MUSCATINE, Iowa–Late in December 2020, four softball players from the Muscatine Monsters competed at the Winter All American Games in Viera, Florida. Grace Hoopes of Muscatine, C. J. Horstmann of Bennett, and Jersey and Joslynn Ramer of Muscatine all attended the five day long tournament and distinguished themselves in several events.
On the first day of the games, all the players took part in a skills evaluation, both to help them understand their strengths and areas for growth and to determine if they could participate in several special events, including the homerun derby and all star game.
Then, players received team assignments based on their age and the region they play in. Because the Midwest Region did not have enough players to field a full team, Grace played for the 10U South Region team, while C. J. and Jersey, and Joslynn split between two 12 U teams.
Regardless of which team they ended up on, each of the girls played well. Grace’s team won 3rd place overall in their division, while Jersey’s team finished in the 12U division and C.J. and Joslynn’s team came in only a little behind them. Grace and Joslynn also took part in the all star game, and Joslynn also hit in the homerun derby.
In addition to getting to compete against some excellent youth softball players from across the country, the girls also had the opportunity to experience coaching from players on the Pride program. This valuable chance allowed them to gain even more softball skills from some of the most advanced players in the country.
Katie Hoopes, Grace’s mother, a chaperone for the girls, and a team and communications manager for the Monsters, said that each of them did extremely well, especially for their first time at this tournament. “They all played really well,” she said: “Not knowing what to expect and being so young they were a little nervous, but when they met the other girls and coaches, they had a great time. It was a great learning experience.”
Throughout the year, each of the Monsters Teams participates in a variety of tournaments. This year, their fall season players attended several tournaments, with older players traveling to tournaments as far away as Chicago, Wisconsin, and Kansas City, Missouri. In the spring, Hoopes predicts most teams will play in eight to 12 tournaments, with younger players staying local and more advanced players competing across the state and Midwest.