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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 2/28/2024

PG Softball February Frenzy

Dave Durbala     

BURLINGTON, IA - 2024 Perfect Game Softball February Frenzy February 23 - 25, 2024 hosted by the Fun City Turf. Twenty-four teams, twelve each in the 14U and 18U Divisions started out in search of winning the gold bracket championship. Besides local teams from Iowa, teams from Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin attempted to stake their claim for the championship. In the end, it was the Midwest Sluggers ‘09 taking the 14U crown, by way of a 3 - 4 win in International Tie-Breaker over Wisconsin Lightning 09, and Iowa Outlaws Select picked up the championship in the 18U Division with a 3 - 2 win over Firecrackers IL.

14U Division

Earning the MVP Award was Ella Dejonghe (2027 Rock Island, IL) playing for Midwest Sluggers ‘09. Hitting from the right-side, Dejonghe sets up in an open stance and utilizes her stride to get weight transferred,  for timing, and to get back to parallel at toe touch.  Showing pull side pop, Dejonghe picked up five hits that included a double, triple and home run. She scored four times and knocked in six. As this young lady progresses and continues to mature as a hitter, she will benefit from working her hands inside the ball and utilizing the whole field, and with continued work on her skill set, she will develop patience at the plate, hunting for her pitch when faced with a good hitters count.

Madison Babcock (2027 Sherwood, WI) earned this division's MV-Pitcher Award for her work in the circle for Wisconsin Lightning 09.  Displaying a smooth consistent motion,  and arm swing, Babcock worked 13 innings and collected 21 strikeouts. Topping out at 57 mph, Babcock was armed with a 5 pitch bag that included a two-seamer, change-up, curve, rise and drop. Showing good spin on her movement pitches, Babcock would work the bottom of the zone before coming back with the rise, resulting in several swing and miss attempts. For the tournament, she allowed seven hits, gave up three walks and only allowed one earned run, finishing with a nice 0.50 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. This athletic young lady showed she has the ability to field her position, can keep her team in the game, and displayed the demeanor that is key to being a successful pitcher.

Other players in this division that turned in top performances included Alexis Brookhiser (2026 West Burlington, IA) playing for Black Dragons 14u Arrowood. The RHP/UTL sets up in the box with a slightly wide base, feet parallel and utilizes a gather at the back foot to get weight transferred, and then stride for timing and separation. On the weekend, Brookhiser collected five hits, none bigger than a walk off grand slam giving her team the bronze bracket championship, finishing with 5 runs scored, seven runs knocked in, a double and two home runs, and an excellent .715 batting average.

Tinley James (2027 Milan, IL) is a RHP\MIF for gold division champions Midwest Sluggers ‘09. Hitting from the right-side, James shows a compact set-up, displaying quick hands that allow her to generate some pop, showing some pull-side power. James picked up five hits that included two doubles and a home run, scoring 4 times and knocking in seven. Showing discipline at the plate, James also drew two base on balls and did not have a strikeout. In the circle, James, a pitch to contact pitcher, worked eight innings, collecting 5 strikeouts while topping out at 58 mph.

Cameryn Moeller (2028 Davenport, IA) is an athletic RHH for tournament champion Midwest Sluggers ‘09. Setting up in the box basically parallel with slight bend in knees, she leans into the back leg to transfer weight, then gains separation with her stride.  For the tournament, Moeller picked up four hits that included two doubles, knocking in three.  Showing a good understanding of her strike zone, she collected three free passes, and once on base she displayed good speed to  pick up three stolen bases, and score eight runs. 

Liliana Liendo (2028 Davenport, IA) is a RHP for silver bracket champions Heartland Havoc 20210. Armed with a four pitch mix of fastball, change-up, rise and curve, Liendo displayed a smooth repeatable motion, utilizing a solid drive phase that helped generate velocity, topping out at 59 mph.  Working 13.1 innings, Liendo sat down 25 batters via strikeout, showing hitters nice movement on her spin pitches, the ability and willingness to throw inside, and a very deceiving, well hidden change-up. Allowing four hits, and although she gave up seven base on balls, she was able to work out of innings and did not allow an earned run, finishing with a 0.00ERA and a 0.83 WHIP.

In the circle, Allison Giese (2027 Sun Prairie, WI), didn’t appear to let much bother her, rarely showing emotions to know if things were going bad, or really good for the Wisconsin Bandits 14u Sabish, RHP.  Utilizing a very fluid delivery, with good use of her lower half, Giese worked a simple four pitch mix of fastball, change-up, rise and curve, with a top velocity of 59 mph. In her 14 innings of work, Giese struck out an impressive 31 batters, showing them a curve that had late movement, resulting in several swing and miss attempts, and a very nice change-up. Giese gave up eight base on balls and twelve hits, finishing with a 1.43 WHIP.  As this young lady matures, and continues to work on her craft, she should develop the consistency and ability to locate all her pitches for strikes, thus cutting these numbers down.

Sidney Schroeder (2027 New Berlin, WI) is another quality RHP for Wisconsin Lightning 09. Showing a repeatable motion with good use of her lower half, and consistent arm swing, Schroeder goes to work in the circle with a five pitch bag of fastball, change-up, curve, rise and drop, working with a top velocity of 61 mph. In her 8.2 innings of work, Schroeder struck out 15, allowed seven hits, gave up five free passes, and three earned runs. Working the top and bottom of the zone with her rise and drop, Schroeder solicited several swing and miss attempts, but when batters were able to hold off on these pitches, a walk could be earned, but she was able to keep herself out of big innings this weekend.

Allison Toft (2027 Stockton, IA) is a RHP for tournament champion Midwest Sluggers ‘09, and standing 6 feet 2 inches tall,  is exactly what you envision when you hear it said that a pitcher has long levers. Starting from an extended step back and extending her hands above her head before starting the drive phase, it appears the circle will not contain her. Topping out at 60 mph, Toft showed batters a five pitch mix of fastball, change-up, curve, rise and screw, in her 9 innings of work,  striking out 12, while giving up two base on balls and two earned runs. This young lady passes the eye test, and will be an interesting follow over the next few years as she matures and continues to develop her skill set.

18U Division

Tournament MVP Award winner, Tara Vandewater (2024 Winterset, IA), is listed as a catcher on the roster, but showed she is a slick fielding infielder as well. The RHH Vandewater, an Oklahoma State University commit, sets up with a slightly wide stance and utilizes a high leg kick to get weight transferred and for timing. Vandewater picked up five hits that included 3 tanks, which were absolutely no-doubters, showing big pull-side power. The only time she got into trouble at the plate was when she would over stride, getting out in front of the pitch. She scored four times and collected seven rbi’s for the tournament champion Iowa Outlaws Select. Vandewater will be fun to watch at the next level as she matures as a hitter for Cowgirl Softball.

Aubrey Lensmeyer (2025 Ankeny, IA) is a RHP for the tournament champion Iowa Outlaws Select, and is no stranger to Scout Note readers, with this being her ninth entry. Displaying a fluid consistent motion and arm swing, along with plus ball movement, the University of South Dakota commit showed up and went to work. In her 7.1 innings of work, Lensmeyer showed hitters a five pitch mix of fastball, change-up, drop, rise and curve, striking out 12, while allowing three hits, three free passes and one earned run, for a 1.00 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. Topping out at 59 mph, Lensmeyer’s keys to success has been her ability to throw all her pitches for strikes,  has plus movement and can locate her pitches to either side of the plate. These attributes will serve her well at the next level.

Other top performers included Rhiannon Rees (2026 Grinnell, IA), playing for Southern Iowa Savage. The L/L hitter/pitcher, sets up tall in the box, with a slightly wide stance. Pre-pitch she makes a deliberate gather to the back side, prior to launch, where she will then stride to gain separation and get her barrel moving. Working her hands inside the ball, Rees moves the ball gap to gap and may be at her best when driving the ball to the opposite field. In collecting six hits, that included a double and two home runs, Rees scored six runs and knocked in five. Also helping her team in the circle, showing hitters a two-seamer, change-up, curve and rise, she worked 12 innings, striking out 8 while topping out at 58 mph.

Ava Hartman (2024 Milan, IL) is a RHH playing for Nebraska Gold 319-Berning. The Eastern Illinois University commit loads into the box with a parallel stance, slightly into the knees. Using a conventional push back to get weight transferred, she moves to launch, setting an aggressive attack angle via torso tilt and turn.  With this aggressive bat path,  of her four hits, Hartman was able to pick up a double and two home runs, She scored four times, knocked in seven, and did not record a strikeout. Both of her home runs, barely missed skimming the roof of the dome at its highest level, true moon shots that one would expect to continue to see as she makes her way to the next level.

Izabella Taylor (2025 Winterset, IA), playing for tournament champion Iowa Outlaw Select, is a catcher hitting from the right-side. Taylor sets up with a wide base, pushes into the back hip to get weight transferred, without moving her front foot, staying wide, and then drives front hip to launch, taking no stride, hitting from a firm front leg. Working her hands inside the ball, and setting an aggressive attack angle, Taylor shows power to all fields. In collecting her five hits, she picked up two home runs, seven rbi’s and did not strike out, showing the ability to hit for power and average,  in finishing with a .714 batting average. Taylor will be taking her game to Boone, IA,  to the campus of Des Moines Area Community College. 

Lily Knutson (2026 Cedar Rapids, IA) is a RHP for Nebraska Gold 319-Berning, and is another name familiar with Scout Note readers.I have been asked why she continues to be included in Scout Notes, and to be fair, she continues to be included due to the fact she is almost always the top performing pitcher, and she is currently not committed. Armed with a fastball, a deceptive change-up, a drop, a rise that jumps out of the top of the zone at the plate, and a plus curve, Knutson worked 14 innings, striking out 28, topping out at 60 mph.  She allowed seven hits, and even though she uncharacteristically gave up seven walks, she worked out of jams and only allowed one earned run to finish with a 0.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. 

Hailey Lucas (2025 Palatine, IL), playing for Va Glory - Lucas, is a RHP that shows a clean compact delivery with consistent arm swing. Going to work in the circle with a five pitch mix of fastball, change-up, curve, rise and screw, Lucas worked eight innings and sat down a remarkable 20 of 24 batters via strike out. In workmanlike fashion, Lucas, on more than one occasion would work a curve away, a screw in, and then finish the batter off with the rise. She threw her change-up just enough to help keep hitters off balance. Topping out at 63 mph, Lucas effectively kept hitters guessing, only allowing three hits, giving up 3 free passes, and two earned runs to finish with a 1.80 ERA and impressive 0.75 WHIP.  Lucas possesses next level tools and a next level mindset.

Kyleigh Sadler (2027 Muskego, WI) is a RHP for Storm National 16U, who were playing up a division,  and this young lady held her own.  Displaying a solid delivery and motion, with good use of her lower half in the drive phase, Sadler brought a simple and effective four pitch bag into the circle of fastball, change-up, drop, and curve. Topping out at 62 mph, Sadler showed the ability to spot the ball to both sides of the plate, with no fear of throwing inside, and a very well hidden and deceptive change-up. In her 10.2 innings of work, Sadler sat down 21 batters via strike out, but got herself into trouble by giving up eight free passes. This young lady has next level tools, and as she grows and matures as a pitcher, with continued work on her craft, one would expect to see her strike to ball percentage rates increase.

Alaina Schwanke (2024 Roscoe, IL) is a RHP playing for Wisconsin Lightning 18u. Schwanke, a Davenport University commit,  displays a repeatable motion with good use of her legs, utilizing a slight leap, and generates a quick arm whip and consistent release. In the circle, Schwanke, topping out at 62 mph, is armed with a five pitch mix of fastball, change-up, drop curve, rise and screw.  In her 9.1 innings of work, she struck out 11, did not give up a walk, and allowed three earned runs. As seen with our other top pitchers, Schwanke possesses a very good change-up that she is able to throw for strikes, and can consistently move the ball throughout the zone to help keep hitters off-balance.