LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Five high school programs were selected by their peers as a 2022 NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Representing each of the NFCA’s five travel ball regions, these respective coaching staffs – Churchville Lightning 18U (East), PA Pennsbury Gems (North), Birmingham Thunderbolts 18U (South), Texas Glory (Naudin) 14U (South Central) and Lady Magic (West)- are now eligible for the NFCA Travel Ball National Coaching Staff of the Year award, which will be announced on October 3.
To be eligible, the program’s head coach must be a member and nominated. Winners were voted by member head coaches in each of their respective regions.
Regional Winners East – Churchville Lighting 18U (Md.)
Head Coach: Tim Favazza
Assistant Coaches: Joe Stiles, Mike Buher, Chris Barstad, Chelle Barstad
Posted a 53-2 mark over the course of the spring/summer season, winning their final 30 contests… Captured eight of 10 18U Open tournaments and placed second in the other two … Topped the field at the USSSA Maryland State 18U Open Championship, the 18U Open USSSA Eastern Nationals and WFC Nationals … Earned a top-10 power ranking via the USSSA sanctioned body and was the National points leader … Off the field, raised money and volunteered at events for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) … Participated in fundraising activities for cancer, including breast cancer awareness.
North – PA Pennsbury Gems
Head Coach: Nikki Michalowski
Assistant Coach: Gabby Wiley
Coach Michalowski assembled a completely new 18U squad for the 2021-22 travel season … Under the coaching staff’s guidance, the team featured stellar offensive and defensive skills sets, including grooming three Pennsylvania state players of the year … The staff provided high-level instruction, opportunities to empower the student-athletes, developed a team culture in line with the Pennsbury program and promoted each eligible player towards college scholarships that fit their academic pursuits … The program registered a 54-33-4 mark, producing 350 runs scored to 133 runs against, and finished undefeated in three tournaments.
South – Birmingham Thunderbolts (18U) (Ala.)
Head Coach: Rocky Thompson
Assistant Coaches – Giselle Juarez, Shane Cahalan, Ted Flannery, Taylor Liguoiri, Hannah Borden
Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) champions … Finished with a 32-10-4 mark in 18U Premier play … Won the Show Me the Money title and finished top three at the Top Club Invitational .. Under the staff’s tutelage, three players earned 2022 PGF All-America honors and two more 2023 PGF Futures All-America recognition.
South Central – 14U Texas Glory Naudin
Head Coach: Mariah Haygood
Assistant Coaches: Manny Luna, Maia Wark
Earned the honor for the second straight year … Registered a 46-14 mark with a brand-new squad in the fall … Additionally, reset significant portion of the roster for the spring and was able to quickly built cohesion and chemistry resulting is a strong summer showing … Earned multiple top-five finishes, including earning co-championships at the 14U Tulsa Elite Invite and 14U Top Club Nationals … Placed runner-up at the USA NF Fall Shootout and 14u Alliance Cup State 1, while posting third-place finishes five times.
West – Lady Magic (Calif.)
Head Coaches: Ernie and Lindsey Munoz
Assistant Coaches: Larry Asia, Erik Kennedy
Served as the coaching staff for the 18U and 12U Lady Magic programs … The 18U squad went 31-9-1, tying for third at TCS and PGF Nationals and tied for fifth at the Colorado Power Pool … Entire 18U team signed by four-year universities … Steered 12U to a PFG Premier national title and a 83-16-2 overall record.
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaching awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from webinars to legal counsel, to in-person events and the National Convention.