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Wicked 307 16U wins 2 state championships

Heading into the 2023 season, Wicked 307's 16u players had set one main goal: to win their first state championship, Operations Manager Mike Dorr said.

The Wicked 307 16u team members coached by Operations Manager Mike Dorr and Assistant Coach TJ Shawver. (Mike Dorr)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Heading into the 2023 season, Wicked 307 fastpitch softball’s 16U players had set one main goal: to win their first state championship, Operations Manager Mike Dorr said.

“They had played in a state championship game in 2021 and lost on the last play of the game. 2022 was a year of battling a lot of injuries and misfortune, so going into 2023 it was clear that there was only going to be one goal and anything less would not suffice,” he said. “They sought that elusive first state championship trophy.”

In this year’s six-week season, the team played others across the country in cities like Denver and Oklahoma City, Dorr said. In one tournament, the team of 16- and 15-year-old players played in the 18U division to increase the competition. Since the tournament planned for the week before the state tournament was canceled, the team decided to join the USSSA Colorado State Championships.

“Heading into the early July weekend, the team had won only about half of their games, but this was where the season took its turn,” Dorr said.

The team doubled down on offense and defense, which led them to trounce their opponents 63–18. They went undefeated and won six straight games to win their first state title.

Pitchers Paige Shaffer, Allie Rodgers and Sam Torres each collected two wins in the circle.

“Shaffer’s wins were both no-hitters that led the way to the championship game, where Rodgers would start the game and Torres came in for 2.2 innings of relief to pick up the win and seal the title of USSSA Colorado State Champions,” Dorr said.

Danica Shawver hit .727, with a home run, he said. Torres and Maddie Means each drove in seven runs on the weekend. Lanae Kimbley was hit by pitches four times and stole eight bases.  

Dorr said Wicked 307 practiced twice daily the following week and kept the momentum going into the USA Wyoming State Tournament, which was held July 14–16 in Casper. The team scored 63 runs in the five games they played. They went undefeated on their way to the title. Kimbley battled through a late hip injury to lead the way with a .733 average. She hit three home runs, scored 11 runs and drove in 11 runs.  Shaffer also battled back from an early-season hand injury and made a .643 average, with nine runs driven in and a home run. Reese Dorr had her first home run, hit .588 and led the team with 13 runs driven in. Maliya VanHorn, Shawver, Means and Rodgers all scored home runs as well. Shaffer posted a 1.86 ERA and collected three wins. She pitched the last two games back-to-back to shut down the Oil City Stars to seal the championship, with an 11–9 victory in the final.

“I am so very proud of Paige, and loved that she had this opportunity for success,” Dorr said. “She was set back early in the year and we have had to pull back the reins to keep her from hitting and pitching most of the year, not wanting to re-injure her hand. We knew she was going to be vital to our state tourney success. And boy, was she.”

Dorr said the past weeks have been gratifying for the team, not only because of the back-to-back state championships in two states, but also for the team’s pride.

The team began its program in 2018 with only three girls: Torres, Rodgers and Reese. The team added Kimbley shortly after and kept building.

“We didn’t even win one game that first year, but those four are still here and the heart of what we do,” Dorr said. “I’m so happy for them and happy that they achieved what they set out to do, and never gave up.”

He said he’s happy for each player on the team, who all worked together and have grown greatly in talent on and off the field.

“They could have thought I was crazy when I said we were going to do two-a-days the week prior to state, but instead they grabbed the bull by the horns and just got after it,” he said. “They wore out our batting cages, but the extra hard work really showed results”.

Izzy Carter, Sadie Mason, Madelyn Wipf, Aleigh Carter and Assistant Coach TJ Shawver are also part of the 2023 State Champion team, Dorr said.

“Every game we could have a different key contributor,” he said. “I felt our team really benefited down the stretch by having depth and versatility throughout. It allowed us to utilize different lineups, use players situationally to our advantage, and change positions and batting orders to a strength for each game. Top to bottom, all of our players contributed and that was a huge key to the team success this entire season.”

Wicked 307 16U will begin its newly formed Wicked Fall Travel Series in a few weeks. That series includes a college camp, showcase tournaments and games against college teams from Montana, Colorado and New Mexico.

Dorr said the softball program, which began with one team and now has four, always welcomes new players. To learn more, send a message to their Facebook page or call Owen Kimberling at 559-647-4113.