Team Spotlight: Cal Nuggets Woods 16U
By: Chez Sievers
Read the original article here.
Cal Nuggets Woods flew under the radar most of the summer until PGF Premier Nationals where they placed 5th. They stunned the No. 1 ranked Birmingham Thunderbolts to advance in the tournament.
Coach Haley Woods prides herself on being one of the few female coaches in travel ball. Woods played on the original Nuggets and now finds herself in the coaches box instead of the batter’s box. After the Nuggets, she went on to play in college for the Cal Bears and has stayed in the Bay all her life.
She shares her unique history and perspective on the Nuggets organization.
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My dad and Hal started the Nuggets in the 90s and I played on the Nuggets up until my junior year then I went and played for the Cruisers.
Up in Northern California I felt like there wasn’t an organization doing things the right way in the sense of having a core group. That’s why we’re doing this.
As an ex-softball player, we’re giving these girls the opportunity to have a successful travel ball experience and not have to bounce from team to team. We want our girls to feel at home with an organization that you can play in at 12s all the way to 18s and help you find the right college fit. It’s my way of giving back.
What have you taken from your college experience and shared with your current players? It’s been great to take our experiences of travel ball and having played in front of so many college coaches and have my players go through the same experience. They have to prepare to play at the next level whether it’s Division 1, Division 2, or Division 3 it doesn’t matter you still need to set your work ethic, expectations, and transfer that into college.
Just having that first hand experience there’s a respect factor because I did what they’re trying to do. I’ve been there done that. I can give them the support and guidance along the way depending their expectations.
How would you compare your travel ball experience to the experience of your current players? When my dad and Hal started the team, it was just one team it wasn’t an organization. I had the opportunity to play for other coaches. Nothing against my dad but I want these players to play for professional coaches. We have a professional coaching staff mainly of ex-ball players. That piece is really important to me.
The family piece is also an important piece to me. We have role players on our team. Instead of cutting players, we try to keep a tight nit group. If you can come in at 12s and stay all the way through 18s, it’s an experience that is really unique and it’s not something that I’m seeing a lot around the country.
What’s been your experience working with travel ball parents? I get asked that question a lot. I think the more up front and transparent you can be in the beginning as for as your expectations of them the fewer problems you have.
What does the Nuggets organization mean to you? It’s become my life. I live, eat, breathe, sleep the Nuggets. It’s so fun getting these girls young and watching them grow up and sending them off to college. It’s been really cool and it’s been something I really enjoy.
Once your players go off to college, what do you hope they take away from your program? I think the biggest thing we stress is who you are as a person. It’s been fun to get feedback from our first Nuggets class that go off college and coaches are saying, “Haley I want more of your kids. You have the greatest kids.” And it’s because they’re good people. They’re hard workers. If they can make it in my system, they can make it in anybody’s system because our expectations of them are really high. It’s no different then what they’re going to get at the college level.
It’s important to me that they’re strong women ready to work and compete in college and in the work world.
Meet Cal Nuggets Woods
#6 Kaylin Stewart (2018, uncommitted) OF
Stewart played mostly left field during the summer but will likely make the transition into center field. She will likely hit in the middle of the order.
#8 Sona Halajian (2019, Cal) P
She’s been clocked consistently at 68mph. She’s working on gaining better command. She throws a heavy ball. You can find her hitting in the cleanup spot. Not only can she throw gas, she can also swing the bat.
#10 Lauren Innerst (2018, uncommitted) P
Coach Woods without hesitation said, “She’s one of the fiercest competitors I have ever coached. I can put her in the game in any situation and she will pitch her way through it.” She threw in every game at PGF, and did not lose a game this summer until the Championship of the winners A bracket at PGF where she came in relief. Lauren was 24-1 this summer, facing many of the top teams in the country. She is no stranger to pitching the big games, as she pitched every inning of every game for Nuggets 14u that won the PGF Platinum National Title in 2015. This kid is flying under the radar and whichever school steps up on her is going to win A LOT of games!!
#12 Bridget Nasir (2018, uncommitted) SS/3B
Nasir has flown under the radar. She has been the Nuggets everyday shortstop for the last two seasons. She brings tremendous range to short, second, and third base.
#16 Dominique Monteon (2019, North Carolina Verbal) 2B/OF
You can find Monteon hitting in the two hole because of the strength of her offense. On defense, she will split time between outfield and second base.
#19 Lacey Sandoval (2018, San Jose State Verbal) UTL
Sandoval is new to the team.
#24 Adrianna Noriega (2019, uncommitted) 2B/OF
Noriega has an electric bat and can fly. She has exceptional range at second base.
#25 Amanda Lovell (2018, uncommitted) C
Lovell is new to the team and is making a case to be the Nuggets starting catcher. She will likely hit in the middle of the order.
#32 Ally Nodohara (2018, uncommitted) UTL
She is definitely a starter but her position will depend on rotations on defense. Nodohara is a true power lefty. She is the anchor behind the dish, can play first base, and outfield and is our lead-off hitter.
#34 Bri Avalos (2018, uncommitted) 1B
Avalos brings pop to the order and will see a lot of time at first base.
#35 Lauren Kong (2018, uncommitted) 3B/OF
Kong is a strong academic who is a solid role player for the Nuggets.
#43 Mailey Mclemore (2018, UCSB Verbal) P
Mclemore wants the ball and keeps the ball in the infield. She is a hard throwing drop ball pitcher with a fantastic change and is a fierce hitter at the plate.
#55 Toni Martinez (2018, Cal State Monterey Bay Verbal) OF
Martinez played mostly right field this summer and batted in the nine spot. Woods expects her to make bigger contributions on offense and to move up in the order.
Fall 2016 Schedule:
9/31-10/2: PGF Ultimate Challenge
10/7 – 10/9: Sorcerer Phill Mumma Inaugural Memorial Showcase Invitational
10/14-10/16: PGF Shootout
10/28-10/30: D9 Sun Classic Fall Showcase
11/18-11/20: PGF Early Thanksgiving Showcase