Team Northwest All-Stars Feature Versatility, Pitching Depth
By Tom Mauldin - 10/18/2021
Though they come from different states, the dozen players selected to represent Fastpitch Northwest at the upcoming City of Lights College Exposure Softball Tournament in Las Vegas as Team Northwest have a lot in common.
They are winners … nearly all coming from teams considered among the top in their states.
"It's a strong team with a lot of depth," said Brooks. "They will be fun to watch."
The 12-player all-star squad was picked to participate in the Triple Crown softball event because of their performances at Fastpitch NW's College Exposure Event played in Chehalis (WA) in early August.
"This squad features a lot of versatility and is pitching deep," said Fastpitch NW Senior Advisor Tom Mauldin. "To be successful playing five games in two days, you need versatility, especially in this high-caliber tournament."
Eight members of the squad played in the championship game in August, with Oregon Royal winning the title. Five players from that Royal team — Teaghan Reams, Heather Ebner, Amanda Peterson, Violet Loftus and Sophia Weathers — are NW All-Stars. Three from runner-up Washington Emerald — Gracie Ray, Tori Smith and Allison Stanley— were also named to the Las Vegas-bound team.
Ray said she "felt really blessed to be playing in this tournament representing Fastpitch Northwest."
Team Northwest will play in the tournament's 18U division's Pool F, which features national powers Texas Bombers (San Antonio) and Firecrackers (Corona, CA). Other teams in Pool F are Batbusters (Mesa, AZ), E1 Elite (Imperial, CA), and the Las Vegas Blast.
City of Lights pool play will begin on Saturday, and on Friday, Oct. 29, the players will participate in a college exposure camp of their choice (another cost paid for by Fastpitch NW).
As of Oct. 18, more than 60 college coaches representing 57 colleges will be hands-on participants at the three-day Las Vegas event. All totaled, colleges from two dozen states will be represented (18 are NAIA, a dozen are NCAA D3, 10 are NCAA D2, 16 are from two-year colleges, and D1 University of Hawaii will also be in attendance).
Though games are limited to only 80 minutes and scores are not kept, Triple Crown uses a unique showcase game format. Innings will consist of six- and seven-batter half innings (not six outs as had been used previously) for a six-inning game. This creates a potential for more individual player opportunities.
College coaches will be on the field instructing players during each individual showcase game. Players will have a new set of college coaches each game. Coaches will be rotating fields every 40 minutes.
There are no substitution restrictions.
As of October 18, more than 60 teams had paid to participate, and tournament officials say as many as 100 could be attending.
Due to the COVID pandemic, the 2020 Fastpitch Northwest All-Star team could not participate in the canceled City of Lights Tournament. But the 2019 team, coached by Brooks, won three of five games.
Coaching the 2021 squad will be Shaunie Kennedy, assisted by Jamie Kennedy and Arista Honey. Sandy Wing will accompany the team as chaperone.
The Kennedys coordinate the Washington Prospect Evaluation Camps for Fastpitch NW, Wing is the manager of Northwest Sports Hub and Honey was recently named Director of Operations.
Fastpitch Northwest is paying for all player and coaches/chaperones' expenses.
"It's part of our commitment to providing opportunities for Fastpitch Northwest participants," said Brooks.
Here is a quick look at the Team Northwest Roster:
Amanda Peterson (2023, Beaverton, OR), Southridge High School. Peterson, a pitcher-corner, was first-team 6A All-State utility player in 2021 for Southridge High School in Beaverton, OR. She batted .540 with seven homers and drove in 22 runs in 17 games. Her slugging percentage was 1.100, and she did not strikeout during the season. In the circle, she was 7-5 with 98 strikeouts in 73 innings.
Heather Ebner (2023, Keizer, OR), McNary High School. Ebner, a catcher-corner infielder, was first team All-City, homered five times on the season and had 23 RBIs. She also batted .431 and had a 1.174 OPS. McNary finished 2021 with a 16-2 record.
Teaghan Reams (2022, Redmond, OR), Ridgeview High School. Reams, a catcher-third baseman, was honorable mention utility All-State 5A. Her Ridgeview Ravens won the 2019 state 5A title and captured the Inner Mountain Conference title with a 13-4 record. During one three tournament stretch during summer ball play, she had 31 base hits and eight homers.
Gracie Ray (2022, Olympia, WA), Olympia High School. Ray, a pitcher middle infielder, was named to the Olympian Newspapers' all-Area team and was second-team All-South Puget Sound League as the Bears finished third.
Allyson Nordling (2023, Oregon City, OR), Oregon City High School. Nordling, a pitcher-first baseman, was named second-team All-League utility player.
Jenna Kearns (2023, Pocatello, ID), Highland High School. Kearns, a catcher-middle infielder, was named to the Idaho State Journal's All-Area team. Highlighted by 10 home runs, Kearns had a whopping 1.553 OPS. She led Highland to a second-place finish in the 5A High Country Conference.
Kinzy Bowen (2022, LaGrande, OR), LaGrande High School. Bowen was named second-team All-State 4A and led LaGrande to the Greater Oregon 4A League title. She was a member of LaGrande's 2019 state 4A title team.
Analiza Zamora (2023, Nampa, ID) Skyview High School. Zamora, an infielder-pitcher, batted .420 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .880 for state 5A champion Skyview of Nampa (21-8).
Loftus and Weathers played major roles in Bend High (Bend, OR) winning 18 of 19 games in 2021. Loftus, a middle infielder, was second-team 6A All-State and batted .536 with a 0.892 slugging percentage and a 1.464 OPS. She had a base hit in all 19 games and finished with a dozen steals and 20 RBIs.
Weathers, a catcher-outfielder, also drove in 20 runs and had 10 sacrifice bunts to go with her .362 batting average. She was perfect in 10 steal attempts.
Allison Stanley (2023, Moses Lake, WA), Covenant Christian. Stanley, who batted .295 for her high school squad last spring, is a defensive standout at second and in the outfield.
Rounding out the team is Tori Smith (2023, Olympia, WA, Olympia High School). Smith replaces an injured Grace Neer (2022, LaGrande, OR), a 4A All-State honoree in 2021. Smith is a pitcher-first baseman. According to MaxPreps, she had an ERA of 3.50, averaged better than a strikeout per inning, and teamed with Ray to help the Bears go 8-3 in league.