Florida PGF's Show Me The Money showcase wraps up from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium
To cap off the unmatched experience that Florida Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) provided to teams in its Show Me The Money showcase, all three division's championship games were played on the dirt of Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on the University of Florida's campus on Sunday.
"Tim Walton has been gracious enough to allow us to come out and rent his facility for the weekend," Florida PGF director Bill Hoopes said. "And give these kids an opportunity to look at their parents from an SEC field."
On top of the teams getting the experience of being in the Gators' dugouts, they also got to experience the taste of what Florida's softball team went through in the postseason — rain delays.
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As scattered showers doused Gainesville, Sunday's trio of title games were pushed back, but ultimately all were played as a $10,000 check was on the line for each winning team.
According to Hoopes, $37,500 was given away as prize money for first-, second- and third-place teams from each division.
On Sunday, it was the Birmingham Thunderbolts who won the 18U championship, Mojo-Lunsford who won the 16U title and the Beverly Bandits Premier-Moran collecting the 14U crown.
While the matchups in the 18U and 14U divisions didn't disappoint, many anxiously awaited the 16U affair, which featured two rosters slammed with Division I talent. In the two teams' third meeting of the weekend, Georgia's Mojo-Lunsford avenged its prior two losses and knocked of Virginia Unity-Johnson/Ross in a 4-0 win.
Here's a quick look at the highlights.
'Ace in the hole' Haley Ferguson stifles Unity
Though Unity had seen Mojo-Lunsford twice already, there was one piece of the team Mojo kept hidden: Haley Ferguson.
Ferguson, who hails from Beavercreek High School in Ohio and was ranked 13th in Extra Innings' 2024 Extra Elite 100, hurled a complete-game shutout against Unity, giving up four hits and striking out seven.
"We saved one pitcher that we never showed to them," said Mojo-Lunsford head coach Mike Lunsford. "Just sorta our ace in the hole."
Ferguson is currently uncommitted.
Virginia Tech commit Maci Masters leads Mojo offense
Mojo-Lunsford's Maci Masters, who is committed to play for Virginia Tech, certainly didn't get the start she wanted against Unity in the championship game.
In her first at-bat, Masters was struck out by Jayden Heavener, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2024. Heavener would go on to pitch through 6.0 innings, tally seven strikeouts and give up five hits — two came off the bat of Masters.
In the top of the fourth, Masters barreled up a 1-1 offering from Heavener and sent it beyond the centerfield wall, giving Mojo-Lunsford a 1-0 lead.
"Maci is the Tennessee High School home run record-holder," Lunsford said of Masters, who plays for Boone High School in Gray, Tenn. "She hit 25. That's what she does for us every year."
A single in Masters' next at-bat would add a run, giving Mojo-Lunsford a 2-0 lead and Masters her second RBI of the afternoon.
Show Me The Money draws praise
Lunsford was quick to offer his compliments toward Jason Gusaeff and Hoopes, who were responsible for the Show Me The Money showcase, which started Thursday at Newberry's Champions Park.
"It's a well-run tournament," Lunsford said. "Jason Gusaeff puts on some of the best tournaments in the Southeast. He is personally responsible for thousands of kids getting where they're going just by the tournaments that he hosts bringing the best against the best."
This year's edition of the showcase drew 106 travel ball softball teams from around the country and more than 60 college coaches from all divisions.
While each team that participated in the tournament likely left pleased knowing that its players were exposed to some of the top college coaches in the country, Mojo-Lunsford and the other teams that left with some cash in their pocket are really feeling thankful.
According to Lunsford, his team has been wanting new uniforms — orange with pinstripes, to be specific. The money from Show Me The Money might be used to fund that, as well as a charter bus to nationals later in the summer.