Smith, Bahl, Rothrock Named 2019 Travel Players Of The Year
Softball America traveled from coast-to-coast this summer searching for the top talent in 18U, 16U and 14U. After much debate, the first-ever Travel Players of the Year have been decided, and are presented by Wilson.
Paige Smith, Athletics Mercado
Incoming Ole Miss freshman infielder Paige Smith put together a summer that according to Dave Mercado, "no one did what Paige did for our team this year."
Prior to the 2019 high school season, the Norco (CA) senior was ranked No. 18 by SA in the 2019 class.
Smith led the Athletics offensively during the Colorado Fireworks and PGF Nationals. She capped off the summer by driving in the game-winning run in the PGF National Championship against the Georgia Impact. Her .459 average was tops on the team and she also led in hits (17), doubles (5) and runs batted in (17) in 16 games.
Her ability to produce offensively and provide steady defense should get Ole Miss fans fired up for the 2020 season.
"I'm just expecting Paige to be Paige," Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith told Ole Miss Spirit in April. "She is a fun-loving kid who loves to play the game of softball. She is a cage rat. I get videos sent to me all the time from her of her hitting in the cages and her Blast numbers (metrics)... Paige is just a hard-nosed stability type player."
Jordyn Bahl, Nebraska Premier
While most saw her playing with the Iowa Premier in Colorado and PGF, "Jordy" Bahl was in a league of her own through most of the summer. Let the numbers speak for themselves.
In 82 games, she batted .401 with 25 home run. In the circle, she went 41–1 with an earned run average of 0.43. She also struck out 376 in 196 innings. Those are her numbers without two of the biggest tournaments of the year, as those were unavailable to report her stats.
"The character instilled in Jordyn by her family is what makes her so special," said head coach Luke Olson. "She is always trying to better and bring up people around her. Her character combined with her unmatched work ethic and elite athletic ability is what makes her great."
Next summer she will be playing with Nebraska Thunder Gold 18U.
Keagan Rothrock, TN Mojo
Keagan Rothrock sent shock waves through softball when she committed to Florida when she was 12, but the girl can bring it. She led the Tennessee Mojo to a PGF National Championship and her stats were just ridiculous.
In 203 innings, she finished with a 36–1 record and two saves. She only surrendered 15 earned runs on 94 hits and 29 walks. She struck out 363 and had a microscopic 0.52 ERA. She had 77 strikeouts at PGF Nationals alone.
Did we mention she hits, too? She batted .353 with 14 doubles, four home runs and 53 RBIs in 182 plate appearances.
"Keagan is one of the hardest working kids I've ever coached," said head coach Josh Fisher. "She wants to be coached and has the ultimate team-over-me attitude... We played a lot of 18 and 16U this spring where she was effective. She is just an awesome kid to be around and I feel blessed to be her coach and can't wait to continue the journey with her."
Rothrock and the rest of the 14U Mojo team will be making the jump to 16U this fall.