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‘Smooth tournament’ concludes 2017 Fastpitch NW season

08/07/2017, 8:30am PDT
By Tom Mauldin

It starts with sharing a passion and a desire to play at the next level.

Then comes a coaches’ recommendation and an invitation to a Prospect Evaluation Camp.

That is followed, hopefully, by an invitation to the College Exposure Tournament.

Then it’s four days with 200 girls playing softball in front of dozens of Northwest softball coaches.

And it ends with, hopefully, an opportunity to fulfill that desire and play at the next level.

The 2017 Fastpitch Northwest College Exposure Tournament is in the books and director Ken Olson said it is one of the “smoothest” since the inception of Fastpitch Northwest eight years ago.

“What a smooth tournament this year,” said Olson, who oversaw the tournament at Centralia’s Borst Park. “I must thank the 17 volunteer coaches for all their hard work coaching our teams”

 “Right now, it is time to relax a little before we start planning for Hawaii in November,’’ said Olson

The Fastpitch Northwest team will travel to Maui and Honolulu for winter PECs in preparation for the 2018 College Exposure Tournament.

But before they do, it’s time reflect on 2017.

“Every year the commitment from the Northwest college coaches gets better and better, but we all know that they come to recruit because of the great players we find at our Prospect Evaluation Camps.”

Central Washington University head softball coach Mike Larrabee said he was once again impressed with a number of players that caught his eye.

“For the second year in a row I was impressed with the overall talent that Ken Olson and Tom Mauldin put together for the 2017 Fastpitch NW Tournament. I will continue to support FPNW as we are reaping the benefits of this program at Central Washington University.”

Al Mendiola, College of Idaho head coach said:

“I thought the pitching was better than in the past.  It was good to see some of the younger players compete with the older ones as well.” 

Ray Moffitt, who has moved from head coach at Big Bend Community College to assistant coach and lead recruiter at Walla Walla University, said it was terrific.

"As usual, things went well and we (WWU) sure got a lot of prospects," said Moffitt, who works many of the Prospect Evaluation Camps as well as is a guest coach at the tournament. "I left with a very long list of potential recruits. It was another very rewarding year."

While the coaches were pleased, parents and players offered their congratulations to Fastpitch Northwest.

Ryan LeBreton, a father of one of the 2017 players (2019 Bailey LeBreton of The Dalles, Ore.) said, "Going into that three-day tournament my wife and I had no idea what to expect ... leaving three days later we were so impressed at the quality of softball, the class of the girls and the coaches who coached them, and just how much fun it was to watch all these all-stars competing at a high level.  Talking with College coaches, and learning the process more.  What a pleasure it was to be a part of Fastpitch NW. I would highly recommend their PEC's and if you’re lucky enough to get an invite, the college invitational tournament was an eye-opening game changer for my daughter.  She left with more confidence than ever. Well worth the time and money."

Maddie Mayer, a 2018 Putnam High School (Milwaukie, Ore) tournament player said she loved it.

“I loved it. At first, I was a little bit unsure because I didn't know anyone on my team or my coach, but they ended up to be some of the best girls I know and we all still talk every day. It was a great way to get college attention and meet new friends!”

Savannah Smith, a 2019 pitcher from Sehome High School, (Bellingham, Washington) said it was a great experience.

“This was an excellent opportunity to play competitive softball against very talented athletes. Meeting new players along the way and creating long-lasting friendships was a great experience that I will hold onto.”

Rhyanne Oates, 2018 Pilot Rock (Oregon) tournament player said it was a great learning experience.

“I thought the tournament was great. Not only was it competitive and fun to face players that I've never seen before, but it was also a great learning experience for me, as well as a great environment to make new friends.”

Alexandra Barry, 2018 North Medford (Oregon) and 2017 tournament player.

"The tournament was awesome!! I'm glad I participated in it. My teammates were so fun and it was a good opportunity to play with new people while getting looked at by coaches and having fun!"  

Lin Casciato, of LaGrande (Ore.), a guest coach said it was a great three days.

“200 competitive softball players, three dozen college coaches recruiting, good organization and lots of positive energy. Fun and exciting experience for all those dreaming of playing at the collegiate level. As a volunteer coach, it was very rewarding. Thanks to FPNW for a great three days.”

Saint Martin’s head coach James Peterson said, “We will be back ... see you next year.”

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