I have so many memories from having coached a team that has played against so many great players. I have had the opportunity to compete against some of the all-time great players in the history of this game. Trying to create a list of the all-opponent team was very challenging but it brought back a lot of great memories!
Monica Abbott – Tennessee – While at Tennessee Tech we faced Monica more times than I can remember. She had more no-hitters and strikeouts against us than probably any other team she faced. We got to her exactly one time and, of course, Meghan Rhodes came to the rescue and we still lost to UT. In my opinion the greatest pitcher our game has ever seen!
Jennie Finch -Arizona – Only a freshman when we faced her, we can claim to being the second team that Jennie no-hit during her great career. She was great, but we only saw the beginning of what became an amazing career. I believe Jennie is the person who made our game a household favorite!
Angela Tincher -Virginia Tech – Dominated us for a very painful couple of weeks when we had our very best teams at TTU. I believe is sometimes forgotten in the all-time great discussion because she had limited exposure. Tincher famously no-hit the American Olympic team while pitching at Virginia Tech. Wow!
Danielle Penner – California Pennsylvania – Won two Division II national championships and was a nightmare for our UW-Parkside teams for a couple years. Won more than 50 games — yeah that what I said — more than 50 games in one season. Amazing player who has become a great coach.
Audra Thomas – Kennesaw State – An amazing combination of offense and defense. She was the prototype catcher before we really knew what that looked like. Big, strong, athletic, dominating, and intimidating all rolled into one player.
Colleen Thornburn – Kennesaw State – The rock of the KSU national championship teams is ’94 and ’95. She hit for power and average, played great defense, had a cannon for an arm, and was just a great competitor.
Raven Chavonne – Tennessee – Another great player who will give me nightmares for year! Got to see her too many times! Power and speed personified. One of the great offensive players ever. Played a great third base and was part of keeping Tennessee at the top of the pyramid for her entire career.
Lith Webb – California Pennsylvania – The best defensive player I have ever seen. And a great offensive player to boot. Killed us with both her glove and bat.
Madison Shipman – Tennessee – Great range, cannon for an arm and clutch hitter. another UT player I wish I hadn’t gotten to see a couple dozen times. Still, I got to see her make some plays that I will never forget.
Ashley Robinson – USC Upstate – Great hitter who had a flair for the dramatic. She was clutch and really understood the the finer points of her position. Played the game the right way and was a crucial part of making Upstate a national power.
Lovieanne Jung – Arizona – all American and Olympic standout. Great hitter and amazing defensive player. Only played one game against her, that was more than enough!!
Veronica “Ronnie” Nelson – California – One of the first great, great home run hitters. Played against her back when we played on slow pitch fields with the temporary fences. She hit a bomb that landed over the 300 foot fence. Someone asked me why I chose to pitch to her with first base open, I said ” I’m sure she wanted to hit and I wanted to see if we could get her out”. She only got the one hit…
Caitlyn Lowe – Arizona – All-American and Olympic Gold medalist. Great offensive and defensive player. We only hit one ball hard and she made an ESPN quality catch before ESPN cared about softball.
Jessica Mendoza – Stanford – All-American and Olympian. You knew she was a very special player from the first look. She was the best athlete in any park she played in. She’s an amazing example for young players with all she has accomplished on the field, and in the broadcast booth.
Kellie Krestschman – Alabama – All American, Olympian and greatest professional player in the history of the NPF. Great speed, great hitter and amazing competitor.
That’s a pretty impressive bunch of players to have had the opportunity to see play up close and personal. These are amazing players who are some of the greats of all time. There is another list of great players I wish I had the chance to coach in a game against that would include Lisa Fernandez, Michele Smith, Stacy Nuveman and Joan Joyce.
Maybe in another life!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.
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