First Ever Fastpitch Northwest All Star Team Shines at the Las Vegas City of Lights Exposure Event
NOTE: AFTER MISSING THE 2020 EVENT DUE TO COVID RESTRICTIONS FPNW IS EXCITED TO BE BACK IN THE LAS VEGAS CITY OF LIGHTS NATIONAL SHOWCASE IN 2021
By Mike Brooks - 3/9/2020 (Updated 3/8/2021)
A dozen players – eight rising seniors and a foursome of rising juniors — represented Fastpitch Northwest’s first All-Northwest All-Star team that participated in Triple Crown Softball’s City of Lights College Exposure Tournament held Oct 25-27 in Las Vegas.
The players were selected for their performances during the 10th annual Fastpitch NW’s three-day College Exposure Tournament held in Centralia, WA. They played five games and each player participated in the City of Light’s pre-tournament college coaching clinics.
For the 12 players, head coach Mike Brooks, assistant coach Shaunie Kennedy and chaperone Sandy Wing, all expenses were paid by Fastpitch Northwest including airfare, hotel, meals and camp registration.
“Sandy was really the unsung hero of the trip” said Brooks, “As traveling secretary she arranged hotel rooms and somehow managed to have girls coming from Washington, Idaho and Oregon arriving in Vegas within a few hours of each other the afternoon of the 24th. As Team Mom she stocked up the groceries and opened her room each morning so the girls could have a healthy breakfast and prepare their lunches for the day.”
Over 60 college coaches attended and more than 100 teams representing 11 states and Canada participated in the competition.
The girls had their work cut out for them arriving as early as 7:00am Friday and Saturday morning for camp and then games in the afternoon. In spite of the grueling schedule, the team won three out of five games, only loosing close games to a couple of tough Southern California teams.
“I heard northing but high praise for our players from college coaches, expressing how impressed they were with their character, work ethic and overall talent” said Brooks. I was extremely proud of how they represented our program and the Northwest Fastpitch community.
Team Northwest Roster - see photos below:
Pitchers = Makayla Mauger, Highland High School, Pocatello (ID), 2020 ; Hailey Johnson, Lebanon (OR), 2020; Kiyah Kennedy, Rochester (WA), 2021
Catchers = Cassandra Wright, Federal Way (WA), 2020; Sydney Wells, Selah (WA), 2021.
Infielders = Lanie Rodriguez, South, Medford (OR), 2020; Carly Pena, Ridgevue, Nampa (ID), 2020; Emma Antich, Westview, Portland (OR), 2021; Katie Lee, Newport, Bellevue (WA), 2020;
Outfielders = McKenzie Westphal, Churchill, Eugene (OR), 2021; Makayia Anderson, Highland, Pocatello (ID), 2020; Sophia Bartholomew, Filer, (ID) 2020.
Team Northwest College Commits (updated 3/8/2021)
Sydney Wells - Fordham University
Sophia Bartholomew - College of Southern Idaho
Hailey Johnson - Mount St. Joseph University
Cassandra Wright - Pacific Lutheran University
Makayia Anderson - Walla Walla College
Kiyah Kennedy - Centralia College
Emma Antich - Cornell University
Makayla Mauger - Eastern Oregon University
Lanie Rodriquez - George Fox University
Mckenzie Westphal - Western Oregon University
Check out reflections of players, parents and coaches:
Thank you for such a fantastic FPNW experience! Playing for Team Northwest and going to Vegas was the best softball trip I have EVER been a part of. Everything was so well organized from the food preparation to hotel stay and transportation to and from the fields. I had such a fun time playing with girls from all over the Northwest. FPNW is such a great program. It was a great opportunity to play in front of many college coaches across the country. Thank you for such a fantastic and memorable experience. I wish all my Team Northwest teammates success at the next level. I definitely recommended the program to any softball athlete looking to play after high school. - Katie Lee
I had so much fun in Las Vegas with a super talented team. It didn’t take long at all for all of us to bond and become a family. This tournament was the best college exposure tournament I’ve ever been too. My favorite part was how fast that this team came together and we kicked butt at the tournament! - Makayia Anderson
This trip was the first travel tournament that I had gone to where my parents weren't going to be there and there wasn't a teammate who I'd known for a while that I was staying with. Which resulted in me becoming more comfortable with doing things on my own. Like packing enough lunch, talking with coaches, motivating myself to wake up at 5-5:30 am for the camp, etc. I would really recommend this experience to another girl if she was offered. You make new friends and create memories, along with playing the sport you love and meeting coaches and learning about potential colleges you may be interested in. - Cassandra Wright
Team NW was a great experience! The coaching staff was great and my teammates were amazing. It was the best experience ever! Team NW also gave me the opportunity to continue my softball career in college. On that trip I meet the best two coaches ever and now I’m going to sign with them soon. I will continue my softball career at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati OH at the D3 level. - Hailey Johnson
Participating with the Fastpitch Northwest All Star Team at the City of Lights Tournament has been one of the highlights of Makayla's softball career so far. The things that stand out to me were first the relationships and friendships that were created with teammates, and coaches. She is still in communication with all the girls and coaches from the team. I was impressed on how well the team meshed together, and how well they played. I think this speaks to the caliber of athlete, which includes both talent and moral character that Fastpitch Northwest brought together to play at the Tournament. It was impressive to see how putting those girls together, elevated their individual play. Together they were a force to be reckoned with on the field. The City of Lights Tournament exceeded my expectations, the skills show case for college coaches, team tournament, and the games being coached by college coaches were fantastic. The events were highly organized, and Makayla made a ton of contacts with softball programs all over the country. I would highly recommend it. - Todd Mauger
It was an absolute Joy to be able to coach this talented group of athletes. Every one of these players were great teammates the whole time, they were all respectful, dedicated and worked hard. We had many college coaches coming to our Dugout interested in players and spoke highly of Team Northwest talent. - Shaunie Kennedy Team Northwest Coach