Triple Crown Fastpitch is excited to announce the All-Tournament selections for the 2023 TC Nationals. Players were selected from the top 3 finishing teams in each championship bracket and the top 2 teams from the Gold, Silver and Bronze brackets.
2023 Triple Crown Nationals - All Tournament Teams
18u MVP- Keagan Rothrock- Lady Dukes Lamar
Kylee Edwards- Lady Dukes Lamar
Amiah Burgess - Lady Dukes Lamar
Layla Lamar - Lady Dukes Lamar
Olivia Miller - Lady Dukes Lamar
Kennedy Miller - Lady Dukes Lamar
Taylor Shumaker -Batbusters Stith
Ella Parker - Batbusters Stith
Ella Wesolowski -Top Gun 18 National
Sydney Boulaphinh - Top Gun 18 National
DaNia Brooks - Tampa Mustangs Rene
Charley Butler - Tampa Mustangs Rene
Ally Hutchins - Fury Platinum X Higdon
Randi Roelling - Batbusters Gomes
Kinley Pappas - NW Vandals Vasas/Scott
Jalyn Sweat- EC Bullets Ashley-Waller
Jordan Cresswell - Washington Ladyhawks-Gonzalez
Megan Gregory- EC Bullets Bilz
16u MVP- Lilly Parrish - Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross
Alexia Carrasquillo- Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross
McCall Sims- Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross
Frankie Vrazel- Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross
Kaidance Till- Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross
Ramsey Walker- Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross
Emma Ford- Arizona Storm
Lexie Wilson-Arizona Storm
Mckenzye Boblitt - Arizona Storm
Avery Veeder- Louisville Lady Sluggers VanBoxmeer
Sarah Campbell- Louisville Lady Sluggers VanBoxmeer
Reese Green - Tampa Mustangs Seymour
Sarah Breaux - Tampa Mustangs Seymour
Ellena Ediss - OC Batbusters Stith Sasaki
Larissa Flores - 5 Star PlayMakers Siofele/Mulipola 2024
Jaydn Howell- Carolina Cardinals Nationals CCN Garner
Kendall Holloway - Colorado Batbusters 16u Gold Burgess
Adaeze NwogboJack - City Jacobs
Jenna Barney - WA Angels Jager
14u MVP- Grace Swedarsky - Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard
Ellie Goddard- Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard
Hadley West - Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard
Reese Mosolino - Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard
Makala Watson - Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard
Haley Schatko - Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard
Lucy Mondok - Virginia Unity Johnson
Morgan Waln - Virginia Unity Johnson
Kylie Holden - Virginia Unity Johnson
Liliana Escobar - OC Batbusters Stith Black
Mattea Stern - OC Batbusters Stith Black
Marz Rubalcava - OC Batbusters Fernandez
Ciara Bernardini - OC Batbusters Fernandez
Hailey Schuffenhauer - Ai Bandits Breer
Avary Stockwell - Mojo Lewis
Mia Johnson - Atlanta Vipers 08 Tamborra
Ali Gill - Rhode Island Thunder 14u National Lotti
Violet Smith- Mojo 08 Nemitz
by Kyle Koso
CUMMING, Ga. – Back in the day, those of us dispatched to the back end of the batting order got sent there for a reason … sort of a “save the worst for last” situation, to be frank.
It’s different today, as coaches like having a potent option in the final spot, someone with some speed and an ability to get back to the top of the order after a quality at-bat.
Well, there was no more outstanding swing from the No. 10 hole on Thursday than the one from Kennedy Miller of the Lady Dukes Lamar 18u Burgess squad, as the Arkansas commit launched a grand slam in the first inning against OC Batbusters Stith to help the Dukes storm to the 18u championship at TC Nationals with a 10-2 victory at Fowler Park.
A three-run double from Keagan Rothrock (Florida) already had the Dukes off and running in the opening frame, and patient at-bats from Jolyna Lamar and Kaniya Bragg (UCLA) led to walks that loaded the bases ahead of Miller with two outs. Miller’s big swing gave the Dukes an 8-0 lead, one that stretched to 10-0 before the Batbusters pushed a couple runs across in the bottom of the fifth.
“I wasn’t really going up there thinking about hitting a home run. Usually if you do that, you’re not going to,” Miller said. “The girls in the lineup had given us an early lead, so I just wanted to capitalize on it. Just thinking about getting a base hit, and it worked.”
Providing the necessary balance in the pitching circle was Caroline Stanton, a definite outlier in the rare air of 18u softball as she is just getting ready to enter her sophomore year. Stanton pitched four strong innings, getting some relief help from Olivia Miller (Ole Miss) that kept the lead big enough to invoke the run rule after five frames.
“I definitely have so much appreciation for our offense, how incredible they are and how they have my back,” Stanton said. “It gives me confidence knowing I have so much cushion to work with the rest of the game.”
“She was phenomenal – she’s so young, and when we were in Colorado (at the TC 4th of July event) and here, we were short on pitching,” Miller said. “She’s gone through some ups and downs, but I completely respect her. She’s done a great job.”
“(Batbusters) had to sit and wait for us to finish our game; we came straight into this one and the bats were hot from the previous game,” said coach James Burgess, whose team had to come back from several runs down to beat Top Gun 18u in the semifinals. “It was just a continuation for us. Hats off to the Stith team, we’ve had plenty of battles, and they are always a tough opponent.
“(Stanton), if I’m not mistaken, the first time she played with the 18’s, she was in eighth grade. We told her in Colorado and here that she was going to grow. We have the utmost confidence in her, we’ll put her up against anybody, and I think what you’ll see in two to three years is she’ll be one of the top ones.”
Miller also scored in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly from Jadyn Laneaux (LSU), and Rothrock notched her fourth RBI with a single in the fifth that brought in Kylee Edwards (Mississippi State).
“Kennedy is one of the girls that came with me over from Texas, and we told Kennedy, you’re going to hit .450 this year from the 10 hole,” Burgess added. “We play a lot of teams who don’t know who Kennedy is, and she’s got lights-out power. We’ve seen it time and time again, you put her in and she sends it out of the ballpark.”
by Jason Hanes
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Reese Mosolino twirled a gem in the circle and Haley Schatko launched a pair of homers as Indiana Magic Gold National Bennett/Goddard (Carmel, Ind.) held on to top Virginia Unity 14U Johnson (Ruther Glen, Va.) 5-2 to win the Triple Crown Nationals 14u Championship on Thursday afternoon at North Park.
Both teams had early jitters, but it was Indiana Magic Gold that took advantage. A throwing error to start the inning and a wild pitch two batters later put a runner on third for Ellie Goddard. Her swing to put the ball in play rattled her hand, but the ground ball to short allowed the run to score and make it 1-0.
The early run immediately took the pressure off Mosolino and allowed the hurler to be at ease.
“It felt good to know that my team had my back and they were going to produce runs and I didn’t have to worry if (Virginia Unity) got a run," she said. "It would be fine and my team would come back and get me another run."
The score stayed the same until the fourth when Schatko put a charge into an offering and sent it sailing over the fence in dead center to double the lead.
“From my first at bat to my second, I just adjusted my approach and how I swung,” Schatko said. “I realized I could see the ball well. I was waiting for my pitch and tried not to be too aggressive, but at the same time, be aggressive enough to where the pitcher didn’t beat me.”
Indiana Magic Gold would work to manufacture another run in the inning to push the pressure. Using a hit, a walk, and stolen bases to put runners on second and third, Hadley West’s fly ball to left was deep enough to bring home Natalie Hester with the sacrifice fly, stretching the lead to three.
A major miscue would shove the lead up to four for Indiana Magic Gold National. With a runner on first, a squibber in front of the plate would be thrown wildly down the right field line. The throw back in from the outfield would also get away, allowing Makayla Watson to score all the way from first to make it 4-0.
Schatko would find another pitch she liked in the sixth to extend the lead. The righty turned on an offering and drove it down the line in left for a solo shot to start the inning.
"It felt really good to hit the ball hard again, and it felt really nice to pull the inside pitch,” she added.
That would be the final run for Indiana Magic Gold National, as Mosolino worked to hold the five-run lead over the final two innings. Virginia Unity would get its first run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double. Then in the seventh, the designated home team would score and get the tying run to the plate with two out in the inning.
Indiana Magic Gold had one last trick up its sleeve as Grace Swedarsky entered into the game to try to close the door. The Championship MVP needed just one pitch to earn the save, getting a foul out to end the game.
“Both of our pitchers really compliment each other so well,” said head coach Jeff Goddard. “I wanted Reese to have a chance to finish the game, but I knew that Grace could get the last out.”
The win enabled the squad from Indiana to claim a title at the National level.
“I just hope they stay hungry,” coach Goddard said. “Some games, we got out on top early and we had to hold the lead. Some games, we got down early and fought back. Almost every single game, someone new stepped up to come through with clutch hits or clutch pitching. If we keep trusting the process, they can really do some special things.”
Indiana Magic Gold Bennett/Goddard
Grace Swedarsky - MVP
Virginia Unity Johnson
OC Batbusters Fernandez
OC Batbusters Stith
By Kyle Koso
CUMMING, GA – No question, it’s been an uplifting summer of competition for the 16u Virginia Unity Johnson/Ross squad, but being down a handful of players didn’t bode well for its chances at the 2023 TC Nationals.
Based in Rockvale, TN, Unity looked the part of champions by winning the 16u Power Pool title at Triple Crown’s 4th of July event earlier this month. Even though their time in metropolitan Atlanta required rolling with a two-person pitching staff, the roster was the last one standing at TC Nationals, capped by a 6-1 victory Thursday over Arizona Storm National-Mathis at Fowler Park.
Tournament MVP Lilly Parrish (a North Carolina commit) threw five standout innings, reliever Jayden Heavener (LSU) shut the door and Alexia Carrasquillo hit a valuable two-run home run as Unity pocketed another coveted tournament title.
Parrish actually gave up three hits and a run in the first inning, but she settled in for a pitcher’s duel with the Storm’s Eliza Bark. Destiny Harris (LSU) walked, stole a base, moved to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Kaidance Till to tie the game at 1-all in the bottom of the first – Parrish wrapped up her day allowing five hits overall with one walk and five strikeouts.
“At first, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh I’m giving up all these hits.’ At the same time, I knew I had to trust myself and trust my spin and all the work I’ve put in for this moment,” Parrish said. “It feels really good. Our motto is, you have to win every single pitch, and to do that you have to be locked in, eyes on the batter. If you do that, you will be successful.
“I think we play with a lot of heart; we were down (Wednesday) a run the whole game. Destiny Harris was able to reach; we just showed that fight and went ahead 2-1. We never give up. One half inning can win the game, and you can see in this game, one inning changed it all here.”
That would have been the top of the fifth, where Rylie Johnson singled to start it for Unity. She was wiped out at third on a double steal attempt, but McCall Sims stood at second after reaching on an error when the Storm misplayed her sacrifice bunt. With two outs, another error allowed Morgen Talley to get to first, scoring Sims to make it 2-1 for Unity.
Unity catcher Carrasquillo then took a great swing and launched a two-run homer as they moved ahead, 4-1. They scored insurance runs in the sixth on a Simms single and again in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk from Till.
“I was just going up there thinking about hitting the ball, trusting my mechanics and pulling through for my team,” Carrasquillo said. “This tournament, we had the ups and downs, but we got the ‘W.’ Lilly definitely balled out, went 100 percent today. There were some things we had to work through, hitting some spots, but she pulled through.”
Heavener allowed one hit and struck out four in her two innings of relief.
“Lilly had to grind all week since we’ve been short-handed. We talked to both our pitchers, and they said they wanted to step up and do it,” said Unity coach Jay Ross. “They rose to the occasion. We’ve been down bodies all week, and the game plan was to try and find the middle of the field and barrel the ball. The few innings here, we weren’t very good at it.
“We had a little talk; the kids gathered themselves and found the right approach. If we square one up, it might get out of here, but if not at least we’re hitting line drives, hitting in the gaps and running the bases, which is what we do best. We’ve got 15 kids who want to do win and do well for their teammates and for their families, who spend a lot of time and money to get them here.”
By Kyle Koso
ALPHARETTA, GA – For a large chunk of Wednesday’s TC Nationals championship bracket game, the offensive opportunities for the 14u Batbusters Fernandez squad seemed to have deserted the roster.
But an oasis of runs would eventually appear, as the Batbusters tied the game against the Indiana Magic 08 Moore with a seventh-inning home run from Taylor Day. That was followed up by a six-run outburst in the top of the eighth as the Batbusters closed with a 9-3 victory at North Park, putting the Southern California-based unit into Thursday’s semifinals where it will take on Virginia Unity-Johnson.
After two innings, the score was knotted at 2-all, with the Magic grabbing a 3-2 lead in the third on a lashed single by Zoey Whittaker. Then, the scoreless innings just piled up, with Magic hurlers Brooklyn Kemp and Sophia Klawitter hanging tough and Batbusters reliever Citlaly Valencia matching up in the moment, pitch by pitch.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Day made the swing that had been missing, launching an arcing home run over the left field fence.
“Lollie had been dealing the whole game; we had to provide. We were able to in the end, which is all that counts,” Day said. “We keep the energy up all the time, that’s what we thrive off of. On the home run, the first pitch, I didn’t agree that that was a strike, and I took that personal. I’m not going to let her ‘K’ me, no way. We had to win it.”
Valencia got the final out in the circle in the third, stranding two runners, and she allowed just two hits and a walk the rest of the way.
“I knew my team needed me in that moment, so I tried to stay calm and collected and do what I do best,” she said. “I mean, we deserved, so did I, and I wanted to close it out. I really believed we would come back in that last inning, and we did. That’s what kept me in it.”
In the top of the eighth, Arianna Salas dropped a one-out, two-run double into center field as the Batbusters moved ahead, 5-3. Four straight hits followed, including doubles from Zena Edwards and Day, the latter who closed the scoring by bringing in Shae McMorrow. Valencia then turned around and rang up three quick outs at first base, two on foul popups and one a grounder to the bag.
“This team never gives up; we have a lot of heart. We say, pass the bat, do your job, pass it to the next girl and someone will make something happen,” said Batbusters coach Saul Fernandez. “That’s the mentality. Our pitcher, she’s tough as nails, and in big pressure situations she’s come through.”
The Batbusters were certainly aggressive throughout, even if the Magic were ready for it, making outstanding plays from the outfield and also deploying catcher Maggie Thorne, who rang up a couple of would-be basestealers.
“We play a bit more aggressive style. Some of those plays, it took perfect plays to get them out, and you have to give that (Magic) team a lot of credit,” Fernandez added. “That was a great game. They had perfect relays, perfect throws, but that’s our style to go for it. The mentality never goes away.”
Harper Moore had three hits for the Magic, including a double in the second inning.
by Jason Hanes
CUMMING, Ga. – A group that had never played competitively together before this week found a way to come together to stay undefeated at the TC Nationals on Wednesday as Arizona Storm National-Mathis earned a 3-2 walk-off win over Arizona ThunderCats NXT to win its first game in the 16u championship bracket.
“To take players from four teams (in our organization) that have never played at this level and to watch them get in this situation and rise up has been really special,” said head coach Corey Mathis. “We’re seeing good pitchers, we’re seeing good teams, and then they’re having to play under pressure, which is only going to make the rest of their summer that much better."
The win for this team of uncommitted athletes from the Arizona Storm organization didn’t come easy. Arizona ThunderCats NXT and Arizona Storm National-Mathis matched each other pitch-for-pitch all the way into the final stages.
Both starting pitchers had a strong contest as neither team could punch across a run over the first five innings. Eliza Bark worked 5.1 scoreless innings for Storm, while Maya Fimbres matched her counterpart into the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Storm strung together back-to-back doubles. Emma Ford laced a ground rule double down the right field line with one out to put a runner in scoring position.
“I was just looking to crush it,” Ford said. “I knew we needed some runners on base, and the next part of our lineup had been on [the pitcher, so I just needed to get on base.
Peyton Valentine then came through with the biggest hit of the game to that point. Her shot to the fence in left field brought in Ford with the game’s first run.
“I just wanted to drive the ball the opposite way,” Valentine said. “I was expecting something slower and outside, and I just got it."
The lead would turn out to be short-lived. Leading off the seventh, Natalie Holzer put a charge into a pitch, sending it over the wall in left-center to knot the game back up. Later in the inning, with runners on the corners and two out, a stolen base attempt by ThunderCats NXT end with the throw from the plate sailing into center. The runner from third came home, and suddenly the game’s script had changed.
A strikeout put Storm National Mathis down to its final two outs, but the bats came back to life. Amirah Lenon would single, finally chasing Fimbres from the contest. Fimbres pitched impressively over 6.1 innings, allowing just six hits; however, the tying run was now standing on first.
After a strikeout, a walk to Sammie Kaufman-Warner put the winning run on base for Ford. After a pair of changeups, though, Ford was down to her last strike.
“I was a little antsy swinging, but after she threw those, I was thinking she’s not going to beat me again. If she throws me a change, I’m going to foul it off, I’m going to get my pitch, and I’m going to drive it,” Ford stated.
Ford would rocket the offering into the gap in left-center, with the ball bouncing all the way to the fence. Both runners would come around to score, and Arizona Storm National Mathis stayed alive in the 16u championship bracket.
This team of four teams combined into one has continued to progress as the tournament has progressed, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by Ford.
“You don’t have to play with ‘your’ team to have good energy,” Ford said. “We’re a bunch of different teams, but if you have good energy, everybody will work together.”
Two wins away from the championship game, Arizona Storm National-Mathis will be in action Thursday morning at 8 a.m.
By Kyle Koso
CUMMING, GA – No question, Tuesday’s second game for the Louisville Lady Sluggers-Wathen 16u team got off to a wobbly start. But standing tall is usually where you’ll find the roster when it reaches the finish.
As bracket play began at the 2023 TC Nationals event, the Sluggers had a 1-0 mark heading into its game against 5 Star Playmakers-Siofele/Mulipola, but quickly fell behind as a couple mistakes jammed up the works. But with a patient offense that got untracked and some clutch relief pitching, the Sluggers secured a 9-4 victory at Central Park to press on, hoping to clinch a spot in the championship bracket with a win early Wednesday versus Top Gun National-Slezak.
A misplay in left field allowed Belinda Lujano to round the bases for the Playmakers in the top of the first inning; the Sluggers hoped to rally quickly, but McLaine Hudson ran into her bunt attempt and was called out, muzzling the inning. Hudson stayed sharp with the stick in the second inning, punching a two-out, two-strike, two-RBI double that ended up putting four runs on the scoreboard after a Playmakers error.
“The bunt there, that was a fluke, those kinds of things don’t happen very often. My next at-bat, I go 0-2, and I saw she’d been working outside most of the time,” Hudson said. “I had to put a bat on it and move the runners, if I could.”
The Sluggers added four runs in the fourth, primarily by applying pressure, forcing the action and accompanying decisions where the Playmakers didn’t always make the right choice. Jaycie Goad had a big two-run single in that inning, where the Sluggers essentially assumed full control.
“We’ve gotten better at bunting – earlier this summer we struggled quite a bit. The more we do it, the more we make the defense have to make a play,” Hudson added. “We’re not popping it up and getting ourselves out.”
“That’s when we are at our best, when we have a good team effort. We’re able to pass the bat a bit and individually just do our jobs,” said Sluggers coach Shannon Wathen. “We had a couple things not play out in our favor early; who we are as team is about plugging away and responding. Force the other team into some mistakes, and play our game.”
Just before that second four-run push by the Sluggers, they had escaped a nasty bit of trouble in the top of the frame as the Playmakers put runners on second and third with no outs. Reese Rodriguez drove in a run, and that made it 4-2, still with no outs.
The Sluggers turned to reliever Abigail Byrd, who came through as stress levels were spiking with a strikeout, a manageable line drive to right field, and another strikeout.
“I try to remind myself, I am good … and I need to work (pitches) low. If I stay low, I can get a ground ball, and I trust my defense to get us out of the inning,” said Byrd, who allowed one earned run in her four innings of work, striking out the last batter of the contest. “The offense really helps me; I’m not the fastest pitcher in the world. The runs provide a nice cushion for me.”
“I thought that was the difference in the ball game, her ability to leave those runners on, with no outs, to get us out of that inning,” Wathen added. “She made some big pitches. We go from (starter) Tori (Payne) who throws low to mid-60s, to Abigail who is more offspeed and spinning the ball. As long as she believes in her stuff and who she is, she will be very successful.”
Ella Baum had two hits and scored three runs for the Sluggers. Frankie Audujo had three hits for the Playmakers.
By Jason Hanes
CUMMING, GA -- Aces Fastpitch scored three runs in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie, then held off a hard-charging Arizona Hotshots Downey/Isaacson squad 5-3 in an 18U bracket matchup at the TC Nationals on Tuesday afternoon.
In a tight game throughout, Aces Fastpitch got on the board first thanks to an RBI triple off the bat of Beth Damon. With Damon off for pinch runner Paityn Engemann, a wild pitch at the plate allowed Engemann to slide in just before the tag to give Aces Fastpitch a 2-0 lead.
A strong outing in the circle by Allyssa Parker was backed up by solid defense as Arizona Hotshots Downey/Isaacson was kept off the board until the fifth.
"My defense was awesome," Parker said. "They were on point today. I felt like my drop ball and my change were working well for me and keeping them off balance."
Still, after stranding eight runners through the first four innings, Arizona Hotshots Downey/Isaacson punched through for a pair in the fifth. With two runners aboard, Morgan Bragg ripped a two-run double to the fence in left with two out, knotting the game back up at 2-2.
In the sixth, Aces Fastpitch would push across the go-ahead runs. A Halle Studer single would lead to a Parker sacrifice bunt to put a runner in scoring position for Olivia Branstetter.
"I just knew I had to put the ball in play, and preferably hard," Branstetter said. "At first I was looking out, but I saw (the pitches) coming in, so I had to foul them off."
With a full-count offering coming, Branstetter made the adjustment. "When I saw the inside pitch coming, I just opened up and put the ball where it needed to be."
Where it needed to be would be the gap in right-center. Branstetter's single would plate Studer for a 3-2 lead, but the adventure on the bases wasn't over for her. Two pitches later, she would take off for second, then moved ahead to third on a throwing error. With the infield in, Branstetter would head towards home on a grounder to short.
"I thought the ball was hit softer than it was. I kind of hesitated," Branstetter said.
As the throw came home, the runner found herself caught in a pickle. Luckily for Branstetter, the defense was late rotating and she was able to slide into home safely for a 4-2 lead.
"It worked out," she said. "Once the catcher came up and threw, I knew I had it."
Another run scored a batter later on Emmerson Cope's single, making it 5-2 going to the seventh.
Arizona Hotshots Downey/Isaacson (Tempe, AZ) wasn't done yet. A pair of hit batters and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Cope would come in to pitch, getting an infield fly for the second out, but another hit batter forced in a run. The final pitch of the game would be lined right back to Cope in the circle, who made the catch without as much as a flinch to end the game.
Based in Lee's Summit, MO., Aces Fastpitch has been all over the country this season. The opportunity to travel and compete in the locales they have seen has been great for the squad. "I love being out here, playing with them and bonding with them," Parker said. "Especially coming from small towns, it's great to come out here and be with them."
Now 4-0 in the tournament, Aces Fastpitch moves on to face Mojo Lunsford 18U (Lawrenceville, GA) on Wednesday morning.