By: Jeff Strange

It’s not often that you run across a highly successful team that has maintained a core group of athletes that have been together since a very young age, but that recipe has proven prevalent and productive for Coach Chad Moran’s Beverly Bandits 16u squad.

With a portion of the Bandits athletes coming into the program at the 8 or 9u level, this group has found their way to the PGF finals at both the 10u and 14u levels (covid kept them out of California at the 12u event). Throughout this Beverly Bandits squad’s time together, they have churned out many big victories, while getting the opportunity to play at some great venues.

For Coach Moran, one recent memory that stands out is last summer’s Show Me the Money event in Gainesville, FL.

“This team was very short-handed due to high school ball and injuries,” said Coach Moran. “All toll, these ladies ended up playing four games on the final day, with the championship game being played at the University of Florida softball complex. This was a great event to kick off our season as it was also the first weekend that college coaches could be out. And quite honestly, it’s always fun for the Midwest teams to play in Florida.”

With the 2024 season approaching, we caught up with Coach Moran to get insight and perspective on his 16u Beverly Bandits squad:

Can you give some background information on your coaching staff and coaching styles?

“Our Coaching Staff consists of Chad Moran, Pat Morris, Lauren Sackett (Junior at Indiana State) and Sarah Stone (Junior at Indiana). Coach Chad and Coach Pat have been in Travel ball for over 35 years combined, with the last 11 coaching together without a daughter on their teams (both daughters played at JMU from 2014 through 2017).

As a staff, our main focus is preparing the girls for college. The athletes with the Bandits can be spread out, so we do not have as much time with team practices as others may. Ultimately, we try not to force our hitting styles, pitching styles, etc. on our players. We choose to focus on the things we think they can do to improve their chances at being successful at the next level. For us, we try to coach the little things as much as possible so that they are one step closer to being college ready.

Coach Sackett and Coach Stone are great at helping the girls through all the ups and downs that come with being a high-level student athlete. Both are very good at uplifting our players when needed but also letting them know when something they are not doing will not work at the next level.”

Does your team face any challenges with schedules?

“Having kids from several states is never easy but all of the Bandit families know what they are getting into when they join our program. Most years, our older teams are attending most of the same established tournaments – Show me the Money in FL, the Top Gun Invite in KC, the So Cal invite in California, the IDT in Colorado, the Easton-Rawlings in Chicago and the PGF nationals in California. Along the way, we put together friendlies that we host in the Crown Point, IN area.”

What are your primary goals and objectives for your team?

“Our goals very seldom change; we want to make sure all our players are doing the right things to prepare themselves for college recruiting and to be playing our best ball at the end of the season. At the Bandits, most years you are judged by how high your team finishes at PGF nationals.”

In your opinion, what traits make your organization unique?

“I think the Beverly Bandits are unique because the athletes bring the out the best in one another. The Bandits – like other top clubs across the country – usually have loaded rosters filled with girls going to all different D1 schools. In a lot of cases, some players have a harder time cracking their Bandit team lineup than they do when they get to college. So the competition amongst each other really pushes players to put in the work and get better in their off time.

Years ago, Bill Conroy had to change the name of our friendlies to the Bandits “not so friendly.” The Bandits are all under one umbrella; we don’t franchise, so although we all have each other’s back and help each other as much as we can, we all want to be the best Bandit team.”

Can you give some analysis/perspective on your team for 2024?

“We have a team this year where we have no excuses; we are lucky enough that I do not feel we have any holes on our team that will keep us from competing at a very high rate. We are led by our pitchers:

  • Ava Lorenzatti is one of the top pitchers in the ‘26 class and is drawing interest from top college teams.
  • Thea Staten is new to our squad and is a fast-rising pitcher in the ‘26 class who I think will really help our team.
  • Gianna Hillegonds (‘25 – Bradley commit) is the ultimate change of pace pitcher.
  • Addy Poe (‘25 P/UT coming off a knee injury) is our Swiss Army Knife; she pitches, hits, runs and plays the outfield all at a high level.

The remainder of our roster includes:

  • Ava Ratliff (‘25 South Carolina commit) is definitely in the conversation as the best hitter to ever play for the Bandits.
  • Infielder Kiley Carr (‘25 Michigan commit) is a top left-handed hitter and plays a very solid 3rd base.
  • Addy O’dell (‘25 Louisville commit) plays SS and Catcher and is a top athlete in any sport that she would choose to play.
  • Olivia Fischer (‘26) is a power hitting 3B and 1B who we expect big things out of this summer.
  • Addy Ware (‘26) is a 2B/OF who has great speed from the left side and is really hitting the ball well for us.
  • Sydney Herrmann (‘25 Dartmouth commit) has great size and power and is a great student.
  • Addison Fanter (‘25) is a 1B/OF power hitter who really can swing it for us.
  • Brooke Stang (‘25 Illinois commit) is a hard hitting lefty.
  • Ava Hensley (‘25 Akron commit) is a do it all athlete who can run it and play outfield.
  • Hannah Simko (‘25) has been this team’s leadoff hitter and plays her best when the lights are the brightest.
  • Paige Bodenheimer (‘26) is a fast outfielder who has great bat control.

What are your short-term goals for your team?

“We will be in Top Gun, Crown Point, IDT in Colorado, Easton Rawlings in Chicago and then PGF nationals. Our goals are to finish up recruiting and compete at nationals.”

What are your long-term goals for your team?

“Our 16u teams merge with the 18u teams every year, so this is the last year this group will be fully together. However, the goal is always to produce in college to help younger Bandits down the road.”

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