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CSUN Head Coach Tairia Flowers + SPC Elite Invitational Preview

On this edition of In The Circle, Eric Lopez talks with Cal State Northridge’s Head Coach Tairia Flowers who discusses being inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame this past weekend where Flowers was a 2-time All-American and a National Champion.

Flowers talks about her time as a player with U.S. National team, being part of gold medal team in 2004 Summer Olympics and silver in 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and comparing it to her current time being on the U.S. Coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Flowers also discusses her time in coaching that led her to CSUN.

Also on this episode, Eric and Victor look at some storylines and marquee games from the 2nd annual Clearwater Elite Invitational.

4:13-Coach Flowers breaks down balancing coaching both CSUN and being a part of the USA National Team Coaching Staff. She also shares what got her interested in becoming a part of that staff

8:36-Flowers talks about playing with both Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman during her time on the 2004 and 2008 Olympic team

9:45-Tairia shares the moment she learned about her induction into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame as well as her time as a Bruin

15:53-She talks about what led her into coaching softball

17:14-What led Coach Flowers to take the job at CSUN

21:16-Flowers speaks about winning the Big West championship in 2015 and making the NCAA Tournament

26:14-Coach speaks about previous guest Savannah Horvath and her career at CSUN

31:16-The improvement of the Big West and chances for multiple teams to make the postseason

33:57-Breaking down what her team can do to be successful in 2010

41:46-Victor shares his thoughts on the upcoming SPC Elite Invitational including what teams he will keep an eye on

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4-Point Game


Works on reaching base and advancing runners in a fun, game-like environment

Set Up

  • Split your players into three even teams of roughly 4-5 players each.
  • Each team should have a designated pitcher.
  • Two teams fill out the defensive positions while the third team is on offense.
Batters are awarded extra points for every base they reach without making an out


  1. The first offensive player steps to the plate with a bat and helmet against a live pitcher.
  2. The batter tries to reach base while the defense tries to make an out.
  3. The offensive team is awarded a point for each base the player reaches: 1 point for first, 2 points for second, 3 points for third and 4 points for home.
  4. Once all players have batted, rotate the teams and repeat.
  5. Each team gets two offensive innings.  At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.

Coaching Tips

  • The points are cumulative – so a player reaching second would receive 3 points (1 point for first plus 2 points for second).
  • This game greatly rewards advancing baserunners, so encourage your players get safely on base, then try aggressively to advance.

Make it harder: Batters start with an 0-1 or 0-2 count

Make it easier: Have batters hit off a tee, soft-toss pitching or a pitching machine.

The post 4-Point Game appeared first on Softball Spot.

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2020 Free Agent outfielder John Slootmaker



John Slootmaker

USSSA Playing History

Interview conducted on 10/30/2019

Who are you playing with in 2020, and who have you played with in the past?
2020 Free Agent – J.Slootmaker11@gmail.com

2019 Mpt (A Conference)

2018 Smash it Thunder(A Conference)

2017 TZ Distributors (2017 B World Champs)

What positions do you play and what is your best position?
Left field is my best position, also play right field, first base and catcher

Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
Brian Wegman, great ball player  a very humble guy and veteran to learn the game from.. guys knowledge of game and approach at the plate is unreal.. Also big fan of Jason Branch, player who is always on a mission at the plate and can flat out spray it around the field and continues to ignore the haters and do his thing!

Why do you like the game of softball?
It’s a time to go out and compete have fun and showcase all the skills you’ve worked on since playing tee ball as a young fellas , yea it comes in underhand but there’s nothing like being out on the diamond !

What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
“Sloot” just what I’ve always been called

What is your height and weight?
6” 215lbs

Where do you call home?
Lincoln park , New Jersey

What’s your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
Doing something random and most importantly some quality time with the wife

What do you do for a living?
Train Conductor for Nj Transit

Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
Played ball in High School and Pitched D1 for Long Island University

How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
Got asked to play in and unlimited arc league in my town i grew up in. Was just a young kid in college who wanted to hit since as pitchers in college they don’t let you hit! Started to really enjoy the game then got introduced to 6-12. Got asked to come play for a Jersey team called showtime and two years after that I started to get noticed..  I took my chance playing with better teams ,knowing that nothing is given and everything is earned!  I was a young cocky kid thought it was all about just hitting bombs but one day met Mr Patrick “rip” Riporti  who changed not only my whole view of the game but also life.  Put in major work with him in offseason and he gave me a chance to play at the C level and after the 2016 season and winning C worlds and being the MVP there has been no turning back… following year won B worlds and some people began to notice and in 2018 got a call to come play A conference and for two years now have loved being at this level !

What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
By far the pitching but also the mindset of each hitter everyone has an approach and knowledge on where to put the ball!

Is there a player that you would compare your game to?
Not here to compare myself to anyone … i take what i learn from  veterans , from failing … and play my game to the best of my ability

What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
Winning Asa c worlds 2016 and Utrip B worlds 2017 both times coming out of loser bracket and running through 5 games to take home the championship!

In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
Patrick “Rip” Riporti has had  huge impact on the player I have become! He saw the potential and took the time to help me put in the work to get to the conference level. He was always big on teaching patience at the plate to me and most importantly about being humble!

What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
Put the work in its not all about hitting the long ball…Ask questions from veteran guys … Be humble

What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
Gym and Bp

What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
New York Yankees, Philadelphia Eagles , and whatever team Lebrons on !

Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
Superstitions don’t work ! I don’t care what anyone says !

What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
I think adding stealing to the game… make the catchers more involved and keep players on toes… would eliminate catchers just letting the ball go past them and speed the game a little more ..

What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
Really love Space coast! Even though it’s windy or extremely hot the fields are the best in softball

Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
Anywhere there’s Chicken wings! Or a Brazilian steak house!

Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
I was a Chef for 8 years of my life ..


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Elena Bowman of HitTrax – Fastpitch Softball News, College Softball, Club Softball

This week on the Inner Circle, Kelsey and Claudia sit down with the Director of Softball Operations at HitTrax

0:00 – 5:00 Everything you need to know about HitTrax
5:00 – 6:50 What HitTrax can offer Pitchers
6:50 – 8:40 The advantages of video feedback
8:40 – 15:30 Creating competition in training
15:30 – 17:45 HitTrax as a recruiting tool for athletes and coaches
17:45 – 22:05 HitTrax to partner with Amanda Chidester
22:05 – 24:25 Tips for parents and first time users

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Backhand Drill


To practice fielding the ball with a backhanded catch. (Note: a backhand catch is when a player has to cross their body with the glove hand in order to catch the ball. This is a critical defensive skill all infielders must master).

Set Up

  • Divide your players up into single file lines based on how many coaches you have available. If you have two coaches, make two lines.
  • All players should have a glove.
  • Coach should stand 15 feet in front of each line.
Backhand Softball Infielder Drill
Coach rolls the ball out to the fielder for a backhanded catch


  1. Drill begins with coach throwing a ground ball to backhand side of first player in line. Fielder should be in a good ready position prior to the throw.
  2. Once ball is thrown, fielder should move in the direction of the ball while keeping the glove open.
  3. After making the catch, the fielder throws the ball back to the coach and returns to the end of the line.
  4. Coach repeats drill with each player in line.

Coaching Tips

As players take their turn in front of the line analyze their “Ready Position” to field the ball:

  • Feet should be shoulder width apart
  • Knees should be slightly bent
  • Both hands should hang between the knees loosely
  • Body weight should be on balls of the feet, with a slight forward lean
  • Players should keep their eyes on the ball & observe the ball going into the glove

Make it harder: Mix it up with different types of ground balls – forehand, backhand and short hops

Make it easier: Roll the ball slowly to an area marked by a cone

The post Backhand Drill appeared first on Softball Spot.

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Important update on the Bat Standard for USSSA Slowpitch

VIERA, FL (October 30, 2019) — The current approved 1.20 “Thumbprint” stamp for USSSA Slowpitch Softball bats will NOW be LEGAL for USSSA play until January 1, 2023. USSSA has decided to move back the legal use date until 2023, to give players a longer useable period for currently owned and manufactured bats.

Current stamp USSSA Bats will stop being produced by manufacturers no later than January 1, 2021. The New Stamp bats will have a higher starting compression and a higher passing compression of 240. This means you can use the current USSSA stamped bats with a lower failing compression of 220 for USSSA sanctioned events for another 3+ years.

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Members raise over $380,000 in 2018-19 Strikeout Cancer Initiative

Photo and Release from NFCA

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — NFCA members have once again banded together in the fight against cancer, raising $380,633 in support of the Association and American Cancer Society’s annual StrikeOut Cancer initiative.

The University of Michigan was the top fundraiser overall, collecting $130,416.12. The Wolverines’ efforts coincide with their annual Michigan Softball Academy. Growing significantly each year in the fight against cancer, the Softball Academy is a combination of an adults-only softball clinic at the University’s Wilpon Complex and a silent auction at the Junge Family Champions Center. 

Since partnering with the American Cancer Society and its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer effort in 2007, head coach Carol Hutchins and her Wolverines have raised over $1 million to support breast cancer research and outreach, becoming the first women’s collegiate team to reach that mark.

Following Michigan is LSU, which raised $87,198.32 in its Geaux Teal campaign and annual “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” game. Also reaching the five-figure fundraising mark were Travel Ball organization Virginia Glory ($50,000) as well as Division III programs Virginia Wesleyan ($27,281) and William Peace ($27,000). 

Glory founder and president Suzy Willemssen hosted the annual Glory Strikeout Cancer Invitational, which topped all travel ball and youth fundraisers for the second straight year. All net proceeds from the event go to Children’s National and will directly help children in their fight to survive cancer.

The Marlins’ annual fundraiser, spearheaded by head coach Brandon Elliott, was held in conjunction with the school’s Spring Alumni Weekend. In 2019, head coach Charlie Dobbins and his William Peace softball squad teamed up with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Vs. Cancer program to raise awareness and funds for local children with cancer.

Martin Luther High School (Minn.) / Granada Huntley East Chain School District (GHEC) ($6,321), NAIA’s Bethel University (Ind.) ($2,795 / pictured top) and Division II’s Colorado School of Mines ($2,675 / pictured left) led their respective membership categories.

Numerous other schools either raised money or awareness by hosting a single event or by coordinating a season-long campaign to battle cancer. The schools that registered with the NFCA were entitled to a special package of StrikeOut Cancer items, which included NFCA StrikeOut Cancer eye black, tattoos, wristbands and more.

In 2019, the NFCA’s New Jersey High School Leadoff Classic was found in honor of the late Immaculate Heart Academy head coach and 2019 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee Anthony LaRezza. The proceeds of the tournament went to cancer-stricken children through Tackle Kids Cancer.

Wilson Sporting Goods, Inc

The winners receive Louisville Slugger bats with the color tailored to their specific cancer fundraiser. The bats were generously donated by Slugger’s parent company Wilson Sporting Goods, Inc.

Top Fundraisers

Overall – University of Michigan (Breast Cancer)
$130,416.12 (Carol Hutchins)

NCAA Division I – Louisiana State University (Cervical & Ovarian Cancer)
$87,198.32 (Beth Torina) 

NCAA Division II – Colorado School of Mines (Breast Cancer)
$2,675.00 (Leah Glasgow)

NCAA Division III – Virginia Wesleyan University (All Cancers)
$27,281.00 (Brandon Elliott)

NAIA – Bethel University (All Cancers)
$2,795.00 (Scott Reese)

High School – Martin Luther High School / GHEC (Childhood Cancer)
$6,321.00 (John Oothoudt)

Travel Ball/Youth – VA Glory (All Cancers)
$50,000.00 (Suzy Willemssen) 

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INNER CIRCLE TV: Make the Most of the Offseason

This week on the Inner Circle, Kelsey and Claudia discuss the best ways to improve in the offseason

0:48 – 3:07 Take time away from softball
3:07 – 6:10 Don’t limit yourself to one sport
6:10 – 9:05 Practice makes permanent
9:05 – 11:05 Push beyond past limits
11:05 -16:00 Proper mechanics aren’t always comfortable
16:00 – 18:50 Identify your weakness
18:50 – 22:28 Watch yourself

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