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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 12/21/2022

Perfect Game Softball Christmas Classic

Dave Durbala     

BURLINGTON, IA - Perfect Game Softball Christmas Classic, December 17 - 18, 2022

14u Division

MVPitcher was awarded to Lily Black (2027 Ankeny, IA) a RHP for Iowa Elite Force 09, who helped lead her team to the championship in the circle and at the plate. Topping out at 59 mph, Black utilized a four pitch arsenal of rise, drop, change up and fastball to strike out 19 hitters in her 12 innings of work.  At the plate, starting with a slightly open stance and utilizing a leg kick, Black made the most of her three hits with two home runs, knocked in six and scored four times.  Although overpowering some batters with her fastball in this division, Black will benefit as a pitcher, maturing and gaining strength to generate higher spin rates on her movement pitches over the next few years.

The MVP was awarded to Nikayla Davis (2027 Bondurant, IA) of Iowa Elite Force 09 who showed she had speed to spare. Batting lead-off, the RHH Davis was able to leg out a couple of doubles to go with her two base hits. When held to singles, or drawing a walk, Davis utilized her speed as she swiped five bases to get into scoring position for her teammates, leading to her scoring 6 runs.

Other players doing work this weekend included Alyssah Padia (2026 Prophetstown, IL). The RHH Padia, playing for QC Firebirds 08 Navy, picked up five hits on the weekend. Hitting at a .625 clip, Padia had a double and home run, knocking in three.  On the bases, Padia swiped two bases and scored five runs.

RHH Payton Harris (2028 Mediapolis, IA) playing for Black Dragons 14u, collected five hits that included two doubles. Harris knocked in two and scored one run. Where this young lady shines is behind the plate.  Harris has a good set up, showed the ability to block pitches, keeping the ball in front of her, and good glove work that helped her pitchers get calls on edge pitches. She displayed a strong arm, with a quick release, that has the potential to become a plus arm as she matures and gains strength.

Alyse Merrill (2027 Colona, IA) a RHH playing for QC Firebirds 08 Navy, finished the weekend hitting .667, on four hits that included a double while knocking in five.  More impressive than her batting average, was the fact she finished with a .750 OBP giving her teammates plenty of opportunities to pick up some rbi’s.


18u Division

The MVPitcher Award went to Hailey Lucas (2025 Palatine, IL). The RHP, playing for VA Glory16u - Lucas, totaled 12 innings of work and recorded 22 punchouts. Lucas utilized a drop, rise, change up and curve to go with her fastball that topped out at 61 mph. Lucas was successful due to her ability to locate her pitches,  create movement and throw her change up for strikes.  Lucas also displayed some mental fortitude as she was called upon to come into games in later innings to get her team out of trouble. Lucas also helped her team at the plate, picking up six hits that included a double and home run, knocking in three and scoring four runs.

Earning the MVP Award was Maddy McDermott (2023 Walcott, IA) playing for Southeast Iowa Allstars 16u Gold - Jones.  The RHH University of Northern Iowa commit  put on a display at the plate. Hitting from a tall stance, McDermott has good movement in the box and gets the barrel set with a bat path that lends itself to hitting line drives. Of McDermott’s six hits, five were for extra bases that included a double, a triple and three bombs plating nine while scoring four runs. In the circle, McDermott worked nine innings and recorded 15 strikeouts, with a top velocity of 62 mph.

Other players making a mark included Brinlee Ostrander (2024 Eldon, IA). This LHH catcher, for Southeast Iowa Allstars 16u Gold - Jones, appears to have expanded her game. Previously seen as having a bunt, soft slap approach, now has shown the ability to be successful with the hard slap. Ostrander collected seven hits that included 2 doubles, with the hard slap responsible for the three runs she knocked in. Not lacking speed, Ostrander scored five runs and appears to always be looking to put pressure on the defense by taking extra bases.

Michaela Goad (2024 Springville, IA) with Thunder 18u Black, continues to impress at the plate. Hitting at a .750 clip, Goad picked up six hits, which included a home run. She knocked in seven and scored four runs. The fact that Goad only played the first day of the tournament makes these numbers even more impressive. Goad never appears to be trying to do too much at the plate. She is on time with the barrel through the zone, utilizes a good attack angle and solid use of her lower half, the results speak for themselves.

Greta Mueller (2026 South Barrington, IL) is a RHH catcher for VA Glory 16u - Lucas.  Mueller, listed at 5 foot 11 inches tall, but appears taller, uses a rocking motion in the box to get her weight into her back hip and get separation.  At contact she has engaged lower half and has a nice torso tilt that sets her attack angle. The results, five hits with a double and two tanks for nine rbi’s. Behind the plate, Mueller is equally proficient.  Mueller has a good pre pitch set up, shows good glove work and defensive skills. She displayed a plus arm but at times got long with her release. Mueller was clocked several times and her best pop time was 1.87 seconds, while dropping to her knee to make the throw.

Kennedy Conner (2025 North Liberty, IA) is a LHH catcher for Thunder 18u Black. Conner has a solid set up in the box,with  hands high, and very little movement and utilizes her stride to get separation. Conner gets the barrel through the zone on a path that gets the ball in the air and she has the ability to hit to all fields and shows some pull side power potential. For the weekend, Conner collected four hits with two doubles, five rbi’s and scored 4 runs.

McKensey Stontz (2023 Kewanee, IL) playing for Green Extreme Gxta, hits the ball hard and shows she has power to all fields. Setting up in the box in a good athletic stance, Stontz gets her weight to the back side before driving her lower half forward and getting the barrel moving. Stontz displayed a quick bat and seldom swung and missed at the pitcher's offerings. Stontz finished the weekend with five hits that included a double and two home runs, for seven runs knocked in.

In the circle, Cooper Klaahsen (2023 Nora Springs, IA) is a RHP for North Iowa Heat.  Utilizing a rise, curve, change up and screw, topping out at 57 mph, Klaahsen worked 12 innings and recorded 19 strikeouts. Using movement and change of speed to keep hitters off balance, Klaahsen found success with her rise, having several batters chasing the pitch out of the zone. Klaahsen finished with a 0.60 ERA after only giving up one earned run, and a WHIP of 1.03

Abagail Winter (2023 Dubuque, IA) continues with the hot hand in the circle for Thunder 18u Black, again recording 2+ strikeouts per innings pitched. Utilizing her full complement of pitches that includes a drop, rise, change up, curve, and fastball that topped out at 60 mph, the RHP Iowa Central Community College commit was able to  strike out 21 batters in her 9 innings of work. At the plate, Winter was able to help her team with four hits that included two home runs, knocking in five runs.

Madeline Barker (2023 Floris, IA), a RHP for the Southeast Iowa Hawks had a very good showing. Barker was in the circle for 8 innings and sat down 19 batters via strike out.  Barker, with a full arsenal of pitches, found a home for her rise as hitters struggled staying off the pitch and it resulted in several swing and miss K’s. Topping out at 60 mph, Barker showed the ability to throw strikes, only allowing one walk and finishing with an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 0.88, numbers that would indicate this young lady has the game to play at the next level.