As we near the start of the 2020 USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) Cup, we're highlighting some of the teams who will take the fields in Spartanburg, S.C.
Meet Pennsylvania Xtreme 16U National, a team based out of Collegeville, Pennsylvania competing in the 16-Under division. Head Coach Micheal Lester breaks down what you can expect to see from his team.
Team: Pennsylvania Xtreme 16U National
Hometown: Collegeville, Pennsylvania
Head Coach: Michael Lester
Previous JO Cup Experience: First-time JO Cup Participant
How long has the team been together:
- Three players of the team are new this season.
- Two players joined the team in 2018/2019 season.
- Two players joined the team in the 2017/2018 season.
- One player joined the team in 2016/2017 season.
- The remaining 5 players were with the team when it started at 10U in 2013/2014.
Noteworthy events and recent tournaments:
- TCS Virginia Beach Showcase (November 2019)
- Team NJ Fall Showcase (October 2019)
- PA Softball’s Memorial Day Madness 14U – 2nd Place Gold Bracket out of 45 Teams (May 2019)
- NJ/PA PGF National Qualifier 14U – Premier Berth Winner (June 2019)
- Colorado Sparklers Juniors – 17th Place Out of 120+ Teams (July 2019)
- Nightmare Classic 16U – 3rd Place Overall (July 2019)
- TCS Summer Nationals 14U – 25th Place (July 2019)
- 2017 USSSA Eastern PA 12U Class B State Champions
- 2017 USSSA Nationals Orlando, FL Class B – 3rd Place
Returning players from 2019: 10
What are some of the strengths of your team: "The strengths of our team are built upon the years that the core part of the team has been together and their trust in each other. We have also brought in players that compliment this core group in their passion for the game and belief in their teammates. On this team we take pride in our team defense, and excelling in both the power and small game on offense."
What is a primary focus your team has as you prepare for the 2020 JO Cup: "As a team, we are focused on playing a highly competitive 2020 Summer schedule that is challenging to our players in building up to the 2020 JO Cup, to work on evolving their games, but most importantly encouraging them to continue to have fun with and enjoy the game softball."
What are some of the benefits of playing with USA Softball and at the JO Cup: "When we told our players that we received an invitation to the 2020 Jo Cup and asked them if they were up to the challenge, they all responded that they will only be better as a team by playing against other great teams. Their responses are beneficial not only to them individually as players but provides additional trust in themselves as a team."