were 8 to 10 years old. The Mustangs have three top 5 finishes in Colorado and have been ranked in the top 10 every year since they started playing nationally at 12 years old. TMTJ lists 6 Hot 100 players, 15 Division I commits of which 10 are Power 5 commits. They have an impressive overall record against 18U national competition of 31-5 dating back to 14U. The Mustangs have diverse pitching staff of four pitchers who are very different from each other and all have big game national level experience. Florida commit Avery Goelz is a favorite to watch and a top five Hot 100 recruit. Goelz is not only a tremendous offensive threat, but she is also one of the best defensive first basemen in the country. Named the Florida 8A Offensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row, Goelz has the talent to become a future All-American. Claire Davidson, No. 28 recruit in the 2020 Hot 100 leads the pitching staff and hits behind Goelz in the lineup. Davidson has big-time power at the plate and just led the state of Florida in home runs (13) in the tough class 8A Division. Davidson, who recently opened her recruiting after previously committing to Auburn, is a left-handed pitcher who throws in the low to mid-60s with a bait and hook changeup and riseball. She just finished the high school season with a 10-0 record and won the Florida 8A State Pitcher of the Year. Clemson commit McKenzie Clark, centerfielder/catcher, is an exciting and explosive athlete who is No. 68 Hot 100 2020 recruit. Rising star, Kali Reis is a 2020 shortstop who just committed to Florida and was ranked No. 80 in the 2020 Hot 100. Middle infielder Jade Moy is steady as they come ranked No. 100 in the 2020 Hot 100. She is committed to Purdue.
It’s no surprise that Firecrackers Rico/Weil is stellar on defense and aggressive on the base paths. With great team comradery, the Firecrackers just finished up a team bonding trip to Catalina Island. Two key players to watch are UCLA commits Alyssa Garcia and Thessa Malau’ulu who both bring fierce competitiveness and game knowledge. No. 6 2019 Hot 100 catcher, Garcia led the Firecrackers in RBIs and home runs with a batting average hovering around .450 last summer. On the infield, Julia Jimenez (Michigan) and Madison Jacobus (Utah) are veterans to watch for on offense and defense.
Based out of the Bay Area, Universal Fastpitch is one of the elite organizations in Norcal. Comprised of mostly 2020 graduates with 12 committed players that include nine to Power Five conferences and seven to the Pac 12, this team brings the West Coast style of play. Oregon commit Raegan Breedlove will carry the load on the mound and is backed by Madison Papenhausen (2020, Utah), and Gabby Williams (2020, UC San Diego). Leadoff Kaylee Pond (2020, Iowa State) will be the sparkplug followed by power hitters Alexis Bishop (2020, Cal), Jordyn Hutchins (2020, Stanford), Tehya Bird (2020, Oregon). Middle infielders Bird and Sophie Jacquez (2020, Utah) make a terrific combo up the middle with playmakers Grace Guzman (2020, Michigan) Hutchins in the outfield.
Sean Brashear’s Firecrackers always find a way to edge out top-ranked opponents and this summer will be no different. One of the best outfielders in the country to watch is BYU signee Megan Delgadillo. An absolute stud with an arm, “Cheese” as her team calls her is a playmaker and a game changer. Brashear’s Firecrackers are led by a trio of pitchers Carley Brown (BYU), Shaylee Ackerman (Texas A&M), and Shelby Maier (Georgia). Watch for Alecia Denny (Fresno State) and Maddie McNally (UCSB) to shine this summer bringing power and speed at the plate.
Texas Bombers Gold
Texas Bombers Gold 18U certainly has a different look to its roster as it graduated 5 starters from last years team. The youth that has taken the place of those veteran starters comes battle-tested at the highest level. Jessica Mullins (2020 Texas State) and Ashley Vallejo (2020 McNeese) comes hot off of finishing 3rd at 16U PGF Premier Nationals. They are joined by seniors Ashley Daughtery (2019 Texas A&M) and Taylor Edwards (2019 LSU) to complete the Bombers pitching staff. The position players are young as well as they add 6 new infielders alongside senior Chloe Cobb (Texas Tech) joining Cobb are Danieca Coffey (2020 LSU) , Mariana Torres (2020 Texas A&M) , Pecan Villa (2020 Texas Tech) , Crystal Davila (2020 Houston) and Baylea Brandon (2021 LSU). In the outfield is where the Bombers bring back a ton of experience. Brionna Warren (2020 Texas A&M) anchors the group in centerfield, joining her as returners are Payton Jackson (Texas Tech), Tori Whillock (Texas Tech) and Sydney Fritsch (Texas A&M). The Bombers catching staff is as good as it gets, returning catcher Cait Calland (LSU) is joined by JJ Smith (2020 Texas). Offensively this group brings a solid blend of speed and power and has the unique ability to play an entire left-handed lineup if it chooses to. Defensively is where this team will hang its hat as this group could be the best defensive team the Bombers have ever run out on a field.
More teams to watch:
EC Bullets Schnute
Oro Valley Suncats - Judge
Oklahoma Athletics Premier - Madden
Scrap Yard Internationals
Impact Gold National - Jackson