On Friday, Aug. 5, two Carmel Valley athletes, Nicole Kim (sophomore, Francis Parker) and Madigan Wade (sophomore, Canyon Crest Academy), playing on the 14U TNL-Worley travel softball team, placed third in the 2016 Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) 14U Platinum National Championship at Bill Barber Park’s Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine, Calif. Team Worley fell one win short of qualifying for the PGF National Tournament back in May, and was invited to compete in the national tournament in the weeks prior to replace a qualifying team who dropped out due to injuries. With little time to prepare, down to 10 active players and only 1 pitcher, Team Worley shocked the competition completing the week with a 7-2 record in bracket play at this nationally-acclaimed tournament.
On the way to the semi-final game, Team Worley fought their way past the top teams from Missouri, Kansas, Oregon, and Orange County. Scoreless until the last inning in the semi-finals, TNL Worley surrender two unanswered runs to the NorCal Grapettes (Stockton, Calif.) who went onto a 2-0 victory over the Birmingham Thunderbolts (Helena, Ala.).
Best friends Niki and Madi are lifelong residents of Torrey Hills/Carmel Valley and have played together on the same softball team for the last eight years. Both are North Shore Girls Softball League (NSGSL) alum, playing for six years from 2008 – 2014, the last four as NSGSL All Stars playing at both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) state and national levels. This is the girls’ second year of travel ball under Head Coach Dan Worley, who coached Rancho Bueno Vista High School to the 2016 San Diego CIF Division 1 Softball Championship.
Two other Carmel Valley residents and former NSGSL softball players, Sara Rusconi Vicinanza (sophomore, Cathedral Catholic) and Haley White (sophomore, Torrey Pines), also competed in the PGF 14U National Championship in the Premier Division held the same week.
As freshmen during the 2016 high school season, all four of these former NSGSL players were starting players on the varsity teams of their respective high schools. With the announcement of softball and baseball added to the 2020 Olympic program following IOC approval on Aug. 3, perhaps the future will see these ladies on the field together in Tokyo.