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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 1/25/2023

Perfect Game Softball Winter Blow-Out

Dave Durbala     

BURLINGTON, IOWA - Perfect Game Softball Winter Blow-Out, January 20 - 22, 2023


14U Division


The KC Rebels 2027a went 5 - 0 on the weekend to win the Gold Bracket Championship.  The Rebels were led in the circle by MV-Pitcher Award winner, Mk Cisneros (2028 Overland Park, KS). Being one of the youngest arms in the tournament, Cisneros worked nine innings, collecting 11 strikeouts, and only gave up one earned run, with a five pitch attack that included a curve, drop, change-up, screw and fastball, topping out at 58 mph. Currently, the RHP Cisneros appears to be a pitch to contact pitcher, relying on her ability to hit spots and the defense to make plays behind her.  As Cisneros matures, and her skillset develops, she may evolve into a power type pitcher with swing and miss stuff. With what she showed this weekend, this young lady is definitely one to follow over the next few years.


The MVP Award went to Clara Pinkham (2027 Olathe, KS). The right-handed hitting MIF collected six hits on the weekend, impressively, all six were for extra bases. Pinkham finished with two doubles, a triple and three bombs. The athletically built Pinkham, utilizes a wide stance in the box, rocking into the back hip and then moving to launch without the use of a stride. Pinkham has good use of her hips and lower half through extension and follow through that generate power with her swing. Pinkham knocked in 9 runs and scored six times, displaying good speed on the bases and always appearing to be playing the game at full speed, whether on offense or defense.


Other top performers in the 14u Division included Jenna Benash (2026 Janesville, WI) who consistently produced for Team Heat 08. . Benash, hitting at a .727 clip, picked up eight hits on the weekend that included two doubles and a home run, scoring eight times and knocking in 10 runs. Saving her best for last, Benash went a combined 3 for 5 with five runs scored and seven rbi’s on Championship Sunday to help lead her team to the Silver Bracket Championship.


Team Heat 08 teammate, Madyson Hoenig (2026 Beloit, WI) also added to the offensive production for the Silver Bracket Champions. Hoenig, starting from a slightly crouched stance, does a good job of getting separation and staying connected during her swing. Hoenig collected six hits that included a double, triple and two home runs, scoring seven runs.  Hoenig had a knack of getting key hits with runners in scoring position, as she had a tournament best 11 runs knocked in.


Capri Olsen (2027 Lenexa, KS) is not the tallest girl on the field, but she swings a big bat for the Gold Bracket Champion, KC Rebels 2027a.  Olsen utilizes her lower half to its fullest to generate power, which assisted her in picking up eight hits that included two doubles and a home run.  In the championship game, Olsen led her team by going 2 for 3 and knocking in four. Do not sleep on this young lady when she is at the plate. She showed this weekend that she can flat out hit the ball, finishing with a .667 BA, with some power.


In the circle, Aidan Dintelman (2026 Columbia, IL) had a good showing for St. Louis Chaos 08.  The RHP, working hitters with a five pitch mix that included a drop, curve, screw, change-up and fastball, topping out at 59 mph, sat 15 batters down via strike out in her 15 innings of work. Dintelman was at her best when working the outer parts of the strike zone and throwing her change-up, with a -14 mph drop from her fastball, for strikes. As Dintelman develops her skillset over the next few years, gains strength and can consistently keep the ball off the middle of the plate, this young lady will have the opportunity to pitch at the next level.


Ada Schweller (2026 Lenexa, KS) a RHP for KC Rebels 2027a has several attributes one would seek in a pitcher, she stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, has long levers, demonstrates a smooth repeatable delivery and showed the ability to hit spots w/ all her pitches, Schweller passes the eye test.  Working with a fastball that topped out at 61 mph, a curve, and a change-up that hovered around 44 mph, Schweller struck out nine in six innings of work, only giving up 3 hits and one earned run. Also helping her team at the plate, Schweller collected four hits with two being for doubles, knocked in four runs and scored five runs. As this young lady progresses, she would benefit with the addition of movement pitch(es) to change levels and speed to disrupt hitters.


RHP Peyton Chambers (2027 Prior Lake, MN) is a lanky pitch to contact style pitcher for Tc Blitz 14u.  In her ten innings of work, Chamber struck out nine with a mix of pitches that included a drop, curve, change-up and a fastball that registered 57 mph. Chambers' best performance of the weekend washer four inning, one hitter that moved her team into the Gold Bracket Championship Final.  As Chambers matures, she will benefit from added strength that will translate into added velocity and higher spin rates.


16U Division


GTS 15u Elite, out of Elkhorn, WI went 5 and 0, outsourcing their opponents 40 to 10 to take the Gold Bracket Championship. Earning MV-Pitcher was GTS’ LHP, Hildie Dempsey (2025 Jefferson, WI).  Dempsey, armed with a 62 mph fastball, a rise, curve, drop and change-up, recorded 18 strikeouts in her twelve innings of work. Dempsey showing the ability to throw her curve to both sides of the plate, and her change-up for strikes, kept batters guessing. Dempsey, after only giving up two earned runs and walking three, finished with a 1.20 ERA and a very good 0.75 WHIP. This young lady will have a tough decision to make when the recruitment  process kicks into full swing. Will the skill set shown, Dempsey will be a highly sought after 2025.


Earning MVP Award was Claire Connelly (2025 Mundelein, IL) a LHH for GTS 15u Elite. Connelly, with a non prototypical swing, would have the hitting experts on Twitter scratching their heads and arguing for hours after watching a tweet of her hitting. Utilizing a strong upper body, Connelly does not engage her lower half with her swing, instead just using her  arms and a slight torso turn. Say what you want, this girl can rake and you don’t fix what is not broken.  Hitting the ball to all fields, with the ball jumping off her barrel, Connelly had seven hits that included four doubles and two bombs, knocking in six and scoring eight runs. I admit, I scratched my head and wondered what I was seeing, but I am now a believer. You keep doing you young lady.


Other top performers this weekend included Jadynn Ruiz (2026 Antioch, IL), a right-handed hitting MIF for GTS 15u Elite. Ruiz, hitting at a .692 clip, recorded nine hits that included two doubles and a home run, hitting out of the lead-off spot. Ruiz does a nice job keeping her front side closed on the outside pitch, allowing her to drive that pitch oppo with authority. Ruiz was able to pick up four rbi’s, score eight runs and utilize her speed to swipe 3 bases .  Defensively, Ruiz showed a good pre-pitch set up, had a good first step to the ball and showed the ability to make the routine plays at shortstop.


Kate Hummel (2026 Walworth, WI) is the 3rd top performing bat in the GTS 15u Elite line up. Starting with a slightly wide base, Hummel shows lots of movement in the box as she stacks into her back hip and then strides to launch, for timing and to generate power.  Hummel collected seven hits, scoring three runs and knocking in seven. Hummel was able to drive the ball into the gaps and utilize her speed to collect four doubles while also swiping five bases.


Hailey Lucas (2025 Palatine, IL) put together a nice weekend using her arm and bat for Va Glory 16u - Lucas. The RHP/RHH Lucas picked up six hits with a double and three home runs, scoring five runs and knocking in seven, finishing with a .667 BA. In the circle, Lucas was equally as impressive. Using a five pitch arsenal that included a curve, rise, drop, change-up and fastball that topped out at 62 mph, Lucas recorded 17 strikeouts in her eight innings of work. Showing good command of her pitches, Lucas did not give up a walk and seldom went deep in a count.  This young lady continues to show she has the ability to be a two way player at the next level.


Kiera Klum (2024 Centerville, IA) is an athletic 3B for Iowa Elite - Red. Klum starts with a tall, slightly open stance, getting back to parallel with her stride. Klum collected eight hits that included three doubles and a home run, showing some pull side pop. Klum picked up four rbi’s, scored 4 runs and did not strike out in her 12 plate appearances, finishing with a .727 batting average, in helping her team to the Silver Bracket Championship. Klum, with the speed and arm strength she displayed, could possibly make a move to the outfield, increasing her opportunities to gain playing time at the next level.


Lily Knutson (2026 Cedar Rapids, IA) used her arm and bat to help Iowa Elite - Red secure the Silver Bracket Championship. In the circle, utilizing a rise, drop, screw, change-up and fastball, clocking in at 56 mph, Knutson recorded an impressive 30 strikeouts in her 13 innings of work. Knutson does a good job of throwing her drop and change-ups for strikes, then comes back with the rise that hitters swing and miss as it rides out of the zone. At the plate, Knutson takes big cuts with an aggressive bat path. This combination resulted in her picking up six hits, with three doubles and two home runs for four rbi’s and five runs scored. Knutson, with continued work and development, has a high ceiling and will have many options during the recruiting process.


Addison Gralund (2025 Marion, IA) a RHP for Southeast Iowa Allstars 16u Gold-Jones, put together a nice weekend in the circle and at the plate. Utilizing a five pitch mix that included a drop, rise, curve, change-up and fastball, with a top velocity of 58 mph, Gralund sat down 18 batters via strikeout in her eight innings of work. Showing a plus curve, and a change-up that locked up hitters, Gralund only gave up five hits and one base on balls to finish with an impressive 0.75 WHIP.  At the plate, she picked up seven hits, with a double and finished with a .636 BA.  Over the next couple of years, with continued growth and skill development, this young lady will find herself playing at the next level.


Hannah Gibson (2025 Chesterfield, IL) is a RHP for Force Elite, with a mix of pitches that includes a drop, curve, screw, change-up and fastball with a top velocity of 58 mph this weekend. Key to Gibson’s success was her ability to throw to both sides of the plate, with good late movement stuff, on her screw and curve. Gibson worked nine innings and collected 13 strikeouts, finishing with a respectable 1.39 WHIP for the tournament.


Sydney Carlson (2025 Cedar Rapids, IA) pitching for Iowa Elite - Red, was able to strike out 15 batters in her eight innings of work.  Utilizing a five pitch approach, the RHP comes with a rise, change-up, drop, curve and fastball that came in at 55 mph. Carlson was successful due to having the ability to work inside, resulting in several weakly hit ground balls and fly balls, as hitters couldn’t barrel up the pitch..  As Carlson advances levels, she will need to limit base on balls and continue to pitch to the edges of the strike zone, keeping pitches off the middle of the plate. If successful in doing this, this young lady will have the opportunity to pitch at the next level.