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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 12/8/2023

2023 PG Softball "Toys 4 Tots" Fundraiser

Dave Durbala     

BURLINGTON, IA - 2023 Perfect Game Softball “Toys 4 Tots” Fundraiser Tournament was held at The Turf on December 2-3, 2023. Sixteen teams, eight in each division of 14u and 18u, participated in this event which is used to gather donated toys and financial donations for the local Toys 4 Tots Chapter. In the end, Alliance Select Gold took home the 14u title and Midwest Sluggers earned the 18u championship medals.

14U Division

Makenna Pitlick (2027 Adel, IA) earned the MV-Pitcher award for tournament champion, Alliance Select Gold. Pitlick, a RHP, displayed a fluid repeatable motion, utilizing a strong leg push in the drive phase, with a consistent arm swing and point of release. Working with a four-pitch mix of fastball, rise, curve and change-up, Pitlick worked both sides of the plate, topping out at 58 mph,  and changed speeds effectively to keep hitters off balance, which often resulted in weak ground balls on the infield.  In her seven innings of work, she struck out five and did not give up an earned run. As Pitlick matures and gains strength, and with continued work on her skill set, this young lady will be a definite follow over the next few years.

Maddie Schonhorst (2027 Huxley, IA) playing for tournament champion Alliance Select Gold, earned the MVP award. Hitting from the right-side, Schonhorst sets up in the box with a slightly open stance, sitting into the legs. She will then coil to move weight to the back side and get separation, before taking a stride to make a positive move towards the pitcher. Hitting from a firm front leg, Schonhorst picked up seven hits on the weekend, with  five being for extra bases with three doubles, a triple and a home run. She scored seven runs, drew a couple of free passes and collected an impressive 12 rbi’s, while hitting at a .583 clip and finishing with a .643 OBP.

Caycee Crawford (2027 New Hampton, IA), playing for Cik 09s, only picked up four hits on the weekend, but when those four hits all go for extra bases that include a double and three bombs, you make the top performers list. Hitting from the right-side, Crawford sets up in a wide stance, with feet parallel, taking a step back to get weight onto the back leg before taking an elongated stride in the launch phase. When all the working parts are on time, and Crawford maintains balance, the ball jumps off her barrel with serious pull side power. For her effort, Crawford scored eight times, drew four walks and knocked in ten, finishing with a .643 OBP.

Erin Steege (2028 Fredericksburg, IA) is an athletic shortstop for Cik 09s. Hitting from the right-side, Steege sets up in a slight crouch, feet parallel and utilizes a step back approach to get weight transferred to the back hip. Getting the bat through the zone with an aggressive attack angle,  Steege worked the ball gap to gap  picking up four hits, all for extra bases, with a double, triple and two home runs. Steege showed good speed in scoring six runs and swiping 3 bases,   collected five rbi’s and did not record a strike out. Defensively, Steege showed good pre-pitch movement, a good first step and glove work that had her making all the routine plays.

Austyn Kinch
(2028 Mineral Point, WI) is a switch-hitting shortstop for tournament finalist Wisconsin Bandits 14U Kelly/Wunderlich. Kinch, only seen hitting from the right-side, stays tall in the box, steps back to get weight transferred to the back side, and then strides to gain separation and for timing. Kinch showed power to all fields in picking up five hits with four for extra bases in a double, triple and two home runs, that included a walk-off  bomb in International Tie Breaker, that sent her team into the semi-finals. Kinch scored four runs, knocked in six and finished with a .692 OBP. 

Charlie Damstetter (2028 Ankeny, IA) is a RHP/Utility player for tournament champion Alliance Select Gold. Hitting from the left-side, Damstetter sets up with a narrow stance, sitting into the legs, bent forward at the waist, making a slight pre-pitch move for weight transfer, and then fires the hips and throws the barrel. Damstetter picked up six hits on the weekend, with a double, scored five runs and knocked in eight. Showing good patience at the plate, Damstetter also worked pitchers for six base on balls and did not record a strike out, finishing with a tournament high .750 batting average and .857 OBP.

Alia Zimmerman (2027 Ankeny, IA), a RHP for Alliance Select Gold,  was given the ball for the tournament final, and she didn't disappoint. Working four innings of 3 hit ball, Zimmerman struck out three,  gave up one earned run and watched her offense put up five runs for the win. For the weekend, Zimmerman, utilizing a fastball, change-up, rise and curve, worked seven innings and collected nine K’s, while topping out at 59 mph. Although, on average,  giving up one hit an inning, Zimmerman showed good composure, kept throwing strikes, and did not allow any big innings, a good characteristic to have at any level as a pitcher.

Tenleigh Bockhop (2028 Mineral Point, WI), a RHP playing for Wisconsin Bandits 14U Kelly/Wunderlich, helped her team reach the finals on both sides of the ball. In the circle, working with a four-pitch mix of fastball, change-up, rise and drop curve, Bockhop showed a repeatable motion, with very good use of her legs in the drive phase.  Throwing to both sides of the plate, willing to challenge hitters inside, Bockhop worked 7.2 innings, struck out eight and only gave up one earned run, while reaching a top velocity of 56 mph, to finish with a 0.90 ERA. At the plate, Bockhop picked up seven hits that included two doubles, while knocking in five.

Cadence Smith (2028 Quincy, IL) is a RHP for Adams County Aces 14u, and to say she is intimidating in the circle is an accurate statement, as she measures six - feet tall.  Gifted with long levers, Smith brings a fastball, change-up, curve and drop into the circle, topping out at 56 mph. Smith was able to keep hitters off-balance with pitch location, and a very nice change-up that locked hitters up. Working 9.1 innings, Smith struck out 13 batters, but experienced some control issues that got her into trouble. If this young lady, as she matures and gains strength,  will continue to work on her craft, utilizing her legs to their fullest in the drive phase, and become consistent with her delivery and arm swing, would appear to have a high ceiling and an excellent follow over the next few years.

Jordyn Marshall (2028 Ft. Madison, IA) may be small in stature, but she is big with intensity in the circle. The RHP for Black Dragons 14u Arrowood, whether winning or losing, displays a confidence and demeanor  in the circle that doesn’t change.  Utilizing a five-pitch bag of fastball, change-up, screw, rise and drop curve, Marshall worked 9.2 innings and sat down nine batters via strikeout, while topping out at 55 mph. As she progresses, Marshall will be successful if she is able to consistently spot her pitches, effectively change speed, and show the ability to throw all of her pitches for strikes.

18U Division

Saydee Plummer (2024 Burlington, IA) earned the MV-Pitcher award for tournament champion Midwest Sluggers. The RHP Plummer, a recent Iowa Western Community College commit, utilizes a full arsenal of pitches, with a fastball, change-up, rise, drop, curve and screw, with a top velocity of 61 mph. Plummer has a slightly unorthodox delivery, with her hips opening up and her momentum falling off to the first base side of the circle. If her arm swing is not in sync with this, she will occasionally have control problems. It should be no surprise, that due to this delivery motion, her screw is her go to strikeout pitch. Plummer worked 13.1 innings, striking out 17, walked six and gave up three earned runs to finish with a 1.60 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.

Taylor Dieterich (2025 Taylor Ridge, IL) was named tournament MVP, playing for tournament finalist Quad City Lady Hitmen 07. A true two-way player, Dieterich helped her team at the plate as well as working some valuable innings in the circle. Offensively, Dieterich has an athletic set -up in the box, parallel stance, slight bend in the legs. She utilizes a low leg kick to transfer weight to the back side, and then makes a strong  positive move in the launch phase, working hands inside the ball, barrel through the zone with an aggressive attack angle,  and hits from a firm front side.

On the weekend, Dieterich picked up eight hits, including a double and three bombs, scored six runs,  knocked in six, stole five bases and drew a couple of walks, finishing with a .615 batting average.

Alyse Harris (2024 Buffalo, IA) is a C/3B for tournament champion Midwaest Sluggers. Hitting from the right-side, Harris sets up in a slightly open stance, sitting into her legs. Utilizing a short stride, getting weight transfer at foot lift, and then the positive move for separation and timing, Harris showed patience at the plate, and the ability to work the ball gap to gap. Picking up six hits, Harris was able to leg out 3 doubles, score nine runs, collect five rbi’s, and draw a couple of walks to finish with a .643 OBP. The recent Rock Valley College commit should be able to step in and make an immediate impact for the Golden Eagles.

Olivia Young
(2024 Cedar Rapids, IA), playing for Lady Expos Hs Blue, was able to make the top performers  list as a hitter, and also as the tournament's highest scoring pitcher. At the plate, Young, hitting from the right-side, starts with a slightly open stance, and with little movement, rocks onto back leg to transfer weight, and utilizes a small stride to get momentum moving towards the pitcher. Young works her hands inside the ball in the swing and works the ball gap to gap. Collecting nine hits, that included three doubles, Young scored six runs, knocked in five and finished hitting at a .692.  In the circle, the Spoon River College commit is very deliberate in her motion, and goes to work with a fastball, change-up, drop, curve, rise and screw. Topping out at 60 mph, The RHP Young worked 15.1 innings and showed a plus change-up to go along with a tight spinning, late movement curve, in recording 22 strikeouts. Giving up three earned runs and one base on balls, Young finished with a 1.40 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.

Ava Hahn (2025 Galena, IL) is a OF/RHP for Lady Expos Hs Blue. Hahn, also hitting from the right-side, sets up with feet parallel, and takes an early pre-pitch release stride to get weight back and gain separation, then utilizing a solid lower half, finishing with a swing into a firm front side. On the weekend, Hahn picked up six hits, displaying the ability to drive the ball gap to gap, by collecting four doubles. She scored six runs, knocked in four, drew two free passes and did not record a strikeout, finishing with a nice .667 batting average and a .727 OBP. Although earning a MV-Pitcher award two weeks ago, this young lady is now showing her ability to play on both sides of the ball at the next level.

Kaitlyn Merkel (2025 Bettendorf, IA) is a RHP/Util for the tournament champion Midwest Sluggers. With a conventional set-up in the box, staying tall and utilizing a low step back, without touching down, to get weight in the back hip, Merkel then moves into her stride. Working her barrel to the ball, while keeping her hands inside the ball and not losing the front-side, Merkel hits to all fields and shows gap to gap power.  For her effort, Merkel picked up seven hits, with four doubles, scored four runs and knocked in three. Also working some valuable innings in the circle, Merkel utilized a fastball, change-up, drop and curve to record five K’s in 4.1 innings, topping out at 58 mph, and did not allow an earned run.

Jolee Strohmeyer (2026 Dubuque, IA) continues to impress in the circle for Lady Expos Hs Red. This young lady, with a fundamentally strong, consistent and repeatable delivery, displays the ability to throw all her pitches for strikes, to both sides of the plate. Armed with a five-pitch mix of fastball, change-up, curve, drop and rise, Strohmeyer worked 10 innings and sat down 15 batters via the strikeout. Topping out at 59 mph, Strohmeyer showed tight spin on movement pitches and a plus change-up that locked up hitters. With her ability to consistently throw strikes, keep batters off-balance with movement and change of speed, and throw pitches to both sides of the plate, the tools are in place for this young lady to play at the next level.

Elsie Cook (2026 Aledo, IL), is a RHP for Quad City Lady Hitmen ‘07. Although Cook has several working parts in her motion and delivery, and sometimes appears to be rushing through it, she stays consistent with her arm swing and release, resulting in the ball consistently finishing around the plate.With a six-pitch bag of fastball, change-up, screw, drop, curve and rise, Cook worked 9.2 innings, striking out nine batters, showing late movement on her curve and running her screw in on  the hands of right-handed batters. With a  recorded velocity of 55 mph, pitch location, change of speed,  and movement were key to her success in the circle. Cook gave up one free pass and two earned runs  to finish with a 1.40 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.

Lily Coil (2025 Columbus Junction, IA) is an athletic RHP/SS for Southeast Iowa Allstars 16U Black.  With a smooth repeatable motion, and with excellent use of her lower half in the drive phase, Coil went to work with a four-pitch mix of fastball, change-up, curve and screw. Showing good movement, the ability to locate her fastball throughout the zone and show hitters a change of speed, Coil sat down 16 batters via strikeout in her 9.2 innings of work. Consistently working around the plate, Coil only gave up two walks. Defensively, playing SS,  Coil displayed good pre-pitch movement, good footwork after getting a read on the ball off the bat, and good velocity getting the ball across the infield. A definite two way prospect for the next level.

  • Dave Durbala