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Softball  | Softball Tournament  | 3/21/2023

2023 18u Perfect Game Softball High School Earlybird

Dave Durbala     

Burlington, IA – 2023 18u Perfect Game Softball High School Earlybird, Saturday and Sunday, 1 day Events, March 18 – 19, 2023.

Top performances each day were combined to compile Scout Notes for this event as some teams only played one day.

Ella Brown (2025 Cedar Rapids, IA) was one of our Day 1 leaders at the plate for Kennedy Cougars 18u. Brown a LHP/RHH appears taller than the 5 feet 8 inches listed while either in the box or in the circle. Setting up with a good solid base, Brown pushes into the back side to transfer weight and then utilizes her stride to gain separation. Brown does not get cheated on her swing, taking a very aggressive cut and an attack angle that tends to keep the ball off the ground. Brown collected six hits that included two doubles and a homerun for six runs knocked in and scored five runs while hitting at a .667 clip. In the circle, Brown worked four innings picking up six strikeouts while topping out at 59 mph.

Devin Simon (2023 Cascade, IA) is no stranger to Scout Notes. The University of Iowa commit displays the ability to barrel up softballs and hit them hard, and for distance.  The athletic Simon picked up four hits, and in what has become the norm, all were extra base hits with a double and three homeruns, knocking in seven and scoring four runs for Lady Expos Houselog.  In a tip of the cap to Simon, I would like to point out that she is a multi-sport athlete at Cascade High School, and in this day and age of kids wanting to specialize in one sport, Simon did not and was still able to secure a spot at a Power Five school to play softball. Nice work Devin.

Sydney Carlson (2025 Cedar Rapids, IA) is a RHP/RHH for Kennedy Cougars 18u made the top performers list for her work at the plate and in the circle. Carlson has a nice approach at the plate, starting with a good set up and pre-pitch move to get weight transfer. She sets the bat path early and carries it through the zone to contact and through extension. Carlson collected four hits that included a double and two bombs, while knocking in seven. In the circle, Carlson worked 8 innings and struck out 17 batters, utilizing a 5 pitch mix that included a rise, drop, change-up, curve and fastball that topped out at 57 mph. Carlson, although not over powering,  was able to pitch to spots and showed improved movement on her spin pitches that resulted in swing and miss type stuff, only giving up four hits in her eight innings of work and finishing with a 0.88 WHIP.  With three more years to work on her skill set, and mature as a pitcher, this young lady will be one to follow as she continues her age level and High School career.

Catrina Dixson (2023 Pella, IA) is a RHH for Iowa Gold – Carter. The Peru State College committed 1B, has a good understanding of what she is wanting to do at the plate. Starting with a slightly wide base, Dixson pushes into the back hip and then utilizes a stride to get separation. Dixson keeps her hands inside the ball and drives the ball to all fields, picking up four hits that included a double and a homerun, scoring three runs while knocking in four. Dixson’s current approach and skill set at the plate should transition well to the next level.

Brooke Janning (2025 Blair, NE) is a LHP for Nebraska Quakes National 16u.  Utilizing a smooth, almost easy looking, repeatable delivery and arm swing, Janning comes at you with 5 pitches, change-up, rise, drop, screw and curve, that can all be thrown to either side of the plate.  Janning was at her best against right-handed batters, when she would throw a back door curve, topping out at 61 mph, that started in the opposite batter’s box before moving in to catch the plate. Janning worked seven innings, striking out 17 batters, only allowing two hits and not giving up an earned run to finish with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.27 WHIP, both impressive numbers considering the quality of hitters that she went against. This young lady has a bright future and will have several offers to play at the next level, if she chooses to.

Delainey Bargfrede (2024 Webster City, IA) was as about as dominant as she could be in the circle for Iowa Gold – Carter. The RHP, Western Kentucky University commit, worked six innings, striking out 15 batters with a five pitch mix that included a rise, drop, change-up, curve and fastball, with a top velocity of 59mph. Bargfrede, with a mechanically sound arm swing and delivery, was consistently around the plate, not giving up a walk.  Bargfrede did most of her damage with the curve, that she could consistently throw for strikes to both sides of the plate, and not having any pitches barreled up on the day. Bargfrede finished the day with a 0.00 ERA and a minuscule 0.75 WHIP.

Carly Goodwin (2024 Sigourney, IA) is a RHP for the Sigourney Savages. The recent University of Northern Iowa commit, worked eight innings and finished with 17 strike outs. Goodwin, who is currently sitting #23 in the Perfect Game Softball Class of 2024 national rankings, keeps things simple with a three-pitch attack of drop, change-up and fastball, which topped out at 62mph.  Goodwin is successful as she is able to move her fastball throughout the zone and work it up, out of the zone, to get batters to chase it. Her drop shows good spin rate, with late movement, and at times, maybe because of working off the side of the ball, the pitch resembles a drop curve, both of which are very effective.  

Breanna Nolte (2023 Indianola, IA), with Alliance Select 18u Nolte, packs some power into her small frame. The RHH, Iowa Central Community College commit, sets up with feet about shoulder width apart, with a slight bend forward at the waist that when teamed with her tilt, really helps her set her attack angle to get the ball in the air. Nolte picked up five hits on the day, that included a double and two homeruns, knocking in five, scoring five times and stealing two bases.  Nolte displayed a good approach at the plate, seldom offered at bad pitches and was able to finish with a .714 BA on the day.

Lydia Ettema (2023 Peosta, IA), a RHP/RHH for Lady Expos Houselog, is becoming a very consistent offensive threat, and the DePaul University commit will be pushing for playing time when she arrives on campus in the Fall. The more I see Ettema, the more confident she becomes at the plate, hunting her pitch, and not missing it when she sees it. Ettema picked up five hits on the day that included a double and two, no doubt, bombs, in collecting 4 rbis and scoring five runs. In the circle, Ettema, on a pitcher heavy squad, worked 3 innings, striking out five without giving up a walk, while topping out at 61mph.

Sophia Mendibles (2026 Ottumwa, IA) put the ball in play on a consistent basis during this event. Mendibles, a RHH for Iowa Gold – Carter, starts with a slightly wide stance, gets good weight shift to the back and then transferred forward with launch, works her hands inside the ball and attacks the inner half of the softball. Mendibles collected six hits on the day, five singles, but showed the ability to drive the ball out of the yard when getting her pitch, with a three-run blast in her second game of the day. Showing good discipline at the plate, Mendibles did not record a strikeout on the day and finished with a .857 BA.

Lucy Porter (2025 Fort Dodge, IA) is a RHP/UTIL player with Southeast Iowa Allstars 16u Gold – Jones. Porter, in the circle, utilizes a 5 pitch mix that includes a change-up, curve, rise, screw and fastball with a top pitch velocity of 58mph. Porter, with her pre-pitch movement and delivery, gets good momentum heading to the plate at release. Working the ball throughout the zone, especially the screw in tight to right-handed batters, hitters struggled to barrel up the ball. In her four innings of work, Porter struck out nine, gave up two hits, one base on balls and did not allow an earned run and finished with a 0.75 WHIP.  At the plate, Porter picked up five hits, knocked in two, swiped two bases and did not record a strike out on the day.

Jessa Demoss ( 2024 Blairstown, IA) is a RHP for Bc Select.  A multi-sport athlete, I have been told that this young lady has made a decision to pursue softball at the next level. Demoss, with a full bag of pitches that includes a curve, drop, change-up, rise and screw sat at 58mph this event. Demoss worked 10 innings and collected 12 strike outs. She showed the ability to work her screw up under the hands and into the body of hitters that made it almost impossible to get the barrel to the ball. Previously, Demoss has sat at 60mph, but velocity may have been hampered with lack of pitching work this winter due to participation in other school sports teams. Knowing this young lady, and her desire to succeed, I feel confident she will be back to top form in a few short months.

Jolee Strohmeyer (2026 Dubuque, IA) was one of the youngest arms in the tournament and pitched with a maturity that will pay big dividends in the future. Strohmeyer worked five innings and sat down 11 batters via strike out. Armed with five pitches, curve, drop, rise, change-up and fastball, which she demonstrated the ability to throw all for strikes, she topped out at 59mph. Showing no fear, Strohmeyer challenged hitters on the inner half of the plate, and although giving up some hits, more often than not, it worked to her advantage with weak ground balls and pop ups. As this young lady matures and gains strength, her skill set, with continued work, will improve with additional velocity and higher spin rates to generate sharper movement. Don’t sleep on this young lady, she will definitely be a good follow over the next few years.