September 5 2011Update
Women’s National Team
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today the 2011 USA Softball Women’s National Team will face the Texas A&M and University of Houston softball teams on Sunday, Oct. 9 and Tuesday, Oct. 11, respectively, in exhibition games at the Cougar Softball Field on the University of Houston campus. These three exhibition games along with training in Houston will help prepare the USA Softball Women’s National Team for the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct. 17-23, 2011.
Hosted by the Houston ASA, USA Softball will take on Texas A&M on Oct. 9 at noon CT in a doubleheader match up. On Oct. 11, USA Softball and Houston will play at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets, which are $10 for each day, go on sale Aug. 12 at 9 a.m. Tickets cannot be purchased online but are available at Absolute All Sports (18741 Stuebner Airline Drive in Spring, Texas 77379) or by calling 281-655-7303. You can also purchase them by sending requests to Houston ASA 14210 Prospect Point Drive – Cypress, Texas, 77429 (Checks Only). Tickets can be placed at will call or will be shipped for a $5.65 fee for priority mail delivery.
USA Softball is coming off a Gold Medal finish at the World Cup of Softball VI and is seeking its eighth Pan American Title, seventh consecutive title.
“Our pre-Pan Am Games preparation is vital to our continuing ‘get better’ philosophy right now. Without the support of the Houston Amateur Softball Association, the University of Houston and Texas A&M University, this would not be possible,” said USA Softball Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “The people behind the scenes deserve all the credit in making this happen for us. Even though we experienced a little success this summer, we still have a lot of work to do in becoming a solid unit and by competing against great teams like Texas A&M and Houston, it will be a great step in that direction.”
For the most up to date information on USA Softball be sure to log on to www.usasoftball.com.
NFCA Travel Ball Award
Beverly Bandits Named 2011 NFCA Travel Ball National Coaching Staff of the Year
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Beverly Bandits 18U Gold (Ill.), led by head coach Bill Conroy and assisted by Russell Cooper, Brittany Dixon, Chris Morris, and Jen Tyrell, have been named as the 2011 NFCA Travel Ball National Coaching Staff of the Year.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Conroy. “This award is a testament to not only the Beverly Bandits’ season this year and the kids that played for us, but the program as a whole and those who have come before. To me, it is really more of a lifetime achievement award. It was made possible by not only this year’s coaching staff and players, but all those who have helped pave the way for our success.”
The Bandits turned in an astounding 72-8-2 record over the 2010-2011 season and lost just three times during elimination play during the summer.
Conroy’s squad won both the Orland Park Sparks tournament and the Boulder Independence Day tournament in 2011. At the Boulder event, the Bandits were the only team from the Midwest in the final eight and were the only team from outside of California in the final eight at the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships, where they finished third.
In addition to success on the field, all 17 seniors from this year’s team have signed with Division I teams and will continue to pursue their education.
The NFCA Travel Ball National Coaching Staff of the year award is presented annually to the top member coaching staff as voted on by the Association’s travel ball membership. (Spy note: Only teams which are member s of NFCA are eligible for this award.)
Former All Conference Campbell Softball Player Amanda Littlejohn, #42, Loses Cancer Battle
LAKE ELSINORE, CA – Former Campbell standout softball player Amanda Littlejohn, who played on the team during the 2007 and the 2008 seasons and also was an active member of the program in each of the last three seasons, lost her battle with cancer Thursday, Sept. 1, one day prior to her 23rd birthday.
Littlejohn, number 42, had been battling various forms of cancers over the last four years. She was the starting catcher for the Camels during the 2007 and 2008 season. In the summer of 2007 she was diagnosed with melanoma. She fought the disease while continuing to play the game of softball during the spring 2008 season, a year in which she had a historic campaign with a .367 batting average, 84 hits, 15 home runs, a school-record 72 RBIs and helped lead Campbell to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years. Her 3-run homer helped catapult the Camels to a 7-6 victory of UNC- Chapel Hill in the Regional. She ended her career with a batting average of .296,131 hits, 27 doubles, 18 home runs (ninth at Campbell), 96 RBIs (10th all-time at CU), a slugging percentage of .483 (eighth all-time at Campbell) and 214 bases.
The cancer was thought to be in remission until November 2008 when Littlejohn got the tragic news that the cancer had returned and a malignant tumor was found in her brain. Littlejohn, a California native, flew back home to fight the disease once again with the support of her family. After surgery to remove the tumors, Littlejohn was cleared by her doctors to play and given a clean bill of health in July 2009. The joy was short-lived though as two more tumors were discovered in September of 2009. Littlejohn underwent radiation treatment back in California that October. In the spring of 2010 she came back to attend school on the Buies Creek campus for the second semester. Littlejohn was thought to be in remission once again and was preparing to play her final two years of softball only to be back fighting the disease again in early December 2010. She again flew back to home to California to fight the disease once again and be with her family. She was able to make a brief weekend appearance on the Campbell campus in the spring of 2011 for CU’s Strikeout Cancer Day which also served as Littlejohn’s own Senior Day. Her conditioning worsened over these last few months and she was admitted to hospice care in July of 2011 and passed away on Sept. 1, 2011.
“Our softball family is greatly saddened with the loss of our dear friend,” head softball coach Drew Peterson explained. “We will deeply miss her, but we will cling to the daily example she set for us to battle, never give up and never make excuses. She was a true warrior and wonderful friend. It is very meaningful and fitting that on the night of her death, her beloved New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2, and the game was saved by her favorite player, #42 Mariano Rivera, of whose number she wore. Also, CU soccer defeated UNC Wilmington 4-2. It was a blessing from the Lord as if to say, Amanda is with me and she is just fine. Having put her faith in Jesus, we know she is in Paradise today.” Littlejohn is survived by her parents Jim and Kim, and brother Alex. A memorial service will be held in her honor on a date following her memorial service in California. Details for this service will come when available.