Season 2 of Athletes Unlimited gets underway on Tuesday with the Week 1 Draft. The four captains making the selections for the teams are Victoria Hayward (Washington/Canada), Cat Osterman (Texas/Team USA), Jessie Warren (Florida State) and Erika Piancastelli (McNeese State/Italy).
The first games are scheduled for this Saturday at the Parkway Bank Sports Complex just northwest of Chicago. Team Hayward will play Team Warren at 1 p.m. and Team Osterman will play Team Piancastelli at 4 p.m.
There will be weekly draft based on the results of each week.
Former Sabino standout Kelsey Harshman returns for her second year after she helped lead Team Canada to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Season 2 is finally here and it’s going to be ultra-competitive,” Harshman said. “With 29 Olympians being invited to play everyone knows everyone that much better, especially after a competitive Olympic Games. It’s exciting to be able to compete with players who were previously opponents. There is so much knowledge to be able to gain and coming off a great summer with the national team makes the opportunity for being drafted in the earlier rounds a higher possibility.”
A newcomer to this professional format is former Sahuaro and University of Arizona pitcher Gina Snyder. Snyder coached the Bradenton Slice to third place finish in the Florida Gulf Coast League this summer and she is a volunteer assistant with North Florida.
“The opportunity to be a part of the second season of Athletes Unlimited has been a blessing to, not only continue competing at a high level, but to surround myself with great company,” Snyder said. “Athletes Unlimited is growing the game of softball in so many ways, they are allowing us to network with each other and learn from one another so that all 60 athletes can inspire young athletes as well as allowing the next generation to see that they can have a career as a professional softball player.
“This summer was my second year with my team, the Bradenton Slice, and just as I expected we had a blast again. It’s a great way for collegiate players to let loose and play with less pressure than on their college teams. We had a great run in the post season but aside from the wins the girls are leaving this summer with confidence and more experience to take into their 2022 season.”
Former Arizona standouts Alyssa Denham, Jessie Harper, Katiyana Mauga, Taylor McQuillin, Dejah Mulipola and Danielle O’Toole will also be important players in the second season of Athletes Unlimited. McQuillin and O’Toole were taken in the first round last year.
Kelsey Harshman, INF: Sabino High School
Alyssa Denham, P: University of Arizona
Jessie Harper, INF: University of Arizona
Katiyana Mauga, INF: University of Arizona
Taylor McQuillin, P: University of Arizona
Dejah Mulipola, C: University of Arizona
Danielle O’Toole, P: University of Arizona
Gina Snyder, P: University of Arizona
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com