After winning the PGF 16U Nationals last year under Keith Dorsett and taking the 12U Premier title on Sunday led by Andrew Burns, the Birmingham Thunderbolts are one of the hottest organizations in the country and are making a move with their premier 14U team also which will transition as a first-year 16U squad moving forward.
Led this year by Ted Flannery, the 14U team finished 3rd at TC/USA Nationals, 9th in the Colorado Sparkler Jr. Super Pool and 13th last week at PGF Nationals despite having three key offensive players out at various points because of injuries.
The organization has announced that Jay Roberson, who is known for his coaching and event production background (running top events like the Bolts 5 Star Showcases), will be leading the Bolts 2004 team in the 2019-2020 year.
According to Roberson, Flannery will stay on as an assistant as will Dorsett.
Flannery is a school administrator and told Extra Inning Softball last week at PGF Nationals that the travel and time off is difficult with his job to be the head coach and asked to step down from his role as head coach because of his work schedule, but he was asked by Roberson and the Thunderbolt organization to assist and help out as much as he could.
Roberson led the Bolts 99 team to a pair of 3rd place finishes at PGF and two Top 5 finishes. He has coached 13 years in the club world and has placed more than 40 players into Power 5 programs, mostly to the SEC but also to Top 25 programs such as Washington and Texas.
He’s coached three Bolts teams and his 02 team had a Top 5 finish at PGF Nationals at the 12U level.
The new head coach will have a lot of talent returning including 2022 grad pitchers Alea Johnson (LSU) and Emmah Rolfe (Auburn) as well as Madison Inscoe, who ate up a lot of innings at PGF.
Other standouts expected to return include catcher Sam Roe, a Florida commit and the #1 player in the 2022 Extra Elite 100, South Carolina-committed infielder Brionna Condon and other top 2022’s like Amari Brown, Neely Taylor, Lindsey Long, Ashley Phillips, Ella Roberson and Neely Taylor and 2023’s such as Hannah Dorsett, Katherine Flannery and Gracie Hillman.
Roberson says he’s excited to coach the team, which will have a talented pitching coach in the dugout too.
“A lot of my teams’ successes over the years can be attributed to my wife Amanda Leggett Roberson,” he states. “She is a former DI pitcher and one of the best pitching coaches in the country. Every Bolts pitcher she has coached has ended up in the SEC or ACC: two to Alabama, three to Mississippi State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia, etc. She will be handling the pitchers and pitch-calling for the 04 team.”
The team will be having tryouts in August to, as Roberson puts it, “strengthen an already loaded team.”