The Second Annual North Florida Softball All-Star Classic was set to take place on Saturday, May 30 at a site to be determined.
But like many other sporting events around the country and the world, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a postponement when schools were shut down on March 12.
There was still hope to play later in the summer, but when the pandemic caused schools to have distance learning only for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, the Girls Softball Classic was officially canceled.
But we still honor the players and coaches for the six girls teams who were selected by the North Florida All-Star Classic panel to participate in the games.
Because of the virus canceling the majority of their season, players were evaluated based on both the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
The six teams that were scheduled to participate in the inaugural Girls Softball Classic were the North, West, East, South, Atlantic, and Central.
The North, coached by Randalyn Rogers Bryant (West Nassau) and Kevin Grupp (Atlantic Coast), features players from both Nassau and Duval counties.
Teammates infielder Madison Dixon (.467, 8 RBI) and catcher Bre Hickox (.333, 3 RBI) represent West Nassau on the North team’ while teammates utility players Kennedy Searcy (.667, 6 RBI), Alyssa Grupp (.667, 9 RBI) and pitcher Sophie Abrams (1-0, 3.97 ERA, 22 strikeouts, 9 walks) represent Atlantic Coast.
Joining them is pitcher Ashley Wiebenga, catcher Brianna Arsenault, infielder Kayleigh Williams and outfielder Aaliyah Monds all from Mandarin and two from Bishop Kenny along with individual players from Bolles, Fletcher, and Hilliard.
Final Four finalist Oakleaf is well represented on the East with catcher Jadrianna Serano, Final Four finalist Oakleaf was well represented on the East with catcher Jadrianno Serano, utility Aspen Windesheim, infielders Jaycie Brookshire (Pensacola State) and Kaylee Lambrecht (NC State) and outfielders Katie Kistler (Florida) and Jaeda McFarland (Maryland).
Retiring Oakleaf head coach Christina Thompson and Creekside coach Neil Luciano, who led the Knights to the 2019 state runner-up, were selected to coach the East.
The Knights were represented by pitcher Mallory Sykes (Flagler), infielder Allison Bratek (JU), and outfielder Devin Hammonds (Tampa).
Defending state champion Trenton is represented with head coach Todd Bryant and infielders Hallie Bryant and Emily Barras on the West. Chris Chronister (Gainesville) was invited to be an assistant coach for the West, while his phenom pitcher Alissa Humphrey (JU) was invited to play as well.
A mixture of players from Madison County, Lafayette, Taylor County, Buchholz, Trenton, Columbia, Williston, and Eastside was selected to play as well for the West.
One of our two newest regions, the Atlantic, is comprised of players from Flagler and Volusia counties. Lindsay Ingram (Deltona) and Kristin D’Aquino (Deland) were selected to coach the inaugural Atlantic team.
A good mixture of players Flagler Palm Coast, Matanzas, Seabreeze, Deltona, Deland, Spruce Creek, Pierson Taylor, and Atlantic make up the East team.
The other new region is Central, which comprises players from Lake, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, and all counties south of Marion.
Jug Holmstead (Nature Coast) and Drew Noe (South Sumter) were invited to coach the Central team. The Sharks had three players invited including pitcher Alyssa Kelly, infielder Jailene Gonzalez, and outfielder Morgan Johnson; while the Raiders were represented by utility player Zoe Riley.
Joining them is a mixture of players from Lake Minneola, Crystal River, Citrus, Seven Rivers, Lecanto, East Ridge, Springfield, and Tavares.
The South, which consists of entirely of Marion County, was to be coached by Gary Greer (Belleview) and William Brewington (West Port).
The Rattlers, off to an 11-0 start, were well represented with pitcher Autumn Oglesby, catcher Jenna Hoth, infielder Lailah Eary, and outfielders Briana Robinson, Hannah Hogan, and PJ Clemons.
County rivals from Lake Weir, Vanguard, Dunnellon, North Marion, Ocala Forest, West Port, and nearby Villages make up the rest of the South.
So that is just some of the talent chosen for the North Florida Softball All-Star Classic. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had other ideas for our area, country, and our world. But congratulations to all the senior players chosen and good luck to them on graduating and in their future endeavors.