The Top Club National went deep into the night on Friday—the final game finished at 10:50 pm local time in Oklahoma City—but it was as good as it gets all day.
Saturday will see championships crowned at the Firelake Ball Fields in Shawnee, Oklahoma where the 16U games were held all week. The action starts 10 am CST.
As we’ve noted this week, the field of 109 teams includes 21 who were ranked in the Extra Elite Eighty Club Rankings at the 18U division, 19 teams at 16U and 15 in 14U.
Because the age divisions play on three sites, that are fairly spread out in the OKC area—18Us in Choctaw; 16U in Moore and 14U in Shawnee, Oklahoma—with about 20-30 minutes apart, I was at the fields on Wednesday, watched the 16Us Thursday and checked out the action with the 14U’s today.
And, despite, 91 degree temps, we saw some great, great action on Friday.
Here are some thoughts from Day 3 watching 14U games all day along with some of the late 16U’s…
--- Brentt Eads, Extra Inning Softball
GAME OF THE DAY:
* The top two teams in the Extra Elite Eighty 16U Club Rankings faced off with #1 Mojo – Fisher taking on #2 Birmingham Thunderbolts 04 and there were some other #’s in the game: Mojo’s infielder Mia Williams, the #1 player in the 2023 Extra Elite 100, and catcher Sam Roe, the #1 player in the 2022 Extra Elite 100 (interestingly, both are Florida commits).
And the #1 pitcher in the 2023 Extra Elite 100, Keagan Rothrock, again showed her mettle as she scattered three hits over the complete six-inning shutout and had seven strikeouts versus no walks.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 6th inning when the middle of the order came through for Mojo.
The inning began when infielder Taylor Pannell (uncommitted) the #5 player in the 2022 Extra Elite 100, laid down a surprise bunt that she placed perfectly in front of the plate, giving her third hit in as many at-bats (no player on either team had more than one hit.
Catcher Maci Bergeron (LSU, #3 in 2022 Extra Elite 100) then drew her second walk of the night and the two moved up a base when a failed sac bunt attempt by Lillian Vallimont (Northwestern, #5 in the 2022 class) worked out when Pannell evaded the tag at third.
Vallimont was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs and, with time expired, pinch hitter Taylor Malvin (#81 in 2022 class, Syracuse) fouled off what had to be more than a dozen pitches from new pitcher Alea Johnson (LSU, #13 in the 2022 class) before an infield single to shortstop allowed Pannell to score the winning run.
The crushing defeat eliminated the tough Bolts who won five games yesterday—all by shutouts—but themselves got blanked twice on Friday: 3-0 by Hotshots Premier – Nelson and then the tough 1-0 loss to Mojo.
Still, despite having a couple players missing, the Bolts showed they are one of the toughest teams in the country at 16U.
And the Mojo showed why they won PGF 14U Premier Nationals last summer. Rothrock threw 90 pitches and 68 were strikes. Pannell not only went 3-for-3, she had three steals.
Malvin, who wasn’t feeling well earlier in the day, fouled off seven pitches with the count at 2-and-2.
Coach Josh Fisher of Mojo said after the game: “Wow, what a softball game! There was elite level talent all over the field on both sides. It was an extremely clean game and I’m so proud of my kids, what a huge growing moment for all of our kids. This is the environment we want them competing in. A lot of credit to The Bolts who played a hell of a game. But I absolutely could not be any more proud of my kids that I am tonight.”
Still, it’s just one more step towards the championship and the coach was aware of that after the big win.
“We will get some rest and come back at it tomorrow and play as hard as we can,” he added. “We always have the goal to win and compete for championships, and that’s what our excellent play this week has allowed us to be in position to do.”
STAGE IS SET FOR A GREAT CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY
* Let’s look at who’s still in play for Saturday’s Final 4 play in each age division; remember: the winners of 18U and 16U get a sweet $10,000 check and 14U’s champ pockets $7K!
All games are at Firelake Ball Fields in Shawnee; also, at 11:25 pm the tournament directors announced that there will be
--- 18U: the finalists in last year’s PGF 18U Premier National Championship (A’s Mercado defeated Georgia Impact) are among the final four as the A’s – Mercado/Smith team will play Aces Fastpitch at noon in one semi with the Atlanta Vipers taking on Georgia Impact at 2 pm with the title game at 4 pm.
Some interesting notes: the first game could see two Arizona State-bound pitchers starting with Allison Royalty of the A’s potentially facing future Sun Devil Mac Morgan of Ace’s Fastpitch.
And the second semi-game matches two teams from the Peach State who are familiar with each other and will be a fun to watch.
--- 16U: the two IF games in this age division will see rematches after Select Fastpich beat Texas Glory Naudin 6-1 and Aces Fastpitch topped Athletics – Mercado/Greg 6-5 late Friday evening. Both rematches will take place at 10 am Saturday morning.
The two winner’s bracket undefeateds are Fisher-Mojo, who will play the Aces/Athletics winner, and Hotshots Premier – Nelson, who will take on the Select/Texas Glory victor at 2 pm.
--- 14U: two more IF games kick off at 10 am in the youngest division as Texas Glory- Naudin will try to top the Aces Fastpitch team twice in a row after a late 6-4 victory Friday while Athletics-Mercado 2023 looks to beat Mojo – Danley a second straight time following a 7-2 win.
The A’s – Mercado 2023 team was put in the loser’s bracket by Mojo and Rick Hovermale’s team might be the hottest with the bat of any team in the tournament right now… they’re really finding their offensive groove.
Two Winner’s Bracket standouts await after that: Iowa Premier National will take on the A’s/Mojo winner at noon and Steve Jones Texas Bombers will look to beat the Texas Glory/Aces winner.
Other news at 14U… players who impressed:
* Teagan Kavan is a pitcher for Iowa Premier National 14U who is a star in the making. She can hit and pitches in the 60’s while being a great all-round athlete. She’s a basketball player too, but softball is her future and she is about 6-foot now and looks to be 6-foot-2 by the time she’s growing. Major Power 5’s are already interested…
* Ana Roman, the OF for Mojo – Danley is a talent to behold. She had a grand slam and other multiple hits over the last 24 hours and it’s no wonder why she earned the #2 spot in the 2025 Extra Elite 100. Just a major, major talent.
* Texas Bombers – Jones is loaded with talent including the coach’s daughter, Sa’Mya Jones, a top 2024 pitcher/infielder, who was making the catcher’s mitt pop with her pitching Friday. She is also #2 in her class, the 2024 Extra Elite 100 while Chloe Larry, an infielder showed why she’s at #11 as she hit well on Friday with a pair of key triples that helped the Bombers make the Final 4.
* The Texas Glory – Naudin team is deep with talent but you can’t help miss Tori Edwards, the tall corner infielder who had several big hits on Friday to help her team make it to Saturday’s action.
* Finally, two youngsters we just have to point out…
--- Langston Haygood, the nearly two-year-old son of Texas Glory Assistant Coach Mariah Haygood, had the crowd oohing and ahhing as he ran onto the field between games and entered the pitching circle.
--- A belated Happy Birthday to Honor Rae Garza, the younger sister of talented 2024 catcher America Ramirez, who plays for the Bombers – Jones team.
Honor turned 8 on Friday and the talented pitcher nicknamed “The Flash” is known for her big bat playing for the STX Bombers. She’ll move up to the 10U team in the fall and her mom says:
“She's grown up at the ballpark since she was 2 weeks old. It never fails that every birthday (of hers) we're at a huge tourney like Sparkler or IDT (Colorado) for my older daughter. Honor has adapted and really loves the game of softball. That's really all she's known since birth.”
Happy birthday, Honor, who is also Coach Jones’ little assistant coach, making her probably the smallest and youngest coach at Top Club National.