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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 2/7/2024

PG Softball Winter Warmup

Dave Durbala     

BURLINGTON, IA - The 2024 Perfect Game Softball Winter Warm Up, held February 2 - 4, 2024 at the Fun City Turf, saw 23 teams covering 16u and 18u divisions vie for the Gold Division championship. With rosters loaded with next level committed players, the talent pool at this event was top-notch. Winning the 16u and 18u Bronze Divisions respectfully were Monsters 16u-Chick and Iowa Gold Prospects 18U- Baker. Winning the Silver Divisions were Texas Glory 07 IL Red and Heartland Havoc, with Gold Division 16u champions being the Barracuda Aces 16u Jackson and Nebraska Gold 319-Berning taking the 18u top prize. Following is a rundown of some of the tournament's top performers.

16U Division

Earning MV-Pitcher, Savannah Jacobs (2026 Altoona, IA) continues to impress in the circle. This RHP, with consistent delivery and arm swing, works hitters with a five pitch bag of fastball, curve, rise and change-up, with two grip variations. Topping out at 64 mph, Jacobs worked nine innings, striking out 17, while allowing seven hits, giving up three base on balls, allowing only one earned run. Jacobs utilizes her rise as her go-to strikeout pitch, but did a nice job of keeping hitters off balance with her change of speed and spotting her pitches throughout the zone, not allowing many pitches to be barrelled up. Finishing with a 0.80 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, Jacob’s was instrumental in her Barracuda Aces 16u Jackson team winning the Gold Division championship. This young lady has next level abilities and will be drawing a lot of interest over the next couple of years.

Sophie Reed (2026 Altoona, IA) earned the MVP Award, playing for tournament champion Barracuda Aces 16u Jackson. Setting up in an open stance, the RHH Reed sits into the back leg utilizing a toe touch to get weight back and then stride to gain separation, hitting from a firm front side. Reed gets the barrel through the zone, showing good extension and high finish. For her effort, Reed collected seven hits that included three doubles and two home runs, scoring four runs and knocking in eight. As Reed matures as a hitter, developing patience, and with her ability to work the ball gap to gap with power, Reed could evolve into a hitter that will  hit for power and average at the next level.

Other top performers included Shelby Ashcraft-Suckow (2025 Pana, IL) playing for Tbsa Wahoos 16u. Hitting from the right-side, Ashcraft-Suckow utilizes an open stance, while staying tall in the box. She rocks into the back leg and coils around the hip and then strides to gain separation and maintain timing. With solid use of her lower half and upper body strength, this young lady showed the ability to hit the ball out of the yard, even if fooled on a pitch and being out on the front foot. On the weekend, Ashcraft-Suckow picked up six hits that included a double and four bombs, scored five runs and finished with a tournament leading 12 rbi’s,  while hitting at a .667 clip. A good follow for next level coaches.

Taylor Cuchra (2025 Ancona, IL) is a RHH, playing for Texas Glory 07 IL Red. Setting up in the box with a solid base, utilizing an open stance, with leg kick to get weight to the back side, Cuchra stays in her legs and generates serious pull-side power. Picking up seven hits on the weekend, that included a double and three home runs, Cuchra scored four times and knocked in seven. Showing the ability to hit for power and average, finishing with a .636 batting average, Cuchra displayed next level tools and ability.

Kayley Reynolds (2025 Moline, IL) playing for Nebraska Gold 309, showed that when she barrelled up a ball, it jumped off the bat. Staying tall in the box, Reynolds gathers into the back-side with a very slow and deliberate step back, then moves to the ball with her stride, gaining separation and  generating momentum  and torque with her lower half. Working the ball gap to gap, Reynolds collected five hits with a double and a couple of home runs, knocking in six, scoring five times and finishing with a solid .625 batting average. Helping her team in the circle, Reynolds worked 6.1 innings, striking out nine, while topping out at 62 mph, showing she could be a two way threat at the next level.

Emmersen Steward (2025 Bloomington, IL) a recent University of Illinois-Springfield commit, was one of several young ladies in the 16u division that had already earned the opportunity to play at the next level after graduation.  Steward, starting with a slightly open stance and hinged at the waist, utilized a solid lower half and stayed in her legs, hitting from a firm front side, while working her hands inside the ball during her swing. Steward, working gap to gap,  picked up five hits, with two home runs, scored six times and knocked in six to help lead Texas Glory 07 IL Red to the silver bracket championship. Steward, with continued work on her skill set, will have the opportunity to step in and make an immediate impact for the Prairie Stars.

Paxton Reid (2026 Gillespie, IL) is a RHP for Black Widows 08. Reid displays a repeatable delivery and arm swing, while bringing a six pitch bag into the circle. Utilizing a fastball, change-up, rise, screw, drop and curve, Reid can successfully move the ball throughout the zone with varied velocity to keep hitters guessing. Topping out at 59 mph, Reid worked seven innings and struck out 11, gave up six hits and four earned runs. Consistently working around the plate, Reid only gave up one free pass and finished the weekend with a 1.00 WHIP. This young lady has shown improvement each time I have seen her, proof that she continues to work on her craft.

Paige Froess (2025 Columbia, IL) has a full complement of pitches, and demonstrated she could throw them all consistently for strikes, The LHP for Tbsa Wahoos 16u, topping out at 55 mph, was successful due to her ability to hit spots, and keep batters off balance with change of speed and movement. Appearing to be a pitch to contact pitcher, Froess also relied on her defense to make plays behind her. In her 5.1 innings of work, Froess struck out five, while only giving up two hits, zero  base on balls, and  one earned run to finish with a 1.20 ERA and an impressive 0.38 WHIP. 

Zoe Goodreau (2026 Champaign, IL) a RHP for Tbsa Wahoos 16u, is making her third appearance in Scout Notes, as she continues to earn a spot as one of the tournament top performers. With a smooth repeatable motion, consistent arm swing and release, Goodreau goes to work with a seven pitch mix of varied grip fastballs, drop curve, rise, curve, drop, change-up and screw, with a top velocity of 61 mph. In her seven innings of work, Goodreau struck out 10 hitters and allowed three free passes. As Goodreau continues to advance, she will need  to show the ability to throw all her pitches for strikes, while keeping the ball off the middle of the plate. 

Molly Kanupke (2026 Palatine, IL) is a RHP for Va Glory - Schmidt. Showing a consistent, repeatable motion and delivery, Kanupuke went to work in the circle with a five pitch mix of fastball, change-up, rise, screw and drop curve. Although not big in stature, Kanupuke utilized her lower half to its fullest to generate speed and torque for her pitches, topping out at 59 mph.  In her 6.2 innings of work, Kanupuke sat down 10 hitters, half of those she faced, via strikeout, gave up seven hits, three base on balls and three earned runs. With continued work on her craft, Kanupuke will have the opportunity to pitch at the next level.

18U Division

Earning MVP honors was Tru Medina (2025 Hanover Park, IL). The Northwestern University commit, one of several D I committed players in this tournament, is a switch hitting, slick fielding SS for gold division tournament finalist VA Glory National Gagliardi 2025. In the box, setting up slightly open, sitting slightly into legs, Medina shows good use of the lower half and a hand path that works inside the ball, allowing her to hit to all fields, with power from both sides of the plate. Collecting five hits, that included 2 home runs, one from each side of the plate, Medina scored four runs and knocked in three. Defensively, Medina showed excellent pre-pitch movement, good footwork and the arm strength that allowed her to play deeper, covering more ground. 

Lily Knutson (2026 Cedar Rapids, IA) was named MV-Pitcher for the gold division champion Nebraska Gold 319-Berning. Knutson continues to consistently be a top performer, with this being her 6th appearance in Scout Notes. Pitching from the right-side, Knutson shows a consistent delivery and release, with no wasted motion. With a full bag of pitches, Knutson worked 13 innings and recorded a tournament leading 31 strikeouts, primarily utilizing her rise and curve. Knutson also has a very deceptive change-up to off-set her fastball that topped out at 60 mph. On the weekend, Knutson allowed five hits, gave up three base on balls, and did not allow an earned run, to finish with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.62 WHIP. Knutson continues to show she has next level stuff, and will get the opportunity to showcase that over the next couple of seasons before accepting any offers.

Ava Wombles (2025 Pleasant Hill, IL) is a RHH, playing for Firecrackers IL. The St. Louis University commit showed she has the tools to make an impact at the next level. Setting up slightly open, into her legs, Wombles utilizes a stride to get weight into the back-side and gain separation. Hitting from a firm front side, she shows quick hands as she works them inside the ball, and displays gap to gap power. Wombles picked up eight hits that included two doubles and three home runs, scored seven runs, and knocked in five. With a fundamentally sound swing and understanding of her strike zone, Wombles finished the weekend hitting at a .800 clip, without recording a strikeout. This young lady has a skill set that will transition to the next level.

Sadie Schultz (2026 Dubuque, IA), playing for Lady Expos Hs Blue and hitting from the right-side, showed she likes extra bases. Starting with an open stance, she does a good job of transferring weight, getting back to parallel, and getting some separation by way of her stride, before getting her barrel to the ball. Working her hands inside the ball, Schultz displayed the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field and collected six hits, picking up three doubles and three home runs for her effort. Schultz finished out her stat line scoring four times and knocking in five. This young lady would be a good follow over the next couple of seasons.

Ruby Tarr (2024 Sidney, IL) is an athletic IF, hitting from the right-side for Firecrackers IL. The recent Western Illinois University commit sets up at the plate in an open stance with a deep crouch into her legs. She does a great job of getting back to parallel, staying in her legs and displaying an explosive turn to get the barrel through the zone, showing gap to gap pop. Tarr collected five hits that included two doubles and a home run, scored four times and collected five rbi’s. With her athleticism and current skill set, this young lady will have the opportunity to be an impact player for the Leatherneck’s once she arrives on campus.

Italee Ford (2026 Rushville, IL),hitting from the right-side,  is the third Firecrackers IL. hitter to make the top 5 on the performers list. Ford sets up in the box with an open stance, sitting into the legs. She utilizes a pre-pitch step to get back to parallel and transfer weight, prior to launch. Displaying a smooth swing with good use of her lower half, Ford finished the tournament hitting over .571,  picking up four hits that included two home runs, while knocking in four and scoring four runs.  This young lady would be a good next level follow as she matures as a hitter over the next couple of seasons.

Emily Koranda (2025 Marion, IA) is making her 16th appearance in Scout Notes. There is not much more that can be said, that has not already been detailed in previous notes, regarding the RHP for Nebraska Gold 319-Berning, and recent Missouri State University commit. Always consistent, Koranda worked  hitters with a five pitch mix of fastball, change-up, drop, rise and curve, topping out at 61 mph.  In her 11 innings of work, she sat down 21 batters via strikeout, primarily with them chasing her rise.  On the weekend, in helping her team to the championship, Koranda surrendered  three hits, gave up one base on balls, and allowed 2 earned runs to finish with a 1.30 ERA and impressive 0.36 WHIP.

Sienna Stingley (2024 Sterling, IL), Displaying a consistent, repeatable motion and delivery, the RHP Stingley went to work with a full complement of pitches for Heartland Havoc. Stingley was able to keep batters off-balanced with movement and change of speed, and in her10 innings of work she sat down 18 hitters via strikeout, with a top velocity of 59 mph. Although giving up seven hits and five free passes, Stingley showed great composure, working out of jams and did not allow an earned run in helping Havoc secure the silver division championship. Committed to NJCAA DIII  Rock Valley College, who have won 8 of the last nine contested national championships,  Stingley possesses the skill set and mental fortitude to be successful when she arrives on campus. 

Mya Brown (2024 Woodhull, IL) is a RHP/UTIL for Heartland Havoc who is also a recent Parkland College commit. Brown displayed a smooth delivery and motion, with good use of her lower half and length, to make her 61 mph top velocity  look effortless. Going to work on hitters with a six pitch bag of fastball, change-up, curve, rise, screw and drop curve, Brown recorded 15 K’s in her nine innings in the circle. Giving up five hits, two base on balls and two earned runs to finish with a 1.60 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, was also key in Heartland Havoc winning the silver bracket championship.

Abby Rusher (2024 Des Moines, IA) showed why the Iowa Outlaws Select RHP was sought after, and committed to Creighton University. Working with a four pitch mix of fastball, change-up, rise, and drop, and taking full advantage of new pitching regulations that allow pitchers to leap, Rusher struck out 14 of the 18 batters she faced in her six innings of work. Topping out at 62 mph, Rusher was successful in keeping hitters guessing by locating all her pitches throughout the zone, with several strikeouts coming with swing and miss attempts on her rise. In a tournament with several committed pitchers, Rusher was one of the top ones to showcase her talent.