Monday, December 12, 2016

Texas Travelers Players do more than just Softball

The Texas Travelers Gold select softball team has been rated as one of the top softball teams in the country.  In 2016, the team earned invites to Texas Tech Showcase, USSSA Kansas City World Series and finished as the ASA Hall of Fame, Hitting for Heroes, ASA/DFW Champions Cup, USSSA Spring Spectacular, Hall of Fame Qualifier and Triple Crown OKC champions.  In addition to picking up top finishes in various tournaments they also placed third in the Ronald McDonald for the year.

For the 2017 Spring Season, the Texas Travelers Gold team will be playing in the USSSA Kansas City World Series, ASA National Championship, Triple Crown and the Colorado Sparkler as well as a variety of some of the most competitive tournaments in the country.  The girls are already being looked at from college teams such as University of Houston, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State just to name a few.  In short, these girls can play softball and play against some of the best in the country.

However, these softball girls excel in a variety of activities off the softball field.  Many of the girls compete in UIL competitions, earn “All-A’s Honor Roll”, DUKE TIP (Academic Talent Search), Choir, Band and other sports.  The Texas Travelers feel it is important to encourage the players to build their resume of activities with other things than just softball preparing them for opportunities after high school and beyond.  The benefits of multi-sport participation are physical, psychological and social. These benefits last a lifetime.  According to many researchers, multi-sport athletes display improved health and wellness, including decreased injury rates, improved athletic performance (they master alternative activities faster than single-sport athletes), improved leadership skills and teamwork, better attendance in school and better academic performance.

The 04 Texas Travelers are a very competitive select softball team and part of a rich tradition of success.  Each team is hand selected.  The organization as a whole is small in nature, but has the success and great reputation as the larger organization giving its girls the highest advantage when it comes to their future having sent over 175 girls to play college softball.  Most of the team are comprised of outstanding 2022 graduates with a few very talented 2023 grads.

Madison McClarity made the 7th grade “A” team in both volleyball and basketball at Lyles Middle School. She was the team captain and top server for volleyball and is one of the three top scorers in basketball. She maintains an A/B grade point average in all her honor classes. She is interested in Oklahoma University, Texas Tech, Mississippi State and Texas A&M to pursue a degree in architecture. Madison enjoys playing sports, drawing/art, music, video games and hanging out with her family and friends.  Dee as she is known to her friends, family and fans usually plays one of the corner positions for the Texas Travelers and is a force to be reckoned with in the lineup as she typically is in the four hole!  Her raw talent and size alone strikes fear in opposing pitchers.

Elizabeth Schaefer is a pitcher for the Texas Travelers.  She also plays first base and outfield.  Elizabeth attends Williams Middle School in Rockwall, TX and has a 98 average in her Pre-AP honor classes.  She competes in UIL for writing, stats and reading and was selected for the DUKE TIP (Academic Talent Search) and a member of National Junior Honor Society.  She is an Honors Choir member and plays on the A-Team for Volleyball and Basketball teams.  She plans to run track and might even play soccer in the spring.  In addition to playing for her school and the Travelers, she is the Team Captain for her club volleyball team, Texas Assault.  In 2015 during the ASA National Championships, Elizabeth set a single game strikeout record for ASA with 18.  She has had over 1500 strikeouts since she began playing for the Texas Travelers becoming the All-Time Strikeout leader for the organization which has been around for over 20 years.  She maintains a .87 WHIP, 1.21 ERA, 1.85 strikeouts per inning and a .425 batting average.  She will be starting Rockwall high school in 2018 and would like to become a collegiate student-athlete playing softball.

Mia Rust will be a 2022 graduate of Union Grove High School. She is an all A student and a member of the “All A” Academic honor roll. Mia is a member of the Maps/Graphs & Charts, Ready writing, & Impromptu Speaking UIL Teams. Mia is a also a member of UG Archery team, 7th grade volleyball team, UG Theater, Junior High Band, Gifted/Talented team, & the junior high Track team. Other interest include working-out, shooting, hanging out with friends, Scuba diving, & playing with her dogs, Gracie & Trixie.  She is interested in attending LSU, Ole Miss, Baylor, Tennessee or Texas A&M after high school.  She plays catcher, first base and outfield for the Texas Travelers and is one of the big bats in the lineup!

Kelsie Adams is currently a Cheerleader for her School in Van Alstyne. She made her 7th grade Volleyball team and Basketball team. Kelsie excels in her academics making the Honor Roll each report card, and has participated in UIL at her school.  Kelsie enjoys drawing and painting in and out of school. Kelsie intends to run track in the spring and is interested in taking lessons in golf.  She is interested in playing college softball upon her graduation and has earned the Hustle Award while attending the Oklahoma University Softball Camp the last several years.  When watching the Travelers play, you will see her as one of the most vocal players on the field no matter where she is playing.  Kelsie plays Second Base, Outfield and occasionally sees time at pitching when she is needed.  She is a speedster on the base paths as well.

Shelby Nelson is interested in Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Iowa State.  Her academic success is very important to her. She has a drive to be the best that she can be at anything and everything she does. She is an "A" honor roll student, a member of NJHS, Lake Dallas Middle School Principal Award Recipient, Duke TIP nominee, a member of student council and The Leader In Me. She enjoys playing volleyball and basketball when she's not on the diamond as well as spending quality time with her family. She is mentoring young softball players that lookup to her and enjoys being able to share the love of the game with them.  Shelby plays catcher for the Texas Travelers enjoying showing off her cannon of an arm and can play just about anywhere else on the field.  When catching, she is the captain of the field giving her team an advantage by controlling the game.

Kaycee Bock currently attends Glen Rose Junior High and will attend Glen Rose High School in the future. She plays school volleyball and basketball and will play softball for her high school. She makes all A's and B's and is on the Tiger Squad at her school whose goal is to make a positive impact on the school by doing random acts of kindness, and organizing fun and positive student events. She is a member of the Girl Scouts and helps out during the summer at Camp Stevens Ranch. She loves softball, volleyball, basketball, riding her four-wheeler, crafts, nature, going to church and being with family.  During volleyball season Kaycee was a server, setter & middle blocker on her school volleyball team, the Glen Rose Junior High Lady Tigers. She is currently playing guard for her school basketball team.  Kaycee Bock plays third base for the Texas Travelers and is one of the power hitters for the team.  Kaycee is interested in attending University of Texas, Iowa State, Baylor, Florida after high school.

Macy Hamilton plays both volleyball and basketball for Brooks Wester Middle School in Mansfield, Texas. She has been fortunate enough to be selected as the team captain for both sports.  Currently, she is the starting point guard for the 7th Grade A Team and specializes in playing lock-down defense against the opposing point guard. Macy hasn't met a ball that she doesn't enjoy diving for.  Macy is also a trained vocalist and guitarist. She was honored to have been invited to sing the National Anthem at the Mansfield Run with Heart 5k and in front of State Representatives and local Mayors to dedicate a new wing at Mansfield Methodist Hospital.   Along with the extra-curricular activities, Macy also is a stellar student, maintaining all A's in all Pre-AP classes.  Currently, Macy aspires to be a student athlete and play softball at one of the following colleges: Texas Tech University, Auburn University, University of Texas or follow in the footsteps of her cousin, Kelsey Miller and play for Dartmouth in the Ivy League.  She is a utility player for the Texas Travelers and has a drive that is second to none.

Kennedy Chastant is very outspoken honors student at Brownsboro intermediate school. She is competitive by nature and has represented her school in UIL and student council. This year she was one of the few students chosen to be in a special leadership class. During off season Kennedy plays basketball and has been chosen for All-Stars each year. This will be her last year to play Little Dibblers before she enters junior high next year. Softball is her passion and hopes to play catcher for a large D1 program such as Baylor, Oklahoma, Alabama or LSU.  The Texas Travelers love her bat in the lineup and leadership on the field and in the dugout.  As a catcher, Kennedy controls the speed of the game and is willing to sacrifice her body to deliver excellent results.

Emily Jonte is a 7th grader at St Mark Catholic School in Plano, Texas.  When she is not playing softball she enjoys spending time with friends and playing with her dog Rex.  She is an active volunteer at the Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano where she feeds animals and helps with general maintenance.  Emily plays basketball for her school and she was a key contributor in last year’s run to the Dallas Parochial League title.  Emily is a pitcher for the Texas Travelers along with a very good bat in the lineup.  She has multiple pitches with a variation of speed and spin keeping the batters of balance.  MJ as she is known by her friends, family and fans provides the Travelers the opportunity to be able to compete with any team in the country at a very high level.   Emily patterns her game on being a five tool player.  She can run, hit for power, has a strong arm, loves to chase down fly balls in the outfield and can be counted on to drive in runs.  As a pitcher she will offer you 5 pitches:  fastball, screwball, change, curve, drop and she may throw each one during one at bat.  Emily is the consummate team player and enjoys seeing her teammates have success.

Tatum Cantu better known as Pickle to her fans, teammates, friends and family is very involved in her junior high school, Wheat Junior High in Cleburne, TX.  Tatum has a diverse set of skills.  She is on the student council and was honored with being voted student of the month for October by her teachers.  She is on the volleyball, cross country, cheerleader, and basketball teams. She is also in the Wind ensemble and Jazz band. Tatum wants to work with animals in some capacity in the future. Tatum is an A/B Honor Roll Student at Wheat Junior High.  She would like to go to a school that is not too far from home but far enough where she can have the college experience. She would like to attend Texas, Baylor, UT Arlington, Texas State or TCU.  Tatum is a strong bat for the Texas Travelers and can be seen making ESPN like plays in the outfield.  She also will play middle infield for the Travelers as well.  Tatum is a level headed player who could also be named “clutch” as she has always delivered the big hit when the game is on the line.

Ever since Gabrielle Briones was a little girl, she always seemed to amaze her parents, friends and coaches. She is always a determined little person.  She loves trying new and out of the ordinary things. If she is not playing softball, she is helping coach her little brother’s baseball team. When Gaby, as she is known to her teammates and fans, is not on the field, she keeps herself busy with school activities.  She is part of the Quest program, recorder club, Signing Choir, Safety Patrol, camera crew and a drummer for PTA performance. On her down time you can find Gaby reading. Not only is Gaby smart, talented and athletic she's also a sweet, loving, caring and a funny person.  Gabby plays outfield and middle infield for the Texas Travelers.  She has a high on base percentage and quickly rounds the bags as she helps puts runs on the board for her team.  Her footwork in the field is very fluid as she seamlessly scoops up ground balls.

Talia Gutierrez is the middle child of 5 in a single parent household, and has been the glue to hold her family together. She started out in advanced gymnastics and dance classes very young, and continued competing in any and all sports available to her at a very high level. She utilized her natural athleticism and overall sports IQ to outwit and outplay her always older opponents.  She currently plays soccer and is an amazing defender and goalie, she plays volleyball and is all over the court, utilizes her aggressiveness and speed in basketball to create turnovers and achieve breakaways, and plans to play all 5 school sports offered for 7th graders next year. She stays active in her community by volunteering and regularly attending church, is in theater and is a great singer, tutors other students as a peer mentor, and has maintained Straight A's her entire life. Her favorite activity is being an ambassador for circle of friends, a program that enhances inclusion for mentally disabled students at her school. They go on field trips together, plan dances and other programs to help those children feel important to their student body.  She is constantly outside and doesn't mind getting dirty, but she has a girlie side and loves getting her nails done. Talia is a natural leader, she possesses the intangibles that you can't teach, and the heart to leave everything on the field for her team.  The Texas Travelers appreciate her mental toughness as she controls the outfield and middle infield.  After high school Talia is interested in attending either Oklahoma State, OU, LSU, BYU, UVU, Texas Tech, Georgia, Baylor, University of North Texas, or University of Texas.

Kaydee Bennett is a country girl at heart and fierce competitor when playing sports.  She attends Sunnyvale Middle School and participates in UIL Academics, STEM Academics earning the A Honor Roll in all honors/advance courses.  Kaydee is on the A-Team in basketball, volleyball and will run track in the spring.  In addition to playing with the Texas Travelers she also plays outside hitter for the Texas Assault Volleyball Club -13’s Black, top team.  Kaydee is the leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Travelers and has a team lead in batting average, stolen bases and in the park homeruns.  She has been rated as one of the fastest girls in the nation from Home to First and Home to Home.  This always comes in handy especially when she can cover from one side of third base to the other side of second.  After high school Kaydee would like to be a college softball player for Baylor, Iowa State, Texas Tech, University of Texas, Oklahoma State or Texas A&M.
The coaches, led by Coach Kyle Bennett prepare the girls to be strong independent young women.  They are getting their players ready to be able to start as a freshman on their high school varsity teams, and with the organizations connection and strong alumni support; the Texas Travelers girls will be able to attract the attention of some of the top softball programs in the country.  As a matter of fact, Jordan Strickland, Baylor Bears history making shortstop, is on the coaching staff of the Texas Travelers Gold Team.

Jordan Strickland is one of those rare individuals who is looking to give back to others.  In fact, the Baylor Bear softball legend is giving her time and softball knowledge to a group of young, up-and-coming softball players by helping the Texas Travelers.  Strickland’s softball accomplishments at Baylor include the 2014 Women’s College World Series All-Tournament Team, 2014 Second Team All-Big 12, 2014 First Team Academic All-Big 12, 2013 First Team Academic All-Big 12, Seven-Time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll Selection, and Two-time Baylor Dean’s List Selection.  “I could not be more pleased to have Jordan as part of our coaching staff.  She is a remarkable young woman with a great career, and an excellent role model for all of our girls to imitate” states, Head Coach of the Texas Travelers, Kyle Bennett.  Jordan works with the infielders primarily, but more importantly sharing her experiences on and off the field with the impressionable young softball players.

The Texas Travelers Gold is also a fully funded team.  This is a plus in today’s select softball world where playing for teams require you to pay for their uniforms, coaches, team lessons on top of the travel expense to play at a high level.  The softball players that play for the Texas Travelers save thousands of dollars for their parents because of the support they receive from the continued donations.

In addition to being a fully funded team, the Texas Travelers have a marketing program second to none.  DeliveryMaxx has donated its patent-pending services to help market the Texas Travelers as well as each of their players which will help when the girls start the recruiting process.
The Texas Travelers are one of the top select softball teams in the country.  They have already secured their invitation to the most competitive tournaments in the United States and will fill the additional weekends with College Showcase Events and 14u tournaments.  Even though they have some of the top rated players at their position, the players are always looking to add the right player with the right parents to the roster giving them a heighten level of competition even in their own club.  The players and coaches both agree that their performance at practice, off the field, and tournament play determines their time of play in competition.  The coaches look at each player as an individual and identifies how the player can best help the team reach its goals.
If you are interested in playing for the Texas Travelers, you should have the following attributes and contact Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702.:

  • Don’t be afraid of competition. Yes, the Texas Travelers have great players. However, the Travelers give everyone an opportunity to win the right to play. When the girls take the field, they know they have earned the right to play their position because they are the right player that helps the team reach its goals.
  • Have a desire to play at a high level. The Texas Travelers compete in the most prestigious tournaments as well as College Showcases in the country, and some of those tournaments are around the Dallas and Fort Worth area. However, it’s not just about chasing trophies or rings. The Texas Travelers players’ goal is to be ready to start as a freshman on their high school varsity team and then ultimately be recruited to play softball in college.
  • Be coachable. The Texas Travelers coaching staff has a lot of experience, and connections to college experts in softball. The organization treats every girl like they are their own daughter and wants nothing but the best for them. This team is not looking for individuals, but they always have a spot for someone who wants to continue the pursuit of excellence.
  • Love to overcome obstacles. Many girls are pushed away from softball because of cost or their current organization doesn’t see their value. The Texas Travelers are known for finding girls that love to prove they belong and can play at a high level. In addition, the Texas Travelers players are all on scholarships as the team is fully funded.
  • Have parental support. The Travelers coaching staff makes the decisions on the field, but the organization is only as strong as its parents. Parents are required to understand the philosophy of the Texas Travelers organization, and positively reinforce the goals of the players and team. When playing for a select softball team, you will spend a lot of time with the families of the players. Therefore, it is important to make sure team chemistry on and off the field provides lasting positive memories for your daughter.

The Texas Travelers will be completing their roster for the Spring Season as they prepare to become 2017 National Champions.  For more information about the Texas Travelers or its players visit the team on Facebook or contact Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Texas Travelers invited to Texas Tech Softball Team Camp

The Texas Travelers Gold team was invited to attend a three game guarantee to play in front of the Texas Tech Softball Coaching staff November 12th and 13th in Lubbock, Texas.

The Travelers have already qualified for the USSSA World Series in Kansas City over the summer and are looking to earn bids for PGF and ASA Nationals.  They have won the ASA Hall of Fame, Triple Crown and recently finished 3rd in the Ronald McDonald Elite Softball Tournament.  The team boast some of the top players in the country and look forward to showcasing their talent in front of college coaches.

Saturday and Sunday’s matchup will feature the Travelers who are all 2022 or 2023 graduates playing against 2020 graduates from the Firecrackers, Texas Outlaws and Impact Gold teams.  However, this isn’t the first time the Texas Travelers will be playing up a division as they play 14u tournaments quite often.

The 04 Texas Travelers are a very competitive select softball team and part of a rich tradition of success.  Each team at each age group is hand selected.  The organization as a whole is small in nature, but has the success and great reputation as the larger organization giving its girls the highest advantage when it comes to their future having sent over 175 girls to play college softball.
The coaches, led by Coach Kyle Bennett prepare the girls to be strong independent young women.  They are getting their players ready to be able to start as a freshman on their high school varsity teams, and with the organizations connection and strong alumni support; the Texas Travelers girls will be able to attract the attention of some of the top softball programs in the country.  As a matter of fact, Jordan Strickland, Baylor Bears history making shortstop, is on the coaching staff of the 04 Texas Travelers.

The 04 Texas Travelers is also a fully funded team.  This is a plus in today’s select softball world where playing for teams require you to pay for their uniforms, coaches, team lessons on top of the travel expense to play at a high level.  The softball players that play for the Texas Travelers save thousands of dollars for their parents because of the support they receive from the continued donations.

For more information about the 04 Texas Travelers or their players, contact Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702 or follow the team on Facebook.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Elizabeth Schaefer Strikeouts 1500 Batters

Pitching can be a lonely place on the field.  All eyes focus to the mound on every single pitch.  Half of the stadium is hoping for failure and the other half is praying for perfection.  A pitcher has to have the skill to pitch and execute each throw with precision.  In addition to a strong arm, a pitcher must be very tough mentally to endure the constant pressures the game presents.
On July 2, 2016 during the ASA Hall of Fame Championship game against Impact Gold DFW 03, Elizabeth Schaefer accomplished something few others her age has, and sent her 1500th batter back to the dugout with an outside fastball on a full count.  The 04 Texas Travelers ended up winning the championship game 8-0.
Elizabeth who turned 12 in March has been pitching since she was 9 years old.  Her pitching coach, Rick Lee has helped her develop a Fastball, Drop Ball, Curve, Rise and nasty Flip Change.  Schaefer has been clocked recently in games as well as a college showcase camp with a Fastball that reaches 59 mph and can come back with her flip change as slow as 37 mph leaving batters scratching their heads as they take the slow walk back to the dugout.  She has logged 20 no-hitters including a complete perfect game where she struck out every batter she faced in the game against one of the 03 Glory teams.
During last year’s 2015 ASA/USA National Championship in Normal, Illinois; Schaefer pitched a nine inning game striking out an ASA National Record 18 batters helping the 04 Texas Travelers to a 3rd place finish in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country.  When you add her WHIP (Walks plus Hits given up per inning pitched) she has a state best of .83 and batters are hitting less than .148 against her.  Even more impressive is she rarely walks a batter averaging 1 base on balls for every 25 batters she strikes out, and she is striking out 1.25 batters an inning.
Schaefer was dominate in 10u softball where you can get away with having a great fastball.  However, where most pitchers struggle their first year of 12u Softball; Elizabeth continues to excel with the extra movement on her pitches changing speeds quite effectively.  She has had to learn to really pitch and understand the mental part of the game.  “In 12u, we have asked Elizabeth to utilize her drop ball which produces a lot of groundball outs.  This has cut into her strikeout totals.  However, she does this without hesitation and that is one of the things that makes her a great teammate” states, Head Coach of the Travelers, Kyle Bennett.
E, as she is known to her teammates and fans, also plays for the Sunnyvale High School team which plays other high school softball teams around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  This soon to be 7th grader enjoys the challenge facing older girls who are used to facing strong pitching.  “I don’t really look at a batter at being tough.  I just pitch to where the pitch is called and try to do what the coach ask me to do” shares Elizabeth Schaefer.
Her goals are pretty straight forward.  She wants to help her Texas Travelers win Nationals where they will be playing in Branson, Missouri this year.  When she enters Rockwall High School, she would like to win a State Championship or two.  Of course, she has two more years before entering high school.
She would like to be recruited and play for a D1 College helping them to a National Championship.  Then her ultimate goal is to be chosen as one of the top 18 girls to represent the United States playing for Team USA.  To accomplish these goals; Elizabeth knows there is a lot of work that still has to be done.  She knows she will have to increase her velocity into the upper 60’s and continue to understand how and what pitch she should deliver to tough batters.  At 5’8” and a young 12 year old, Elizabeth is still growing which will allow her to increase her strength helping her achieve this criteria.  She has yet maximized her leap, but once she masters this, her velocity will increase even more.  In addition to her physical abilities; Elizabeth also makes the grades in school recently finishing in the top five of her class while playing club volleyball, select softball, and league basketball and participating in band and choir.
Elizabeth is a pretty special player and sure to be seen at a higher level in the future if she continues to put in the work.  Elizabeth loves everything that comes with pitching on the mound and enjoys her team looking to her to deliver excellent results.
For more information about Elizabeth Schaefer, her teammates, or the Texas Travelers you can follow them on Facebook or follow the Texas Travelers News Network Site.  Coach Kyle Bennett can be reached at 972.679.7702.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Texas Travelers play Triple Crown in Oklahoma City

From June 4th to June 6th softball in Oklahoma and the world for that matter doesn’t get any better.  The College World Series is taking place during that time, but the Triple Crown OKC will also feature some of the top teams around the United States as well.

In addition to the 04 Texas Travelers, last year’s lone Texas representative to ASA National Championship; TCR Blue (Conifer, Colorado), LA Gators (Branch, Louisiana), NM Express (Carlsbad, New Mexico), American Freedom Taylor (N. Richland Hills), Buckaroos (Ft. Collins, Colorado), Sidekicks (Perry, Kansas), Insanity (Mohave Valley, Arizona), Indiana Gators (Whiteland, Indiana), KC Threat (Independence, Missouri), Colorado Stars (Lafayette, Colorado), Impact Gold Lampl (Tomball), Heartland Havoc 03 (Moline, Illinois), NWA Knockouts 03 (Centerton, Arkansas), NM Lady Titans (Gallup, New Mexico), Texas Bombers CC (Corpus Christi), Firecrackers CO (Thorton, Colorado), Tulsa Elite (Shawnee Oklahoma), Ft. Worth Batbusters (Bedford), Texas Rage 03 (Sequin), Texas Fusion (Frisco),  Oklahoma A’s (Yukon, Oklahoma), NC Xplosion (Windsor, Colorado),  Team Elite (Lake Charles, Louisiana), Vipers 03 (Texarkana, Texas), TCR 12 Blake (Centennial, Colorado), SA Boom (San Antonio), Texas Stealth (Pasadena), Warriors (Broomfield, Colorado), Texas Sudden Impact (Woodlands), Blue Angels (Southhaven, Mississippi), STX Lightning 03 (San Juan), Texas Fusion 03 (Ft. Worth), Prodigy (Highland Ranch, Colorado), Esprit 03 (Fenton, Missouri), Texas Legends (Spring), Sizzle Elite (Omaha, Nebraska), Adrenaline Black (Castle Rock, Colorado), Texas Bomber CTX (Kyle), Impact Gold DFW 03 (Haslet), Pueblo Sharks Ministry (Pueblo, Colorado), West U Ice (Houston), Firecrackers ETX (Honey Grove), QC Patriots (Bettendorf, Iowa), RGV Thunder Gray (Edinburg), Rocky MTN Thunder (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) will be competing in this prestigious tournament.  Most of these teams are preparing for their World Series or National Tournaments for the end of their year as the Texas Travelers are utilizing the tournament as they get ready to compete in the National Championships in Branson, Missouri.

The Texas Travelers are one of the few pure 04 teams comprised of 11 and 12 year olds who were born in the year 2004.  Most teams have a combination of 03 & 04’s or are all 03’s.  Even though the Texas Travelers are one of the youngest teams, they are one of the most talked about teams in the country.

The Texas Travelers will face the TCR Blue Saturday at 9:00 am on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.  On Sunday they will face LA Gators at 9:30 am and then New Mexico Express at 12:30 pm all at Buck Thomas field.  Depending how the Travelers compete those two days will determine who and when they will play on Sunday and Monday in single elimination bracket play.  The championship game scheduled for 3:00 pm Monday deciding who will be the Triple Crown OKC Champions.
The competition will be fierce, but the Texas Travelers support will be strong.  Good luck to all of the girls competing.

For more information on the Texas Travelers, players, coaches, or schedules visit the Texas Travelers News Network or follow the team on Facebook.  The Texas Travelers take pride in competing at the highest level possible for select softball. 

About ASA:

The Amateur Softball Association (ASA), a volunteer driven, not-for-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, was founded in 1933 and has evolved into the strongest softball organization in the country. The growth and development of the association led the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to name the ASA the National Governing Body of Softball, pursuant to the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.

The ASA has many important responsibilities as the national governing body of softball in the United States, including regulating competition to insure fairness and equal opportunity to the millions of player who annually play the sport.  When the ASA entered the softball picture in 1933, the sport was in a state of confusion with no unified set of playing rules and no national governing body to provide guidance and stability. The ASA changed all that by adopting softball's first universally accepted rules of play and by organizing consistent and fair competition across the nation.

From this beginning, the ASA has become one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 74 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 200,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than four million.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Battle of DFW North Texas State Championship

There are certain tournaments across the country that live up to the hype, but this weekend is an exception.  The Texas Travelers will be competing in the Battle of DFW North Texas State Championship May 14th and 15th.  There will be over 40 teams across North Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma who will be battling on the softball diamonds for greatness.

The USSSA tournament will be featuring some of the top 12U teams in the country, and as a first year 12U softball team comprised of all 04’s; the Travelers continue to make headlines with their play on the field.  In fact, the Texas Travelers are one of the most talked about teams in the country with many head turning players.

Tournament play will be in three different locations across the Dallas and Ft. Worth area with the Texas Travelers playing at Denia Park located at 1001 Parvin Street in Denton, Texas on Saturday.  Their Pool Play games will be against EPIC Fastpitch, Dallas Tigers and Glory Adkins 03 which will determine their seeding for Bracket Play on Sunday.  Some of the notable teams in the tournament will be Firecrackers DFW, Oklahoma Angels, American Freedom, Impact Gold and Texas Glory 03.
The competition will be strong, the days will be long; but the Texas Travelers and their fans live for softball weekends.  Good luck to all of the teams and girls competing in the Battle of DFW North Texas State Championship Tournament.

For more information on the Texas Travelers, players, coaches, or schedules visit the Texas Travelers News Network or follow the team on Facebook.  The Texas Travelers take pride in competing at the highest level possible for select softball.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Softball Clinic comes to Texas June 21st and 22nd

Wisconsin Softball Associate Head Coach Randy Schneider will be coming to North Texas teaching coaches and players alike offensive strategies, hitting and fielding.

Because of the popularity of this event and the special access players and coaches will be receiving with Coach Schneider, there will be a limited number of players accepted into the clinic.  The coach’s clinic will take place the evening of June 21st and the players’ clinic will follow June 22nd.  The players’ clinic will be split into 10U-12U from 8 AM until 11 AM and 14U thru 18U from 12 Noon until 2 PM located at the Mesquite Softball Complex.

Coach Schneider will also be talking with players and parents about recruiting and collegiate opportunities.

More about Coach Randy Schneider

After serving four seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, Randy Schneider will begin his second season as associate head coach of the Badgers during the 2015-16 season.  Schneider speaks nationally for National Sports Clinics, NFCA and conducts 20-30 camps yearly from coast to coast.  He also has 3 videos completed through Championship Videos: Biomechanics of Hitting, Physics of Hitting and Effective Practice Planning and drills. 

Over the last five years, the team has posted an impressive 165-106 overall record and 58-52 conference record in the Big Ten.  In the last five seasons, Wisconsin has had four 30-plus win seasons after only previously having five 30-plus win campaigns in 15 seasons.

The 2015 senior class, led by walk-on Maria Van Abel (2015 All-Big Ten defensive team) along with Marissa Merch and Megan Tancill, went down as the second-winning class in school history.
In 2015, thanks to offensive mastermind Coach Schneider, the Badgers clinched the highest season on-base percentage (.389) in school history and claimed the Wisconsin single-season walks record (176). The team shattered the single-season record for stolen bases (118 stolen bases), and acclaimed the highest single-season batting average (.296).

The move to associate head coach came following another record-breaking campaign for the Badgers in which they won 36 games, including 15 in Big Ten play--both tied for the second most in school history--and reached the conference semifinals and NCAA Regional Championships for the second-straight year.

In 2013, Schneider's hard work paid off at the plate for the Badgers as the team set single-season records in seven offensive categories -- slugging percentage (.443), OPS (.826), runs (283), hits (458), RBI (247), total bases (678) and walks (173). The team tied a program-best with a .300 team batting average and recorded the second-most doubles (67), home runs (47)hit by pitch (40), stolen bases (100) and stolen base percentage (.806) in school history.

Mary Massei set school records in batting average (.421), slugging percentage (.672), OPS (1.156), at bats (195), hits (82), runs (51), triples (6) and total bases (131), while Stephanie Peace recorded a school-record 35 walks.

The Badgers qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005, setting a school record with 44 wins and recording a program-best .772 winning percentage. UW's 16 Big Ten wins were the most in school history and its 28 non-conference wins and 24 neutral site wins also topped the list.
Wisconsin won the 2013 Big Ten Tournament for the first time in program history, defeating Northwestern, No. 6 Michigan and Minnesota on its way to the title. The victory over Michigan marked the Badgers' first win over the Wolverines since the 2002 season.

Schneider's offensive coaching prowess was evident in 2012, as Whitney Massey was named first team NCFA All-Great Lakes Region. Massey had a record-breaking season, hitting 22 doubles for the Badgers. The team's batting average of .300 and on base percentage of .385 were school-bests since the program started in 1996.

With Schneider's help, the Badgers recorded 30 wins in 2011, hitting the 30 win total for just the sixth time in school history. Wisconsin set a new stolen base record with 107 on the year and new individual records were set by Jennifer Krueger for all-time stolen bases and Michelle Mueller for stolen bases in a season by a freshman. The team was one of the youngest in Wisconsin history, with 73 percent of the roster comprised of freshmen.

Before joining Wisconsin, Schneider served as the head coach at Valparaiso for seven seasons, leaving as the program's all-time winningest coach. The Crusaders enjoyed winning seasons in each of the past four years and won 20 or more games in six of Schneider's seven seasons after reaching the mark just three times in the program's first 22 years.

"I am thrilled to have Randy Schneider join the Wisconsin softball family," Healy said. "He is one of the most innovative, enthusiastic, and respected coaches in our game. His ability to teach and mentor young athletes has made him one of the top recruiters in the country. Randy is best known for identifying and attracting elite Gold players from the West Coast, to blossom and excel in a supportive Midwest, family environment.

"The program will immediately become more successful on the field, in the community and in the classroom under Randy's leadership. I'm thrilled to have a coach and person of his caliber join the Badger softball family."

Schneider was named the Horizon League Co-Coach of the Year in 2008 after his team, which was in its first year in the conference, finished in second place. In 2009, he led the Crusaders to a school-record 35 wins and a third-place finish at the Horizon League Championship. In addition, Schneider had 26 players awarded All-League honors and guided the program's first NFCA All-Region honoree in 2010.

"I'm really excited," Schneider said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to work for Wisconsin and to have the opportunity to work with Yvette. She is an outstanding softball coach and is poised to do great things. Obviously it's pretty exciting for myself and my family."

Off the field, Schneider's teams proved successful as well, boasting 36 NFCA Scholar-Athletes, eight CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees and the program's first Academic All-American in over 20 years. In the community, he helped the softball program start the "I Need a Hug" initiative, a program run by the softball student-athletes which in its six years of existence has grown exponentially and has placed many thousands of stuffed animals into local schools.

To reserve your spot, contact Kyle Bennett of the Texas Travelers at 972.679.7702.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Texas Travelers play First Stage of ASA Qualifier in San Marcus

The road to the 2016 ASA/USA National Championship starts this weekend in San Marcus, Texas with the First Stage Qualifier taking place at Gary Fastpitch Softball Complex located at 2600 Airport Highway 21. 

The Texas Travelers will start their Pool Play competition against Texas Sudden Impact (9:40 AM), Texas Diamond Sports Hotshots (1 PM), Texas Bombers STX (2:40 PM) and a nightcap with Texas Glory 2k4 (7:40 PM).

Teams all over Texas will be competing to earn the right to qualify for the 2016 ASA/USA National Championships held in Salem, Virginia July 31 through August 7, 2016.  Last year, the Texas Travelers finished 3rd in the Country in Normal, Illinois.  This year, the road becomes a lot harder for the Travelers as they are a first year 12U team competing against some of the top talent in the country.  In addition, to strong first year 12U teams such as the Hotshots; the softball club will face very good second year 12U organizations as they compete to become the best softball team in the country.

Each year since 1934, over 30,000 players and thousands of teams try to qualify for the ASA National Tournament.  Teams earning a berth to the United States most notorious event held for softball will have an opportunity to compete to be called the nation’s best softball team in the country.  Since each competitor must earn their berth into an ASA national through a network of qualifying tournaments conducted throughout the season, the champion goes home as the unchallenged best team in the nation for their respected division each year.  There are many tournaments each year, but only one tournament that is synonymous with Team USA and is the National Governing Body of Softball.

Pool Play will determine the seeding for the Travelers and the other 72 teams across Texas and Oklahoma.  Single Elimination Bracket Play will begin on Sunday.

Good Luck and safe travels to all of the teams.  The Texas Travelers look forward to healthy competition and building great memories for these young softball players.

For more information about the 04 Texas Travelers contact Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702 or follow The Texas Travelers on Facebook.  To follow particular players, games, practices or see any other information about the North Texas Select Softball team visit: 04 Texas Travelers News Site.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Texas Travelers start the 2016 Softball Season Playing Elite Teams

A couple of years ago, nobody gave the 04 Texas Travelers any thought when it comes to facing them on the field.  Today is a much different story as the Travelers are one of the top 04 Select Softball Teams in the country.  As a matter of fact, they will be testing their skills against some of the top 03 select teams this weekend in Houston, Texas at the Gene Campbell Sports Complex.
Starting out, the 1st Annual Start Spring With A BANG Tourney (a PGF sanction tournament) was an invitation only tournament.  The goal was to allow some of the most talked about teams in the country to face the elite softball competition around Texas preparing them for a long battle into becoming the National Champion for 2016.  The Texas Travelers were one of the first teams contacted to play.

This tournament will feature the best teams in the State of Texas.

In addition to the 04 Texas Travelers; Hotshots North (03 & 04), Texas Legends (03), GT Shockers (03), Hotshots South (04), Impact Gold (03), DirectTV Genies (03,04), Texas Bomb Squad (03), Hotshots Cryer (04), Sudden Impact (03), Texas Stealth (04), Impact Gold Barajas (03) will be playing in this early season warmup.  All of the teams are very strong with the Texas Travelers being the only North Texas Team making the trip down south to compete with the best of Texas.
Each of the teams compete at the highest level of select softball.  Last year the Hotshots teams finished first and second in the 10U PGF Nationals held in California while the 04 Texas Travelers finished 3rd in the ASA/USA National Championships held in Normal, Illinois. 

This weekend, the Texas Travelers will find themselves in a Pool with the Hotshots North, Texas Legends, and GT Shockers and play a warmup game against the Texas Stealth.  Pool Play will determine Sunday’s bracket seeding with the championship game being played at 4 PM.  It will take a lot of perfect execution by the Travelers to make the championship game, but the girls are excited to show their talents on the field.

The Texas Travelers will look a lot different from last year’s squad that made a strong run in the National Championship Tournament.  In addition to Pitching Ace Elizabeth Schaefer, Hitting Phenom, Kaydee Bennett, and Speedsters Kelsie Adams and Zariah London; the Travelers have added Rylie Rumfield, Kenleigh Aguirre, Kennedy Chastant, Kailee Bautista, Emily Jonte, Kaycee Bock, Madison McClarity and Alyssa Stansbury.  These girls are very strong defensively and can hit too. 

Although the Travelers have only played one scrimmage together, the team has quickly become a strong unit with great parents, a strong fan base and the hardest working softball players around the diamond.  These girls will be fun to watch as each girl is one of the top players at their position in the country.

For more information about the Texas Travelers follow them on Facebook or contact Head Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Staying in the Moment

It’s that time of the year when softball teams are advertising for players, and players are looking for teams.  Long gone are the days when you picked the local city club as the place where your daughter plays a game she loves with her friends who she will be attending high school with as many parents are trying to find clubs they feel will give their daughter the best opportunity to move to a higher level of softball in the future.

In a recent conversation with the Texas Travelers 03 head coach, Lee Kuyrkendall the discussion of players’ decision making about teams was a fun topic to discuss.  Before I share this conversation, let me give you a little background of Coach Kuyrkendall.

Currently, Kuyrkendall is an Associate Scout for the Texas Ranger Major League Baseball Club charged with scouting of amateur players at the college and high school level. Assist in pre-draft free agent workouts.  Since 1991, he has been an assistant or head baseball coach for Mississippi College, North Florida Community College, Delta State, and Southwest Community College.  His teams accomplished the American Southwest Conference Eastern Division Regular Season Champions – 2002, 2003, 2006, American Southwest Conference Tournament Champion – 2003, American Southwest Conference Tournament appearances – 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and were the NCAA Regional Tournament Host – 2003.  His players personally achieved individual recognition as the 2006 NCAA leader in home runs, 2004 NCAA leader in saves, 2002 NCAA leader in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, Top 20 for total attendance and per game attendance – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, All-Region players – 2002 (1), 2003 (2), 2004 (2), 2005 (1), 2006 (3), American Southwest Conference Records for Most tournament appearances – (6), Most home runs in a single season – 2006, Most home runs in a single game – 2000, 2002, 2006, Conference leader in every offensive category – 2006, Most saves in a single season – 2004, Player of the Year – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and the Freshman of the Year – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.  He has sent several players to the MLB.

Kuyrkendall’s personal honors include Chairman of the Mississippi Community College Coaches (2011 – 2014), NCAA West Regional Selection Committee (2006), American Southwest Conference Coach of the Year (2002 and 2003), American Baseball Coaches Association Recognition for milestone achievements of 100, 200, 300 and 400 wins, Head Coach – North Team, Central Florida Coaches Association All-Star Game (1997), North Florida Community College Professional Achievement Award (1996), and the USA Baseball Clinic Assistant – Olympic Team Summer Tour (1995 and 1996).

Now some may say that Lee Kuyrkendall only knows baseball.  However, that is far from the end of the story.  In addition to playing baseball and basketball for the Southwest Bears; he also played Men’s Fastpitch Softball with former players such as Glenn Moore, current Head Coach of the Baylor Bears softball team.

Needless to say, Coach Kuyrkendall has experienced coaching at the highest level.  His one advice to parents and select softball players are to “Stay in the moment” when finding the right select softball team.

What did he mean by that?

Today, many parents look at their softball player as someone who will be playing in college.  Many parents start talking about college softball as early as 8 years old!!!  Now in full disclosure, I have an 11 year old daughter and I often dream of her competing at the collegiate level.  She has high aspirations to play for Team USA as well.  However, if you ask her what her biggest concern is today, she will tell you, “Next year I am starting middle school.”  If that doesn’t open your eyes up as it did mine; then nothing will.  She is right!  My daughter has 7 years before she will graduate high school.  If I am so focused on college softball, both of us will miss the enjoyment and experiences of middle school and high school.

That being said, ask many pro players today and they will share their most memorable experiences were the ones they made in high school sports.

So what do we mean by “Staying in the Moment” when looking for a select softball team?
It’s simple.  Don’t look for a team that promises you that the only way for your daughter to play college softball is to play for their organization.  At 8, 10, 12 years old your daughter is NOT being recruited by colleges.  It doesn’t even make sense.  We will talk about the recruiting process later.
When you are looking for a team, look at them and see if they have strong team chemistry.  Do the girls enjoy playing with each other?  Talk with the parents of the other girls.  Are these the type of parents you want to spend the majority of your weekends with during softball tournaments?  Watch the coaches.  Do they know what they are doing?  Do they understand the game?  Can they communicate with all of the girls at their level?  Have they created an environment that fosters learning?  In short, is this a team that your daughter can have fun playing a game she loves?  It’s very important because there will be a time for every girl playing softball when it will be time to hang up the cleats and it’s over.  What memories were created during this time?

Let’s face it.  Select softball has become so monetized by large organizations that it makes sense for them to have many teams.  In addition to cost of travel, tournament fees and others they tack on fees such as $25 a player just to come to a workout.  They expect their players to come to these workouts.  They make an extra $5 or $10 on uniforms.  It doesn’t seem like a lot until you multiply these figures by the hundreds of players in the organization.  Now, the large organization starts making a few thousands of dollars off of each team they have in the organization.  I’m all for capitalism, but not at the expense of treating an 8-14 year old young girl as a consumer.  She only wants to play softball.
We can take this further.  What can that organization do for your daughter that you cannot do yourself?

The big organization will say they have all of the connections to call college coaches.  Really?  Think about this scenario.  Your daughter is very good and one of the top players at her positions.  Today, you can research any college and get the name, email address and in most cases a phone number to a college coach at almost any college in the country.  If your daughter is good enough and the college has a need for her and her abilities on their team; you have just found a match.  It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?  I have heard big organizations tell players, I can just pick up the phone and get you on the team.  Do you really think a college coach is going to sign your daughter to a scholarship without doing research themselves?

I have also heard big organizations state that college coaches will only watch big organizations play at showcase tournaments.  Does this hold water?  If that were the case, why would you have showcase tournaments and only have a few teams play.  Wouldn’t that college coach decide to attend the big organizations practice and just sign your daughter right there?

This blog is not a knock on big name organizations.  It is only written to shed some light on finding the right select softball team for your family.  The percentages of your daughter playing college softball are the same whether she played for a large or independent organization.  It will come down to your daughters’ skill level, grades and how persistent or determined you are to help guide her on this journey.

So this brings me back to “Staying in the Moment” when looking for a team for you daughter.  Find a team that will allow your daughter to create great memories playing the game.  Continue to assess each year that the team continues to meet this expectation.  Identify the vision of the team.  As your daughter prepares for high school, make sure the team is getting her ready to play at that level.  Once in high school, expect your team to guide and advocate for her during the recruiting process.  If you can’t look at the team and feel that they are 100% for your daughter, you need to look for another team.

There are many teams across the country, and wearing a particular uniform will not determine whether she plays the sport she loves in college or not.

Stay in the moment and enjoy the journey.  I personally am looking forward to the next 7 years, but right now I am only focused on enjoying this year with my daughter.

For more information about the 04 Texas Travelers visit the team on Facebook or contact Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702.