A “big mouth” always stands out. We’ve all heard one before.
It’s much better to receive a “Big Mouth.”
One of the cool ideas with the Outlaws East Coast Showdown Fall Showcase this past weekend was each of the four bracket-winning teams received a “Big Mouth” Bownet. An attractive trophy also went to Rock Gold-Gaskill, Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB, Jersey Outlaws Gold-Scott and Central Jersey A’s Gold, but instead of handing out individual trophies, the tournament went with the hitter training nets because they would get put to even better use.
Yup, the “Big Mouth” said a lot.
Mckenzie Yurcaba has been quick to impress her coaches and teammates since joining Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB in August.
Delaware State softball was impressed already.
Yurcaba, a senior right-handed pitcher and outfielder from Audubon High, has verbally committed to join Delaware State’s 2020 recruiting class. Later this fall, she can sign a National Letter of Intent to formalize her decision with the Division I program in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Yurcaba, who plans to major in nursing, throws an assortment of pitches, including a 60 mph fastball, and swings a solid bat. She has helped Audubon win Colonial Conference divisional titles in each of her first three high school seasons.
All 11 of the Outlaws’ Class of 2020 players are committed to college programs next fall.
Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB is putting extra emphasis on versatility in the upcoming season, and it has an ideal new player, Class of 2020 pitcher and outfielder McKenzie Yurcaba, to fulfill a role … or two ... or three … or …
An experienced travel player, Yurcaba is drawing college interest as an excellent student-athlete who is entering her senior year at Audubon High School. She plans to major in nursing.
The right-hander has a 60 mph fastball and keeps batters off-balance with her curve and screwball. An excellent athlete who swims at Audubon, she carries a solid bat and mans the corner outfield, but she’s ready to contribute all of the above and more, which is exactly what the coaching staff seeks in 2019-20.
In Elyssa Bohr, Penn State-Abington softball is getting a pitcher whose best days continue to be ahead of her.
The Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB right-hander has been getting better and better in recent years, and the Penn State-Abington coaches envision even more growth from Bohr, who has verbally committed to the program’s 2020 recruiting class.
The 2019 NJSIAA state tournament was a prime example of Bohr’s talent as she pitched a seventh-seeded Moorestown High squad to the South Jersey Group III championship game. It wasn’t surprising to the Outlaws, however, as they had seen it coming ever since the 5-foot-9 Bohr joined the roster in 2016.
She commands the strike zone with a drop curve and change-up to compliment her low-60s fastball. Few pitchers field the position better as well.
An outstanding student with a 1260 SAT, Bohr plans to study engineering at Penn State-Abington.
With Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB, the 2018-19 season was all about the team. That kind of dynamic has long fueled the success.
Throughout this banner season, though, there also was plenty to celebrate on an individual basis while the majority of players made college commitments.
It wasn’t surprising, either, because the Outlaws remained at a high level, wrapping up the campaign at New England’s Finest on Sunday. They had a 16-4-1 record last fall and a 34-5-4 mark this summer to finish 50-9-5 overall.
Along the way, amid all the top pitching, hitting, defense and thrills, Outlaws players committed to the following colleges:
Class of 2019: outfielder Emma Bachman (Molloy), infielder/outfielder Nicole Cerasi (Ramapo) and pitcher Amanda Gonzalez (Mercer CCC) – and off they go, they’re all grown up!
Class of 2020: infielder Megan Berg (Fairleigh Dickinson), first baseman Alexa Blue (The College of New Jersey), catcher Alex Haley (Susquehanna), outfielder Abbi Markee (USciences), catcher/third baseman Julia Mayernik (The College of New Jersey), pitcher Ashlynne Scardino (Neumann), infielder Madison Sisz (West Chester), infielder Gigi Venizelos (Colgate) and outfielder Abby Zucatti (Gettysburg).
Who’s got next? Well, Class of 2020 pitcher Elyssa Bohr and Class of 2021 pitcher Mia Barone and third baseman/outfielder Alex Walsh, of course. The trio drew significant college interest while contributing to the Outlaws’ banner season.
It stands out that Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB pitcher Ashlynne Scardino often comes out firing when she enters a game.
Then come the curve, screw, drop, rise and, oh, yes, fool-you change-up.
Scardino’s assortment of pitches sure excites the Neuman University coaches, who have been rewarded by her verbal commitment to their 2020 recruiting class. The right-hander is a rising senior at Hammonton High School.
Scardino is true grit on the mound. She’s been an Outlaw since 2015 and was a part of Hammonton’s 2018 South Jersey championship squad. She has pop in her bat when called upon, but her focus is on silencing an opponent’s lineup.
At Neumann, she will join a Division III program that won the inaugural Atlantic East Conference championship and played in the ECAC Tournament in 2019.
Think of an all-around college-bound athlete and it’s easy to think of Virginia “Gigi” Venizelos.
Even better, make that an all-around “student-athlete.”
All of the right factors have come together with the Hun School rising senior and Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB infielder’s verbal commitment to play NCAA Division I softball at Colgate, beginning in the fall of 2020.
Venizelos has a versatile playing style, hitting for both power and a high average while flashing a stellar glove at third base, shortstop or basically anywhere across the diamond. She’s made the Mid-Atlantic Prep League and NJISAA Prep “A” first team as well as the NJ.com All-Prep team in each of her first three seasons at Hun.
Off the field, Venizelos is a member of the National Honor Society, scored 1420 on the SAT and is a MAPL All-Academic selection – all perfect for Colgate and the Patriot League.
That Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB outfielder Abbi Markee will attend the University of the Sciences tells one about her academic merit, but it also reflects her smart playing style.
The rising senior at Millville Memorial High, who has verbally committed to play for USciences’ Division II program beginning in the fall of 2020, knows when and how to win softball games. Whether it’s her slap hitting, skillful base running or powerful arm in the outfield, it’s hard for opponents to counter her.
An Outlaw since 2013, Markee earned NJ.com All-Group IV honors in both her sophomore and junior seasons. She has sub 3-second speed to first base and can play any outfield position, often twisting, turning or diving to make a catch.
Also a standout track and cross country runner at Milville, Markee plans to study pediatrics physical therapy at USciences. She is a member of the National Honor Society.
The College of New Jersey better start budgeting for some extra softballs in its softball program.
What is pitched Alexa Blue’s way doesn’t necessarily remain in the field of play.
The Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB first baseman, and one of the premier home run hitters in the state, will begin slugging for TCNJ in the fall of 2020, having verbally committed to join the standout New Jersey Athletic Conference program. The rising senior at Northern Burlington High School is an excellent student and also plays for the varsity basketball and volleyball teams.
The 6-foot-plus Blue is an intimidating sight to opposing pitchers, often launching their best offerings with towering shots over the outfield fence. She was named Northern Burlington’s offensive player of the year as a freshman in 2017 and has racked up one accolade after another, helping the Greyhounds capture BCSL Liberty Division titles in each of her three seasons.
Blue, part of the Outlaws’ original nucleus, will play alongside longtime teammate Julia Mayernik at TCNJ, which has won two straight regular-season conference titles and played in the last two NCAA Division III tournaments.
That the catcher’s position is a rock for a softball team perfectly describes Julia Mayernik of Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB.
A rock with a solid frame. A rock with a powerful throwing arm. A rock with a booming bat.
The three-year starting catcher and rising senior at Northern Burlington High also is steady as a rock, and that drew the interest of The College of New Jersey softball program, which Mayernik has verbally committed to play for beginning in the fall of 2020.
Mayernik and TCNJ are synonymous, of course, as Julia’s older sister Megan is a three-year starter heading into her senior season with the Lions in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. They’ve won two straight regular-season conference titles and played in the last two NCAA Division III tournaments.
Also an excellent student, Julia is a lock-down defender as a third baseman as well as behind the plate. She earned BCSL All-Liberty Division first-team honors as a junior and played for the Burlington County squad in the recent Carpenter Cup.
Rock on, Jules.
A stolen base. A blast into the right-center field gap. A diving catch at second base.
When Megan Berg does something spectacular for a team, it is immediately followed with, “What doesn’t she do?”
Her mix of speed, power and defense drew widespread interest on the collegiate level, and on Monday the Jersey Outlaws-DB standout verbally committed to play at Division I Fairleigh Dickinson, beginning in the fall of 2020.
A starter in each of her first three years at Northern Burlington High, the 5-foot-7 Berg can be slotted into the lineup anywhere from leadoff to the five hole. She has 2.89-second home-to-first speed.
The 2018 All-South Jersey selection and highly decorated player, surely a future coach like her father Dan, will pursue a degree in hospitality and tourism at FDU. The Knights play in the Northeast Conference.
So much focus in softball is rightfully on the pitcher. It helps make Alex Haley ideally suited to be a catcher.
Haley doesn’t seek the spotlight, just the opportunity to be a big part of the action and contribute to a winning team, two scenarios that have come frequently throughout her career.
One of her future goals is to keep Susquehanna University on a high level. The Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB and Steinert High School catcher has verbally committed to join the River Hawks’ Landmark Conference program in NCAA Division III as part of their 2020 recruiting class.
Haley’s winning style was particularly evident in 2018 when she was the starting catcher for a Steinert squad that ranked No. 1 in New Jersey after it captured the NJSIAA Group III and Tournament of Champion titles.
A gritty, defensively strong catcher with an accurate arm, Haley’s excellent hand-to-eye coordination allows her to hit to all fields. Off the field at Steinert, she currently ranks 15th in a 317-member junior class.
On and off the field, the connection is undeniable – Abby Zucatti is accustomed to a high level of academics and athletics.
The Hun School of Princeton junior and Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB outfielder will continue to have both at Gettysburg College. She has given a verbal commitment – a Gettysburg address, if you will – to play for coach Annette Hunt-Shepherd’s program, the defending Centennial Conference champion, beginning in the fall of 2020. She plans to study economics.
The 5-foot-8 Zucatti is a part of the original nucleus of coach Dan Berg’s Outlaws team, which has enjoyed championship-level success throughout the decade. Featuring power-and-speed athleticism to leg out doubles and patrol the gaps of the outfield, the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Prep League and New Jersey All-Prep first-team selection at Hun will one day be driving pitches toward historic Gettysburg Battlefield, which overlooks Bobby Jones Field on Gettysburg’s picturesque campus.
And they're off.
Not just running, but Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB players are throwing, hitting, pitching, fielding ... achieving.
Before they come together for the summer travel season, here’s where the Outlaws players will be found during the 2019 high school season:
Class of 2019: OF Emma Bachman (Rancocas Valley), INF/OF Nicole Cerasi (Steinert) and P Amanda Gonzalez (Northern Burlington)
Class of 2020: INF Megan Berg (Northern Burlington), 1B Alexa Blue (Northern Burlington), P/1B Elyssa Bohr (Moorestown), C/OF Alex Haley (Steinert), OF Abbi Markee (Millville Memorial), C/INF Julia Mayernik (Northern Burlington), P/OF Ashlynne Scardino (Hammonton), INF Madison Sisz (Northern Burlington), INF Gigi Venizelos (Hun School) and OF Abby Zucatti (Hun School)
Class of 2021: P Mia Barone (Neshaminy) and 3B/OF/C Alex Walsh (Northern Burlington)
The school nickname at Ramapo University is Roadrunners. That alone makes Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB’s Nicole Cerasi an ideal fit with their softball program.
But there’s more to the match.
Cerasi, a member of Steinert High School’s state championship program, has verbally committed to join Ramapo’s strong NCAA Division III program, beginning next fall. She will build on her excellent academics, including a 4.49 weighted grade point average.
The second baseman and outfielder was racing around the softball diamond long before she became a track standout. She’s been certified in 2.69 seconds from home to first. She’s also an elite bunter who can mix in power, and has a strong awareness in handling second base.
As a junior last spring, Cerasi was named to The Trentonian All-CVC first team while Steinert won the NJSIAA Group III and Tournament of Champions titles.
It makes sense Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB outfielder Emma Bachman will major in business at Molloy College.
She’s all business on the softball diamond.
Bachman, a senior at Rancocas Valley High School who carries a 3.41 grade point average, has verbally committed to play at Molloy’s NCAA Division II program, beginning next fall. She will take a versatile playing style out to Long Island, boasting speed as a lefty slap hitter and lock-down outfielder. She’s been clocked from home to first base in a certified 2.8 seconds.
Bachman moved onto the radar of Molloy coaches Susan Cassidy-Lyke and Dayna White during this past travel season. There was a lot to like and it became a quick match after Bachman’s recent visits to the campus. The Lions play in the East Coast Conference.
Madison Sisz considers West Chester University as the perfect fit for her future.
When the Golden Rams coaches plug the Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB standout into their infield in two years, they’ll be using the same words.
Sisz, a junior shortstop at Northern Burlington High School, gave a verbal commitment on Thursday to play for the West Chester’s NCAA Division II program beginning in the fall of 2020. She’s received high honors in high school and plans to study nutrition in college.
Sisz earned a handful of high school honors following her sophomore season last spring, including selections to the All-South Jersey and Trentonian All-Area first teams.
As good as Gold.
The 2018-19 travel softball season brings a new name for Jersey Outlaws Premier, which has become Jersey Outlaws Gold-DB.
The roster and elite schedule remain the same for coach Dan Berg’s team, which continues to be highly successful on the showcase level and attract the attention of many college programs. The fall campaign begins for the Outlaws on Sept. 9 at the Pink Softball Tournament.
If you looked out to center field before the top of the sixth inning began Saturday afternoon, you saw the best hug of the Jersey Outlaws Premier season.
Outfielders Emma Bachman, Abbi Markee and Abby Zucatti knew it would be the team’s final inning of the 2017-18 campaign, so why not acknowledge the great times with a group hug.
The Outlaws ended the game with their second win of the day and third in four games at New England’s Finest Summer Showcase, lifting the season total to 56. Of course, the season’s most impressive number was the college coaches who came out to see the Outlaws during the campaign. It almost seemed countless.
Oh, sure there was an exact number, but it was forgotten along the way as the Outlaws drew as many as 34 coaches to one game and 77 to an individual showcase. Exposure was always one of the bigger goals of the season, and those results outweighed the 56-16-3 record.
A season that annually begins with practice in late August and runs for 11 months – with a wildly successful high school season in the middle this year – had its shares of ups and downs, but both scenarios were embraced because the players always strived for improvement.
Coaches Dan Berg, Brian Sisz, Mark Mayernik, Steve Blue, Joe Cerasi and Robin Blue expanded the roster during the season, adding Class of 2021 prospects Mia Barone and Alex Walsh to the outstanding mix. It made for a bigger and better team, and, yes, one that was even more attractive to college coaches.
Congratulations to all the Outlaws players: Class of 2019, OF Emma Bachman (Rancocas Valley), 2B/OF Nicole Cerasi (Steinert) and P Amanda Gonzalez (Northern Burlington); Class of 2020, INF Megan Berg (Northern Burlington), 1B Alexa Blue (Northern Burlington), P Elyssa Bohr (Moorestown), C Alex Haley (Steinert), OF Abbi Markee (Millville Memorial), C/3B Julia Mayernik (Northern Burlington), P Ashlynne Scardino (Hammonton), INF Madison Sisz (Northern Burlington), INF Gigi Venizelos (Hun School) and OF Abby Zucatti (Hun School); and Class of 2021, P Mia Barone (Neshaminy) and INF/OF Alex Walsh (Northern Burlington).
It’s a good thing the catchers know what Jersey Outlaws Premier pitcher Premier Mia Barone is throwing because the right-hander has so many pitches to rely upon.
In throwing the curve, screw, drop, rise and fastball, it’s easy to see why Barone recently became a welcome addition to the Outlaws’ pitching staff.
A Class of 2021 prospect who is interested in a degree in physical therapy, Barone was a member of Neshaminy High School’s Group 6A state semifinalist squad in Pennsylvania this spring. Her best assets as a player include mental fortitude and resiliency, as she’s able to handle pressure situations.
Beyond pitching, her secondary positions are second base and outfield.
Eight was great.
Jersey Outlaws Premier was finally defeated at the 16U Colorado Sparkler on Sunday, falling 13-10 to Tulsa (Okla.) Eagles Black on the final day of the world's largest youth softball tournament.
The loss ended the Outlaws' run of eight straight wins - half in pool play and half in bracket play. While finishing third out of 120 teams, they beat four teams from California plus one each from Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada.
What happens just outside Denver doesn't necessarily stay outside Denver because the Outlaws will bring back the energy of a strong performance, which will carry into their final three tournaments this month. They have a 21-7-3 record in the summer season and are 46-12-3 overall.
Super Tuesday is usually reserved for February or March in a presidential election year.
Jersey Outlaws Premier has claimed it for next week. An incredible 10 of the 14 Outlaws will be involved in NJSIAA sectional finals on Tuesday.
In Central Jersey Group III, Northern Burlington, with Megan Berg, Alexa Blue, Amanda Gonzalez, Julia Mayernik, Madison Sisz and Alex Walsh, will host Steinert, whose roster includes Nicole Cerasi and Alex Haley. It will be Cerasi’s third straight appearance in the sectional final and Haley’s second in a row.
In South Jersey Group III, Ashlynne Scardino and Hammonton will host Seneca.
In South Jersey Group IV, Abbi Markee and Millville Memorial will take on rival Vineland.
Rancocas Valley, with Emma Bachman, and Moorestown, with Elyssa Bohr, also enjoyed wins during the state tournament, while Gigi Venizelos and Abby Zucatti were key contributors for the Hun School squad that played in the New Jersey Prep “A” state final.
That means every Outlaws player was part of a state tournament win this year.
Maybe Abbi Markee should go out and root on Northern Burlington High this weekend.
OK, Millville High players don’t do that.
Plus, Abbi and her team are in a tournament.
But the Northern Burlington players are continuing an incredible week of reuniting Jersey Outlaws Premier teammates.
The Northern Outlaws are Megan Berg, Alexa Blue, Amanda Gonzalez, Julia Maynerik, Madison Sisz and Alex Walsh.
On Tuesday, Northern faced Hun School and Outlaws Gigi Venizelos and Abby Zucatti. On Thursday, Northern faced Rancocas Valley and Outlaw Emma Bachman. On Friday, Northern faced Moorestown and Outlaw Elyssa Bohr.
This weekend, Northern is in a tournament with Rancocas Valley and Bachman, Steinert and Outlaws Nicole Cerasi and Alex Haley, and Hammonton and Outlaw Ashlynne Scardino.
It’s a week-long schedule that’s only missing Abbi Markee, and surely one that only Outlaws head coach Dan Berg could have created.
Sorry, coach, Abbi wasn’t going to root for Northern Burlington anyway.
If you’ve seen the big smile on Amanda Gonzalez’s face recently, also check out how much Mercer County Community College softball coach Ryan Zegarski is grinning.
Gonzalez, the Jersey Outlaws Premier pitcher, has verbally committed to join the Vikings program in the fall of 2019. “Gonzo,” as she’s affectionately known, is a junior at Northern Burlington Regional High School.
After weighing several different college options, Gonzo gravitated to Zegarski’s outstanding program, which has won 392 games in his 13 seasons, and the chance to study psychology at MCCC. The right-hander is the master of the spin and adept at working the corners of the strike zone.