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.