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Softball  | Softball Showcase  | 11/2/2022

PG Elite 40 St. Louis Scout Notes

Dave Durbala      Rachel Klipper     
Photo: Perfect Game
16u Division

The MV-Pitcher award went to Jags Select RHP Lauren Sandholm (2027, Ankeny, Iowa). On the weekend, Sandholm was in the circle for 20 1/3 innings, with none more impressive than the three innings of relief work in the championship game to close out Force Elite. Sandholm, with velocity that touched 62 mph, utilized a changeup, drop and rise to go with her fastball. Her ability to work the zone top to bottom, with movement, and then hit spots with her fastball are keys to her success. Not just a pitcher, Sandholm helped her team on offense by picking up 12 hits, including three doubles and two triples. She scored 10 runs, knocked in 9 and swiped 3 bases. As this young lady matures and gains strength, she would project to gain velocity, but more importantly, gain spin rate that will result in sharper late breaking movement.

The MVP award went to McKenna Vallejo (2024, Ankeny, Iowa). Hitting leadoff for Jags Select, the left-handed slapper demonstrated good barrel awareness, touch, and ability to read defenses while at the plate. Once the ball was put in play, Vallejo utilized her speed to collect 12 hits, including a double, scored 8 runs and stole 6 bases. Amassing a near .600 OBP, Vallejo gave those teammates following her in the lineup plenty of opportunities to pick up RBI.

Pitchers battled cold, wet conditions this weekend, but still got the job done. That included Brooke Bearden (2026, Robertsville, Mo.). Utilizing a full seven-pitch arsenal, Bearden worked 10 innings for Texas Glory STL 24/25 and collected 14 strikeouts. Topping out at 58 mph, Bearden relied on her rise, which had batters chasing the pitch out of the zone. Bearden also had batters swinging over the top of her drop and drop curve, which also resulted in hitters beating the pitch into the ground, for her defense to make routine plays for the out. Bearden, who already has a good pitching skill set, would benefit from strength gains as she matures over the next few years, for added velocity and spin rates, that will play at the next level.

Tiffany Taylor (2028, Des Moines, Iowa), a RHP for Iowa Dynamite, utilized a changeup, curve, drop curve and two-seamer to work the zone top to bottom, in and out. With a velocity that touched 61 mph, Taylor worked 19 2/3 innings and collected 31 strikeouts, relying on her curve and drop curve. She did a good job of pitching to spots and changing speeds to keep hitters off balance. As one of the youngest arms in the tournament, Taylor shows promise and a high ceiling, if she chooses to continue to put in the time and effort needed to develop her craft.

Hannah Gibson (2025, Chesterfield, Ill.) is a RHP for Force Elite. Gibson topped out at 59 mph this weekend, but what made her successful was the movement she generated on her curve, drop and screw. Gibson, with a smooth arm swing and solid use of her lower half, appears she may have more velocity in the tank. In her 17 1/3 innings of work, Gibson struck out 15. She showed the ability to work the screw in under the hands of right-handed batters, resulting in swing-and-miss or jam jobs that led to easy outs. If she chooses to continue to work, Gibson will pitch at the next level.

Pitching for STL Ajax Angels, Gabrielle McBride (2025, St. Louis, Mo.) led all pitchers by recording 39 strikeouts in 20 innings of work. The RHP utilized a curve, screw, rise, drop and changeup to go with a fastball that topped out at 60 mph. McBride, with a free, easy arm swing, appeared to generate a high spin rate that resulted in plus movement on her curve and screw, enabling her to work inside on batters, on either side of the plate. Her mentality to work inside on hitters, paired with her ability to do so successfully, will benefit her at the next level.

At the plate, Riley Andrzejewski (2024, O’Fallon, Mo.) went 7-for-8, a .875 clip, for the Missouri Bombers 06 Gold. Andrzejewski, hitting from the right side in a slightly crouched stance, would get herself in a good position to attack pitches at launch. Not trying to do too much with the pitch, she collected six singles and a double while showing a disciplined approach at the plate. Utilizing her speed, Andrzejewski swiped 8 bases, in essence turning her singles into doubles as she put pressure on the defense. Showing the ability to play outfield and infield, possessing good speed and having a good approach at the plate, should afford Andrzejewski the opportunity to continue playing softball after high school.

Playing for Force Elite, Abigail Hendricks (2024 Waverly, IL) was steady at the plate all weekend. Flipping from the four- or five-hole in a potent Force lineup, Hendricks had multiple hits in 5-of-7 games, for 11 hits and a .688 batting average. The left-handed hitter utilizes a tall stance in the box, slightly closed with a stride to gain separation. Hendricks hunted her pitch early in the count, and if she got it, usually didn’t miss it. Showing gap-to-gap power, Hendricks legged out four doubles, scored five runs and knocked in six. With her current game, Hendricks has the tools that will play at the next level without much need for adjustment.

Mattie Chandler (2026, Louisiana, Mo.), playing for Texas Glory STL 24/25, finished the weekend hitting .667. Chandler legged out two doubles and two triples while scoring three runs and knocking in six. Setting up in a semi-crouched stance, Chandler is short and quick to the ball and utilizes a solid lower half to generate some pop off the bat. Although aggressive with her swing, she doesn’t lose her balance over-swinging, showing good discipline at the plate, not chasing pitches out of the zone.

Ava Rodriguez (2026, Pawnee, Ill.) plays with a maturity not equal to her age, and may have been one of the most athletic players in the tournament. Playing for Force Elite, Rodriguez regularly barreled up the ball and of her 6 hits, she had a double, triple and two home runs. More impressively was the fact she scored 9 runs and collected 9 RBI. Rodriguez had a good athletic setup in the box, utilized a solid lower half that generated power, and had a bat path that lended itself to getting the ball in the air. She was quick out of the box and looked to take extra bases. Defensively, while playing third base, Rodriguez had a good pre-pitch set up and utilized her quickness to cut off balls in the 5/6 hole and to charge bunts or soft slaps. Utilizing good fielding and throwing mechanics, she showed good arm strength that will play at the next level.

-Dave Durbala

18u Division

Though it was a rainy Sunday, the Firecrackers MO 06 – Swiderski did not miss a beat, as they went undefeated, winning the 18U division. Mia Miller was named MV-Pitcher, and rightfully so, striking out 29 for the weekend and allowing only 7 hits. Gracie Miller was named MVP for the tournament with not a single strikeout at the plate. Her bat played a role in the win for her team. The Firecrackers were unstoppable this weekend and were the definition of a team effort to get the win time and time again.

5-foot-8 long-legged pitcher Taylor Brown (2024, Washington, Mo.) with Firecrackers MO 06 – Swiderski stood out on the mound as teams struggled to get a piece of the ball. Her 63 mph fastball along with the added movement was key to her control of the game. It was often a batter would watch a pitch go by only to find out the ball spun its way back into the zone in the nick of time. At the plate she was just as crucial, with 8 hits for the weekend and zero strikeouts. She had the skill to make a change as a pitch came in and go with what was to given to her.

Right-handed pitcher Lily Douglas (2025, St Louis, Mo.) with St. Louis Softball 07 only had 2 walks for the weekend and goes to show the impact of a consistently accurate pitcher. The command she had of her pitches is what truthfully led to her success this weekend.

Bailey Mettler (2024, Highland, Ill.) with Espirit 05 played an impactful role behind the plate, whether it be a wall that is quick to a wild pitch or how she continued to keep an upbeat attitude and communicate with her team on a regular basis. Framing pitches as needed, she put in all-out effort each time to ensure a win at the plate for her pitcher. At the plate she is well-versed in using her lower half while throwing her hands through the ball to result in her .500 average.

Ava Kuzara (2024, Wentzville, Mo.), playing center field for STL Stix, habitually used her quick feet to stay ahead of the ball. Often enough, her read on the batter is what gave her the advantage of what to expect as she instantly moved in the direction she needed to go.

Right-handed pitcher Lauren Hagedorn (2026, Adel, Iowa) with Alliance Select 18U Blackford had true command over her pitches with an average of 61 mph for the weekend. She stood out on the mound with the amount of force she uses with her legs to really push off the mound. With a touch of movement to follow, she has the skills to pitch at the next level.

-Rachel Klipper