S: VORTEX 2011
FC: Vortex Softball 2011
1: 12U VORTEX 2011 | West University Softball Association
4: April 7, 2011, 4:20pm Parents, Welcome to 2011 WUSA Summer Tournament Softball. I am grateful for the opportunity and excited about the prospect of working with each of your daughters. ... This is an exciting group. We will arrange a practice or get-together of some type in the next week to talk about our team schedule and logistics, like uniform orders and the like. For now, make sure that you and your daughters see the team roster, so that we can say hi to our new teammates when we see them at school or at the ballpark. ... And the team name, you ask? What's up with that? Our league is running out of previously unused synonyms and terms related to "Wave," but I happen to like this one for more than just its water-based connotation. Here is the dictionary definition that I like best: *A spiral motion of fluid within a limted area, especially a whilring mass of water or air that sucks everything near it toward its center. *A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it. http://answers.com/topic/vortex Our emphasis this summer, in addition to having fun, will be on coming together as a team, eleven players with a central goal, a common commitment, a unifying work ethic. TEAM>me. Welcome to the Vortex. Regards, Greg
5: TEAM > ME
6: CORINNE MERCADO #1 (OF, 2B, P)
7: *Two-out single over second base to knock in key run in comeback win in championship game over Pearland Power. *Went 2-2 against best pitcher from best team we played all year (Heat '99 in Missouri City). *Hustle play to record key out in first Branson game by covering first from second base position on squib between pitcher and first.
8: GRACE | GRACE WILSON #3 (CF, C)
9: *Led team in on base percentage for the season (.556). *Running catch of line drive to gap in right centerfield robbed Caitlin Clarke of extra bases in first inning of win over Wave '98. *Tagged up and scored from second base after shallow fly ball in foul territory behind first base in championship win over Bullets.
10: ANNA WINTER #5 (C, OF)
11: *Big two-out hit to drive in deciding run in extra inning win over Sugar Land Express on way to first team championship. *Led team in sacrifice bunts (4). *From the catcher position, threw out 14 runners on steal attempts.
12: QUINN BIGGIO #7 (2B, 1B, OF)
13: *Led team in doubles for the season (5). *Exclaimed "Sorry, Peyton!" while throwing to first on grounder for last out to seal win over Wave '98. *Struck out all three batters faced in relief pitching appearance in Branson vs. Reed Spring.
14: JORDAN HOWARD #10 (3B)
15: JORDAN | *Led team in season hits (50) and batting average (.476). *Fouled off eight pitches before knocking triple to left to ignite three-run rally in final inning of championship win over Pearland Power. *Power slide into first base beat out leadoff bunt in home half of tie game against Sugar Land Express, scoring winning run two pitches later.
16: JENNY | JENNY PERROTTA # 11 (OF, 3B, 2B)
17: *Reached base in first five plate appearances of the season. *Only Vortex player to hit two home runs in one game (Reed Spring). *Sportscenter-worthy put out after snagging ricochet off line drive off Colby's ankle and throwing bullet to nip runner at first in Branson championship game.
18: COURTNEY DART #12 (OF, P)
19: *Bases loaded triple to left field against Lake Jackson Elite was team's first hit of the season in bracket play. *Snagged line drive to right (that almost took her glove off) to help preserve shutout against Humble Explosion. *Two-run triple to right field wall gave Vortex the fifth inning lead in win over Wave '98.
20: DARYN | DARYN GRAMS #13 (OF, P, SS)
21: *Singled up the middle to kickstart seven-run fourth inning in come-from-behind win over Houston Havoc. *Hit two-out, two-run double to give Vortex the lead in ASA Metro championship game win over Pasadena TNT. *Pitched complete game no hitter against No Whining/SWAT team in Branson.
22: JULIA WALLER #15 (1B, OF)
23: *Led team in fewest strikeouts for the season (6). *Two two-out line drive hits to knock in runs in back-to-back at bats off Caitlin Clarke in Tomball games against Wave '98. *Turned double play to shut down Pasadena TNT's only rally in ASA Metro championship game, taking throw from home on dropped third strike and firing back to Anna to get runner from third.
24: COLBY HENO #17 (P)
25: *Two complete game no hitters: Lake Jackson Extreme (Sugar Land) and Aces Express '99 (Beaumont). *Struck out sister Maddie (looking) on nasty pitch on the outside corner in first inning of championship game in Tomball. *Triple to the right field gap scored the first two runs of Vortex's Branson championship win over Bullets.
26: ZOE | ZOE CLUTTERBUCK #18 (SS)
27: *Led team (by wide margin) in triples for the season (9). *Walk-off game-winning blast in come-from-behind victory over Rose Rich Mustangs in late night win at USFA State in Beaumont. *Diving circus catch on deflected line drive helped team to championship win over Deer Park Damage.
31: ...AND FRIENDS
32: May 4, 2011, 10:58pm Team, I just got the pool game schedule for our tournament in Sugar Land this weekend, and Saturday looks like an early, early get up. We play at 8am, and again at 10:15am.... We have so much left to cover before I could feel like we were truly "ready" to start tournament play, but there is no substitute for real game experience to get the learning curve going. ... During baserunning drills Monday and tonight, we discovered that we have plenty of girls on our team that do not particularly like to slide. I have been stressing to the girls that as a first year 12U team, they are going to have to outwork, out- think, and out-hustle their opponents to be competitive. Please talk with your daughter, if the opportunity arises, about the importance of putting team before self, which means being ready and willing to take a scrape or bruise here or there if necessary to slide hard into a base or to block a ball that might otherwise skip by for extra bases. I am looking forward to this weekend. Regardless of outcome, we'll keep it positive. And we'll definitely look good. Take care, Greg | PLAY BALL!
34: Texas Magic All Stars of Texas May 6-8, 2011 Imperial Park, Sugar Land First Place 7-1 | Angleton Force, W (12-0) Alvin Bayou Babes, W (9-0) Lake Jackson Elite, W (8-0) Pearland Power, L (4-6) Lake Jackson Extreme, W (15-0) Sugar Land Express Blue, W (7-6) Bay City Pride, W (14-2) Pearland Power, W (8-6)
35: May 9, 2011, 12:17pm Team, Now what are we supposed to do for an encore? What an incredible start to our summer season. The highs were high. The lows were low. And the finish was fantastic. I could not be more proud of the girls' perserverence. That championship was a team effort. Great job. Tonight, we will practice at South Campus Field 1 at 6pm. We are going to cut it short tonight, so please make every effort to be there on time. We will quit tonight at about 7pm and reconvene for dinner at Prince's Hamburgers between Westpark and the 59 Frontage Road at about 7:30pm. Milkshakes for everyone!! Team trophy will be in attendance.... This weekend we will be in Missouri City. This is an open tournament, meaning that we will be playing mostly, if not exclusively, select teams. This will be a challenge for our girls, but they are competitors, and I have every confidence that they can handle it. Whether we go two and out or not, we will be a better team for having been willing to take on tougher competition. If your daughter expresses apprehension about playing select teams, be reassuring. Our athletes are just as strong as any '99 team anywhere. The only difference in our team and the select squads will be ther number of games and practices that those girls have had. ... Best regards, Greg
36: Texas Kaos May Meltdown (Open) May 13-15, 2011 Sta-Mo Sports Complex, Missouri City Second Place 4-2-1 | Smash '99, W (3-1) Rose Rich Mustangs, T (4-4) Pearland Storm, W (5-0) Smash '99, W (3-0) Texas Heat '99, L (1-5) Texas Banshees, W (5-4) Texas Heat '99, L (0-13)
37: May 16, 2011, 12:42pm Team, I am really not sure what to say about our girls' performance this weekend. We will continue to push them to get better and better, but every so often, it's a good thing to step back and acknowledge how good they really are. The best '98 teams in the state were all at the Hall of Fame qualifying event this weekend in Dallas. Most of the best '99 teams in South Texas were at our tournament. There were a few in Splendora, and a couple in Sugar Land, but our tournament was by far the best competition for '99 select squads in our area. I got a kick Friday and Saturday out of overhearing people ask "Who is the Vortex?" and "What is WU?" when they looked at the posted bracket. Now I am getting emails from managers trying to talk us into coming to play in their tournaments. Second in a field of 13 is tremendous. They exceeded all my expectations. Now it's time to up the expectations. So let's get back to work, at practice tomorrow at 6pm at South Campus. Lots to work on, and fair amount of talking to do about things that happened this weekend. We saw some new things out there, and we'll be better prepared to deal with them next time around. Best to all, Greg
38: Fifth Annual SLGSA All Star Shootout May 20-22, 2011 Imperial Park, Sugar Land First Place 6-0 | Sugar Land Express Blue, W (5-1) Sienna Stars, W (8-0) Deepwater Stingrays, W (21-1) Sugar Land Express Blue, W (7-6) Deer Park Damage, W (5-1) Deer Park Damage, W (17-2)
39: Second Annual Peppery Hot All Star Bash June 3-5, 2011 Burroughs Park, Tomball Second Place 6-1 | SBMSA Heat, W (10-0) Cy Fair Crush, W (14-3) SBMSA Heat, W (10-0) Spring Klein Krush, W (13-0) Humble Explosion, W (11-0) WU Wave '98, W (7-5) WU Wave '98, L (3-4)
40: USFA 12B Texas State Championship (Open) June 10-12, 2011 Ford Fields, Beaumont 4-2 | Seabrook Surge, W (4-1) Texas Aces Express '99, W (6-1) Texas Thunder '98, L (4-6) Houston Havoc, W (8-4) Rose Rich Mustangs, W (8-7) Texas Thunder '98, L (0-6)
41: June 13, 2011, 2:26pm Vortex, If I am this sore after Saturday, I can't imagine how the girls feel. Permit me a reflection or two. I had some time to think yesterday. Trophies are great, and I am very glad that we've won a bunch of them this summer. But good competition like we had this weekend is a real privilege. We learned more about our strengths and weak spots in our first bracket game Saturday than we did in the whole tournament in Tomball. At the end of the season, we'll be left with memories and life lessons. Our girls stuck together Saturday through some big highs and big lows, and turned some big lows into extraordinary highs. I can talk until I am blue in the face about determination and perserverence. They went out and lived those values in the last innings of our games against the Havoc and the Mustangs. The level of effort was outstanding. ... Practice tonight from 6-8 at SC. Wednesday's practice will end with fly ball practice with water balloons. The Wallers and Grams have Sling King balloon launchers. Would be great to have water balloons, preferably filled with cold water, from as many sources as possible. Dale will follow up on logistics. Best regards, Greg
42: WATER BALLOON PRACTICE
44: ASA Houston Metro All Star Championship June 17-19, 2011 Crenshaw/Burke Park, Pasadena First Place 5-0-1 | Katy Express, W (4-3) Kingwood Mustangs, T (2-2) WU Wahoo, W (13-1) South Belt All Stars, W (14-1) Pasadena TNT, W (6-5) Pasadena TNT, W (7-1)
45: June 20, 2011, 12:46pm Vortex fans, ... Dale was in a second car, and Julia and Kirk were absorbed in Plants and Zombies on their iTouches on the way back from Pasadena last night, so I had some time last night to reflect on our team and on our season. We have played 40 games in our six tournaments. Our record is 32-6-2. At check-in on Saturday, the ASA tournament director checked each one of our girls' birth certificates, and given our apparent reputation around town, he could not believe that we were a 1999 team. I forget that sometimes, too. Your daughters have exceeded every expectation that I had for them. I also recognize that I have pushed this team hard this summer, and particularly the past two weeks. There have been times when I've been equal parts coach and drill sergeant, and while there are times in retrospect that I believe that call was the right one (Friday night's "practice," for example), there are times when I no doubt got it wrong.... We have been spending lots of time this summer talking as a team about trusting each other enough to be honest about our mistakes, learning from those mistakes, shaking off those mistakes, and then looking for a chance to make the next play or pick up a teammate who just made an error. This is all a very long prelude to tonight's homework assignment, which I would request you pass on to your players today. Last week, I asked each of the girls to identify one area that she needs to focus on in practice to improve as a player. The girls shared those thoughts with their coaches and with their teammates last Monday and Wednesday. It was an affirming exercise, and I saw marked improvement in a number of the identified areas this weekend. This week, I want each of our players to identify one area (or more, if they get excited about the prospect) that our coaches need to focus on in order to improve as coaches. They need to see their coaches modeling the same behaviors that we expect from them, so I don't want them to hesitate to speak up. Impressions are welcomed and encouraged. Knowing this crew, I expect the exchange to be equal parts fun and brutal honesty.... ... See you tonight. Best regards to all, Greg
46: June 17, 2011, 2:54pm Okay folks. Here's the scoop on THE BUS: No solution is going to be perfect. Vicki and Sandy have done solid work trying to get this worked out for everyone. Every so often, though, democracy has to yield to efficiency. So here's what we are going to do. ... This trip is not about economics. There is no rational, economic reason to drive 11 hours to Branson to play 4 softball games. It's about giving our girls an experience that they'll remember forever, or at least for a long while. They begged me from day 1 to go out of state to a travel tournament, and they are excited about getting to ride on a team bus. This is our last weekend together, and we're going to enjoy it. ... Some of you have already asked about helping to offset team expenses above and beyond our initial budget, and I very much appreciate that. We'll sort that out once the season is over. For now, I want the focus on our girls. They are a first year 12U all star team that is playing like a second year 12U select squad, and they play the game with passion and enthusiasm and joy. For those of you that have watched them at get-togethers, whether at dinner or swim parties or sleepovers, you know that they are also fantastic young ladies-- true teammates, no cliques, just good kids. I have laughed with them, and I have cried with them. Now I'm going to Branson with them, on a bus. Best regards to each of you. See you tonight, Greg
48: FUN IN BRANSON
52: USSSA Ozark Classic NIT (Open) June 24-26, 2011 Branson Rec Plex, Branson, Missouri First Place 6-0 | KC Kryptonite, W (12-2) No Whining/SWAT, W (12-0) Topeka Rain Storm, W (21-1) Reed Spring White, W (23-0) Sluggers, W (8-1) Bullets, W (12-2)
56: 12U WUSA Vortex Team Season Statistics 2011 Tournaments: 7 Championships: 4 Trophies: 6 Games: 46 Record: 38-6-2 Runs scored: 393 Runs allowed: 114 Plate appearances: 1064 At bats: 901 Hits: 346 Batting average: .384 Doubles: 23 Triples: 27 Home runs: 6 Slugging percentage: .489 Bases on balls: 147 Hit by pitch: 16 On base percentage: .478