8. ACES FASTPITCH CLUB
Ryan Taylor’s Aces Fastpitch Club had an outstanding 2018-19 season, going 81-14 and winning the Team 1 Elite Club Invitational title and the Boulder IDT championship, which included a win over Athletics-Mercado/Smith, before a 13th-place finish at the PGF 18U Premier Nationals. The Aces return all of their pitching, led by Arkansas-bound 2020 Lauren Howell and Arizona State-committed 2021 RHP Mac Morgan. Howell is a flame-throwing right-hander that clocks in the high 60s with great command of her pitches and a nasty off-speed that keeps hitters guessing. Oklahoma State-bound 2020 MIF/CF Avery Hobson, uncommitted 2021 OF Ashton Maloney, Louisiana Lafayette-bound 2020 1B/RHP Addie Lightner and Missouri-committed 2021 MIF Kinsey Fiedler are the other top returners. Maloney led the team in hitting in 2018-19 with a .452 batting average, Hobson batted .412 with 52 stolen bases as the Aces lead-off hitter, and Lightner hit .412 with a 1.201 OPS. Arkansas-bound 2020 2B/RHP/OF Cally Kildow suffered a bad break during basketball season in 2017, but she battled back, hit .455 this past summer and is expected to play a major role in the heart of the Aces order in 2019-20. Central Arkansas-bound 2020 OF Gabbi Scott batted .419 with a .500 on-base percentage and 35 stole bases in the summer. Drake-bound 2020 C/MIF/OF Makayla Rice is a five-tool player that can play anywhere on the field and Florida State-bound 2020 OF Carson Saabye will also play a big role. The Aces have excellent pitching, team speed and several ways to win offensively, so expect them to be right in the thick of things at all the big national events.