Tag Archive for: USSSA Pride


It’s undeniable that the valley is seeing a tremendous growth in softball talent over the last 5 years. That trend of growth is not just confined the YSN coverage map though, the whole state of Ohio is seeing a massive uptick in premier softball players.  We just watched Austintown Fitch win a state championship. Led by not just one of the best players in the state, but one of the top ranked players in the country in the Class of 2025.  Sydnie Watts is the kind of talent that programs might get once in their whole existence.  As she chases milestones and goals we wanted to hear from a player that set the tone for Ohio softball. Taran Alvelo is one of the most decorated softball players to come out of the state of Ohio.  The former Bloom Carroll standout holds multiple state records. Her 1,515 career strikeouts are the most anyone has ever had. She has the record for most career wins in the circle with 108.  Alvelo also has the record for most strikeouts in a state tournament game with 24.  Alvelo led her team to three state title games, and won one of them. During her junior season she was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Ohio.

Taran’s recruiting story is different than the ones we have grown used to over the last several seasons. In Taran’s time players could commit much earlier. Before she stepped on a high school field Alvelo was committed to Washington.  Seattle was a place she knew she wanted be since she saw them win the WCWS in 2009.  The purple and gold confetti stuck in her mind, and she was determined to see it herself. In her words from that moment, even at that early age she never saw that dream as one that couldn’t be reached.  With her tenacity she eventually made that dream a reality.

When people hear “committed to Washington as a freshman” they might think the journey was easy. After all if you’re not stressing about where you’ll end up, what could go wrong.  Well that’s not all true. Alvelo still had her fair share of adversity that came with her journey to Washington.  The sacrifices she had to make to stay at that level throughout her young career are more than a lot of people are willing to make.  There’s also a lot of pressure that comes with everyone knowing you’re going to play at a program like Washington. People inevitably want to see greatness fail if they aren’t a part of it.  Taran went through high school with the constant target on her back. That kind of pressure was a lot on her.  She got through it though thanks to the support from the people in her corner. Whether it was her local small town community in Carroll, or people like Washington head coach Heather Tarr constantly giving her reassurance that Washington had her back as a person. The people in Taran’s life were always able to lift her up to the next level.

Alvelo ended up not just going to Washington, but becoming one of the best pitchers in the nation during her time there. Here are some of the accolades that Alvelo gathered during her time as a Husky.  She earned freshman of the year in the Pac 12 her first year on campus, was a two time NFCA All American, as a junior she was a finalist for USA Softball’s Player of the Year, she took her Huskies to the WCWS championship series her senior year and was named on the All-WCWS team.

Washington was not the final stop on Alvelo’s softball journey. After her senior season she was drafted into the NPF (National Pro Fastpitch) league to the Aussie Peppers and was then traded to the USSSA Pride.  With the Pride Taran won the Cowles Cup.  She would continue her professional career with a stint in the Athletes Unlimited league. She recently signed back to the USSSA Pride to compete in the newly established WPF (Women’s Pro Fastpitch).  Taran continues to grow the game by paving the way for younger players to have the dream of being a professional softball player.

Taran was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule during Opening Day in the WPF to be on YSN’s Running Point to talk about her high school career at Bloom-Carroll, she gives advice to athletes going through the recruitment process now, and so much more. Check out this exclusive interview with one of Ohio’s softball legends only on YSN.

Presented By:


Welcome back to the Hot Corner! We took a week off on a rather slow weekend with a lot of local travel teams off, but we are back with a ton of softball to talk about after the 4th of July. As always promised this blog will merge local softball coverage with the elite softball world, and boy do we have some awesome guests planned for the month of July. Starting today, as the Hot Corner welcomes former Oklahoma Sooner, and 2013 National Champion, Jessica Shults. 


Weekend Recap


Now in a normal summer this would be one of the biggest weekends in travel softball. Florida and Colorado both annuals host multiple national 4th of July tournaments. However a chunk of those were canceled due to COVID -19.  Before we check in on teams that are friends of the blog, I want to give a shoutout to Kylie Macy and her Atlanta Vipers-Holbrook team. They took home the trophy in one of the Colorado tournaments not canceled. The Triple Crown 4th of July National Tournament. I’ve been following Kylie for a while. The Georgia Bulldog commit from Grayson High School is a rising star. The Vipers went 10-1 on the weekend and beat NE Gold Perkins 7-2 in the championship. Congratulations to Kaylie and the Vipers! 


Now to our friends of the blog! USSSA Scarlet got back in action this weekend at the USA Battle of the Burgh in Cranberry PA. The Pride went 7-1 over the weekend. In case you were wondering, yes their offense is still putting up video game type numbers. They hit 10 home runs over the weekend. Their team total is 50 now in 38 games played. Sydney Mercer is locked in this summer. She’s hitting .549 with 16 HR and 54 RBI. Don’t let their offensive power over shadow the job Liana Morreale is doing in the circle. She’s 8-2 with an ERA of 2.25 and has struck out 51, she’s only walked 19. 


Ohio Lasers Yellow went to the Midwest Firecracker Showcase this weekend. You can add another shutout to Maci Boggess’ tab. In their first game of the weekend she threw a gem in the Lasers 1-0 win. Going 5 innings, striking out 6 and giving up 0 runs on 3 hits. Austintown Fitch’s Maddy Taylor hit .333 on the weekend with 5 RBI. The Lasers went 4-2-1 on the weekend. 


If you want your team weekly highlighted on the Hot Corner, it’s really easy. Just get in contact with me (Anthony Hartwig) on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and keep me updated on your team’s schedule and stats. The more teams that are friends of the blog the better! 


Special Guest: Jessica Shults

Jessica Shults(18) / Oklahoma Sooners


I am very excited to welcome Jessica Shults to the Hot Corner. Jessica is one of the best catchers in softball ever. It’s a short list, and in my opinion she’s on it. She played at Oklahoma from 2010-2013. Here are some of her accolades: 

3 time NFCA All American 

2012 NFCA Catcher of the Year

3 Time Selection as All- Big 12

2013 National Champion. 


Jessica went on to be a graduate assistant for Oklahoma from 2014-2016. She was an assistant coach at Houston from 2016-2019. Shults was drafted 3rd overall by the USSSA Pride in 2013. She played in the NPF until 2016. She won a Cowles Cup with the Pride in 2013-2014. She now does hitting and coaching lessons through Gap2Gap.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsHqrnOKkA4[/embedyt]


Its Monday, which means there’s a lot of softball results to dive into from the weekend. Ohio holds some of the best travel tournaments in the Midwest. One of the tournaments that rises above the rest is the D1 Fastpitch Outlaws Summer Invitational Showcase.

The Beverly Bandits travel organization is highly respected and their name is all over the Championship list at the Outlaws Showcase. Their Demarini Richards team won the 16U division, and the Beverly Bandits Dorsey team won the 18U. In their 16U division Shelby Westler is a name on that team I’ve been following for a while. A 2022 from River Valley High School in Marion OH Shelby is a catcher/infielder/utility player that can really swing the bat well. On Saturday night she hit a go ahead 2 run HR on the Bandits way to a 7-3 win.

Friends of the Hot Corner the Ohio Lasers Yellow Team also competed at the Outlaws showcase. After a 0-0 tie to start off their Thursday, they beat Finesse 5-2. The rest of their weekend didn’t go as planned as they lost two one run games to Turning2. Maddy Taylor from Austintown Fitch had a couple RBI over the weekend. Maci Boggess still pitches pretty well in the circle throughout the weekend. In 10 innings pitched she only gave up 5 earned runs and struck out 11.

The USSSA Pride Scarlet team wasn’t at the Outlaws Showcase, but had a great weekend at the Sheer Madness Showcase. They won all 8 of their games and were Co-Champions because of the championship game being rained out. They hit 11 more home runs on the weekend as a team bringing their total to 39 on the summer. Sommer Bourne and Sydney Mercer each hit 2 bombs. Maris Barbato got one out to push her weekend total to a eye popping 13. USSSA’s pitching was amazing this weekend too, Tori Long and Liana Morreale each threw no hitters. Morreale did it with every pitch being stressful as the Pride snuck out a 1-0 win over Stingrays 03. The Pride is hitting .432 AS A TEAM! It’s just an incredible offensive lineup, and if they’re tossing no hitters Im not sure what the game plan is playing them in the future. In 30 games they’ve outscored their opponents 231-83. Do the math and that’s an average of a 5 run margin of victory for the Pride. Dominant much like their professional counter parts.

Speaking of USSSA’s professional team, they begin play tonight and I couldn’t be more excited that elite professional softball is back in action. USSSA Pride and Scrap Yard Fastpitch begin a summer tour today where they will play at different events held in each of their headquarters. A season playing each other in exhibition games in front of teams that have come to play in the events their hosting. That may sound underwhelming to the casual softball fan two teams playing each other all summer, but when the two rosters have 95% of the elite softball world on it, and you know their future could very possibly include a league of their own after their non compete from the NPF expires it’s very exciting. Pretty much every player who is on the USA Olympic roster will be represented in this summer tour that is being tagged #BetterTogether. I think that tag says a lot about what the future might hold for Scrap Yard and USSSA. Who knows? You may be seeing some members of the summer tour as special guests to the Hot Corner as the summer goes on. Stay tuned!!