Jessica Remm felt a wave of confidence on her team during the USA Softball Class A 16U National Championships.
“There was this sense about us that we just weren’t going to lose,” said Remm, a Carmel High School senior. “From the first game we played that week, I felt like we all knew we weren’t going to let another team beat us. We all wanted to perform our best for each other above anything else.”
The Shockwaves Rayman 16U won the national championship by beating Minnesota Magic Gold 2-1 July 31 in Sioux Falls, S.D. The team’s record was 9-0 in the national tournament. The Indiana team’s coach is Carmel resident Jeanne Rayman, a 1986 CHS graduate. She is a former Butler University softball player and head coach.
Rayman said the team had great chemistry, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“We hit a rough patch in the middle of our summer, during which we started making uncharacteristic mistakes,” Rayman said. “Those mistakes and having the opportunity to really view what we did in our coverage gave us the wake-up call on what we needed to fix.”
Remm hit .350 with 10 RBIs during the tournament. She was joined by fellow CHS senior Kylie Cunningham, who hit .538 with team-highs of five homers and 12 RBIs in the nine games.
“My swing felt powerful that week,” said Cunningham, who primarily played shortstop. “I led the tournament off with a home run and everything snowballed after that. I didn’t have to try too hard, everything felt natural. My dad and Jeanne also were a big part in keeping me calm that week. I would often call my dad or talk to Jeanne about my previous at bats and how I could make the next one better.”
Cunningham, who has committed to play softball for Belmont University, said the team rebounded from the mid-summer struggles.
“This was a huge factor for us coming back stronger in the final run for the summer,” Cunningham said. “Our coaches focused really hard on getting us to work as a team and having each other’s back.”
Zionsville Community High School senior outfielder Grace Goodman, who has committed to play softball at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, hit .391 with three RBIs during the nine national tournament games.
“Personally, I think the key to our team’s success in the tournament was our love for each other and for the game,” Goodman said. “As my coach said, we did go through a rough patch during part of the summer that would cause a lot of conflict on other teams. However, we are all so close and believe in each other so much that we were able to come back from it to achieve our ultimate goal for the summer. Also, through the rough patch Jeanne never stopped pushing us or believing in us, which was also a huge factor.”
The team was led by a powerful pitcher as Guerin Catholic senior pitcher Izzy Kemp, a Westfield resident, was 7-0 with a .233 earned run average in the nine games.