Eighteen teams endured rain and thunder in the 18u division of the Rise Above Challenge Showcase in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this weekend. Displaying their skill in multiple facets of the game, the athletes competed fiercely for the championship ring while exhibiting pure passion between the chalk lines.
In the circle for Colorado Softball Academy, Iyanna Martinez (2026) mixes speeds well, forcing hitters to adjust their timing. She throws her change-up with accuracy and utilizes spin to work counts. The righthanded hitter can swing for power and poke the ball through the infield making her a versatile asset for her team. With a calm demeanor, Iyanna demonstrates leadership and poise on the dirt.
Ashlyn Porter (2023, Highlands Ranch, CO) showcased her speed on the basepaths, taking the extra base on multiple bloopers, and in the outfield with quick and accurate reads on balls in the air. The Campbell University commit leads the Colorado Batbusters-Cordova/Marquez with confidence in all facets of the game, with a commanding presence at the plate and in the field.
Mackenzie Simon (2023) of the Rocky Mountain Thunder showed off her speed on the bases and in the field throughout the tournament. Mackenzie is aggressive on the bases taking advantage of the slightest defensive miscue to gain an extra 60 feet. Mackenzie will further develop her aggressive approach and impressive speed at Adams State next year.
A bold athlete behind the plate for MMW Colorado Acree, Zoey Langerak (2024, Westminster, CO), confidently manages baserunners and her pitching staff. Langerak will throw to any base when runners test her arm. She demonstrates a high softball IQ behind the plate, understanding and managing game situations skillfully. With the bat, Langerak has a short hand path making her swing quick and powerful as she drives the ball to all fields.
Hanna Espinoza (2023, Kiowa, CO) for MMW Colorado Acree saw time in the circle and at shortstop throughout the tournament. Espinoza will throw her riseball in the zone and work her change-up to generate fly-balls along with swings and misses. A Colorado Christian University commit, Espinoza takes her athleticism to the infield as well with a quick release and sharpness at SS. She generate power at the plate looking to do damage with each swing.
Aaliyah “Honey” Mirabel (2027, Belen, NM) displayed her range at shortstop for Wicked this weekend with a technically sound backhand and efficient footwork. She works her process at the plate, looking for a ball to drive to the gaps while maintaining an aggressive approach.
A standout on the mound for Colorado Batbuster 14u, Annie Schroeder (2027, Montrose, CO) works vertically through the zone with late breaking up-spin with a well located pitch down in the zone to keep hitters honest. Along with her spin, Annie challenges batters with her velocity, consistently throwing 55-58 mph. On the other side of the rubber, Annie has a technically sound swing and extends powerfully through contact.
Gracie Briggs (2027, Rye, CO) of Colorado Altitude-Schroeder is a tough middle infielder who plays fearlessly on both sides of the ball. She employs a decisive swing turning on inside pitches powerfully. She attacks every pitch and is looking to drive the ball. She also attacks on the bases, forcing catchers to be attentive with aggressive leadoffs and baserunning decisions.