Player of the Month

Train. Play. Achieve.
October Player of the Month: Livi Carter
Morrisonville High School- Junior
A junior at Morrisonville High School, Bailey Wilkinson is our October Player of the Month. Member of the 16U Hitting Center and starting pitching for Morrisonville High, Bailey has proven to be a force on the mound, which is evidenced by her recent commitment to pitch at Parkland College following graduation in 2019.

“I have had the privilege of working with Bailey for several years, and have seen her mature greatly into a confident leader on an off the mound. She never takes herself too seriously and is so much fun to work with in lessons. Her humor and laughter is contagious and her power, strength and leadership will truly be a great asset to the Parkland softball squad next year! Cannot wait to see her pursue her love of the game at the next level,” said BFA pitching coach Tina Buck-Harth.

A-C Central 4th Grader
September Player of the Month: Livi Carter
A fourth-grader at A-C Central, Livi Carter, is our September Player of the Month! Member of the 10U Chatham Heat competitive team, Livi has shown to be a force on the mound and at the plate this fall, earning her the Buck Fastpitch Player of the Month recognition.

“Livi is such a joy to coach! She never fails to show up to lessons with a smile on her face! I often give her choices between drills and she asks me, ‘Which is more challenging?’ This just shows her determination and competitive drive to bettering her performance. Her maturity and coachability is outstanding! She always asks how my week is and thanks me before leaving lessons. She is a well-rounded kiddo, which is what this sport need more of! Great work and well deserved honor to a great girl! Keep that good attitude and fire, Livi! You’ll go far,” said BFA Hitting Coach Mallory Beck.

“The willpower and determination Livi has to succeed in this sport is second to none. While she is a fierce competitor, she is one of my respectful and hardworking students I have. Her maturity and demeanor on the mound certainly makes her stand out at the 10U level. She understands that failure is part of the game, but never lets failure get her down. Her eagerness and passion for learning this game far exceeds my expectations for an athlete of her age. I look forward to watching Livi grow to become not only a great athlete, but a great leader on and off the field,” said BFA Pitching Coach Tina Buck-Harth.

Pawnee 8th Grader
August Player of the Month: Kaleigh Cobb
Kayleigh Cobb, an eighth grader from Pawnee, and member of the 14U Rochester Pumas, is our August Player of the Month. Nominated by BFA Hitting Coach, Samantha Riss, Kayleigh has demonstrated a strong desire to learn and has made notable improvements throughout this season–earning her our POM recognition.

“Kayleigh always comes into lessons with a smile and is eager to learn. I love the amount of focus that she brings each week. I know that she will always give me her best effort and will ask questions so that she can better understand her swing. She has made great strides as a hitter since she has started lessons and I look forward to continuing to watch her grow as a hitter,” said Samantha Riss.

SHG High School Senior
July Player of the Month: Bailey Morrow
A senior at Sacred Heart Griffin (SHG) and long-time pitching student of Tina Buck, Bailey Morrow is our July Player of the Month. Not only did Bailey help pitch her Black Widows team to a first-place finish at the 16U USA Northern Nationals this past July, but also verbally committed to Quincy University, where she will continue her softball career.

“I have worked with Bailey since she was nine years old, and it has been a true pleasure to watch her grow to be a dominate pitcher and a great leader and person on and off the field. I never doubted that Bailey would one day play at the college level, as her heart and determination for this game is second to none. I look forward to seeing her have a breakout season next spring for SHG and cannot wait to follow her and her college career,” said BFA owner Tina Buck.

Rochester High School Junior
June Player of the Month: Reagan Miles
A junior at Rochester High School and student of Pitching Coach Tina Buck and Hitting Coach Mallory Beck, Reagan Miles is our June Player of the Month!

Reagan was our most successful high school pitcher this year as she went 20-6, with 1 save, 1.86 ERA, 166 strikeouts, 3 no hitters and 2 perfect games in 161 innings. She pitched her Rochester team to a 3rd place finish in State and first Sectional and Super-Sectional wins in school history. She earned Academic All-Conference honors and was named to the All- Conference Team and SJ-R All-Metro Best of Preps Team.

“Watching Reagan fight the heat and battle her heart out during playoffs was one of the proudest moments of my coaching career. As she was awarded the Sectional Championship plaque, it brought tears to my eyes to know how hard she has worked all these years for a moment like that. This girl continues to amaze with me her tenacity on the mound and her constant willingness to learn and improve. She sets an excellent example for our younger students, as she is the epitome of what hard work looks like. Look forward to seeing her take her team even further next spring,” said BFA pitching coach Tina Buck.

Blessed Sacrament 8th Grader
May Player of the Month: Emma Grace Pezold
Emma Grace Pezold, an eighth-grader at Blessed Sacrament, is our May Player of the Month!

“Emma Grace is very determined and hardworking. She is constantly striving to do her best at every lesson. Her power and swing continue to amaze me for her age. She will be very successful in the future and I am excited to hear about her success as she grows. I am pretty sure she already hits harder than me! And as a coach that couldn’t make me more proud,” said BFA hitting instructor Sarah Gray.

New Berlin 8th Grader
April Player of the Month: Katie Long
Katie Long, an eighth grader from New Berlin, is our April Player of the Month.  Hitting student of Samantha Riss, Katie is also a member of the 14U Capitol City Crush.

Katie has matured so much at the plate throughout our lessons. She has a great understanding of her swing and can make adjustments when needed. Katie is not afraid to come into lessons and tell me what she struggled with in the previous games.  She comes to lessons with a smile on her face and she is always ready to work hard. Katie is a perfectionist when it comes to working on drills in the cage. She cannot leave without ending with a hit that she is happy with. I look forward to watching Katie continue to grow as a hitter and can’t wait to see where she goes in the future,” said Coach Riss. 

Glenwood 6th Grader
March Player of the Month: Amber Ehrlich
Amber Ehrlich, a sixth-grader at Glenwood Middle School and member of the 12U Heat, is our March Player of the Month because of her strong willingness to learn, her work ethic and consistent positive attitude. Amber is a hitting student of Mallory Beck and pitching student of Tina Buck.

“Amber’s willing-to-learn and go get ‘em mentality makes teaching her hitting extremely fun! She is always so eager to step into the cages and full of energy! We made some adjustments with Amber’s swing during the first week that I had her for lessons, and she was extremely receptive to learning a different approach! I believe this reflects her coachability and positive attitude, something I truly value in my hitters. Just after three weeks, I see improvement in Amber’s consistency, power, balance, and confidence! We are going to have fun together in the cages in the upcoming weeks to further prepare her for competitive play at the next level,” said BFA Hitting Coach Mallory Beck.

“It is rare I have a student who is as open to learning and trying new things as Amber. Every new pitching technique and drill I ask her to try she tackles it with a consistent positive attitude and drive to succeed at it. Her consistency with her fastball and changeup is second to none. She is truly one of the reasons I love doing what I do. She is a constant reminder of how hard work and dedication will pay off. While she is small, she is mighty, and I believe with her attitude and work ethic she is going to truly surprise people this year on the softball diamond. She certainly has the will and drive to prove people wrong. Can’t wait to see her continue to take her pitching game to the next level,” said BFA Pitching Coach Tina Buck.  

“Amber isn’t the biggest or strongest athlete around, but she’s one of the most determined and focused. She has always loved playing softball. Since starting her training at BFA, she is beginning to truly understand the fundamentals and techniques of the game,” said Amber’s Dad Chris Ehrlich.

Lincoln Magnet 7th Grader
February Player of the Month: Mallory Vespa
Mallory Vespa, a seventh-grader at Lincoln Magnet and member of the 14U Springfield Stars, is our February Player of the Month because of her dedication, work ethic and positive attitude! Mallory is a hitting student of Mallory Beck and pitching student of Tina Buck.

“Mal has been a pleasure to coach and build a relationship with. I began instructing her older sister (Grace) prior to coaching Mal. I’m grateful that Mal hasn’t gotten too upset with me continuously calling her by the wrong name. She is a quiet girl but assertive with her bat. She’s never afraid to speak up and ask questions when she doesn’t understand something. Her progress in becoming a consistent and more powerful hitter is unremarkable. Her work outside of our lessons demonstrates her dedication to improving as a player. Her coachability and positive attitude makes her a joy to instruct, and these attributes are a reflection of what I believe will be a bright future! Keep up the good work, Mal! Good things are yet to come,” said BFA Hitting Coach Mallory Beck.

“Mallory’s work ethic is second to none. She shows up to every lesson with a fire and desire to improve. She is never satisfied with average, and is always striving to be better than she was the week before. It’s hard to ignite a fire in players, but with Mal it was easy. Her passion for the game and pitching is exemplary, and I am so proud to have her as my student and to see her succeed on and off the field. She is certainly a team leader on the mound and I cannot wait to see her pitching career take off this year! Keep shooting for the STARS Mal,” said BFA Pitching Coach Tina Buck.

Chatham-Glenwood Fourth Grader
January Player of the Month: Claire Collins

Claire Collins, a fourth-grader at Chatham Elementary School and member of the 10U Spartan Storm, is our January Player of the Month! Claire is a pitching student of Cheyanne Bowman’s and is also a member and leader of the first graduating class of the Baseball and Softball Education (BASE) Program this past fall.

“I have been so impressed with Claire’s work ethic and motivation on the mound. Her accuracy continues to improve every week and I have high hopes for her this season! Great Job Claire and keep up the hard work, ” said pitching coach Cheyanne Bowman. 

“Claire really stands out as a vocal team leader, as she led team discussions and answered all of my questions during our five weeks of BASE training this fall. She is not just a good athlete, but a remarkable young leader,” said BFA owner Tina Buck.


Ball Chatham Fourth Grader
December Player of the Month: Taryn Griffith

Taryn Griffith, a fourth grader from Ball Chatham Elementary, is our December Player of the Month. Catching/hitting student of Samantha Riss and pitching student of Tina Buck, Taryn is proof that hard work and determination pays off! 

 “Don’t let her size fool you, this girl has power! Her drive to be the best is one of her greatest characteristics. I have never met a player so young who has the heart and the competitiveness that Taryn does. Aside from the hours spent improving her softball skills, Taryn also spends nearly twelve hours a week working out and practicing for her competitive gymnastics team. Her love of the game and her silly personality make lessons with her fly by. She loves to have fun and play games but when it comes to getting the work done she pushes herself to the limit. Watching Taryn grow as a player has been a real pleasure of mine and I can’t wait to see what she will do in her upcoming season, ” said BFA Hitting & Catching Instructor Samantha Riss. 

“While Taryn loves to catch, she has also shown a great interest in pitching. As strong and as determined as she is, Taryn’s potential as a pitcher is limitless! I cannot wait to see her this summer on the mound and behind the plate. I think she will continue to surprise everyone with her strength, power and work ethic. Echoing Sam’s thoughts, Taryn’s competitive drive is second to none and her fire for the game is truly inspiring to her teammates and coaches,” said BFA Pitching Instructor Tina Buck. 

Rochester High School Sophomore
November Player of the Month: Reagan Miles
A sophomore at Rochester High School and student of Pitching Coach Tina Buck and Hitting Coach Mallory Beck, Reagan Miles is our November Player of the Month!

 “I have worked with Reagan for nearly 5 years, and the progress and improvement I have seen her make has been exemplary! She is one of my hardest working students, and has one of the best demeanors I have seen on the mound. She does not allow the fear of failure get the best of her, and continues to strive for better. I truly believe her career is just beginning, and I cannot wait to see where her talent and worth ethic takes her post-high school!” ~BFA Pitching Coach, Tina Buck

“I’ve been Reagan’s hitting coach close to a year now. Her coach-ability and go-getter attitude is second to none. There’s no question she is a gifted athlete. She’s got quick hands and outstanding power at the plate! I’ve challenged her to continue working outside of our lessons to improve her consistency, and her performance in lessons reflects  just that! Her positivity and work ethic makes working with her so enjoyable! I’m confident all of these things will take her far this upcoming school season and beyond! I’m excited to watch her play this spring!” ~BFA Hitting Coach, Mallory Beck

Griggsville-Perry Junior High School
October Player of the Month: Kaeloni Hull

A member of the Griggsville-Perry Junior High team and 12U Midstate Fury, Kaeloni Hull is our October Player of the Month! 

“She is very hardworking, determined, and has one of the best work ethics I have seen. She is more than willing to put in the extra effort outside of lessons to really master the skills of becoming a great hitter. As an instructor you couldn’t ask for a better student,” said BFA Hitting Instructor Sarah Gray.

Congratulations Kaeloni! Keep working hard to achieve her goals!

Pawnee High School Junior
September Player of the Month: Whitney Pascoe
A Junior at Pawnee High School, Whitney Pascoe, is our September Player of the Month! Playing infield for the 18U Mid-Illini Mayhem this summer, Whitney is tearing it up at the plate thanks to the motivation from her hitting instructor Mallory Beck and the work and time Whitney has committed to learning and practicing!

“Whitney is a pleasure to work with! I have the privilege/opportunity to work with her twice a week. Her positive attitude and work ethic is second to none. It is obvious she is passionate about becoming the best hitter she can be. There is no doubt she can hit a softball, but what makes her such a joy to instruct is her drive to succeed, inspiring character, and her outstanding leadership. I’ve never seen Whitney without a smile on her face or show any negative emotion. She is extremely coachable and will push herself outside of her comfort zone to master difficult drills in our lessons. I know she will go far if she continues to show her consistent commitment to this great game,” said hitting coach Mallory Beck.

Congratulations Whitney! We look forward to seeing you extend your career past high school! Keep up the hard work!

Rochester 8th Grader
August Player of the Month: Kelsey Bruno
An 8th Grader at Rochester Middle School, Kelsey Bruno, is our August Player of the Month. Kelsey continues to show her competitiveness and will to succeed on the mound as she leads her Rochester Junior High team with 96 K’s in 53 innings, averaging 12.68 K’s per game, with a 2.25 ERA so far this season.

“Kelsey is a gamer. She has a focus on the mound that is second to none. I have seen her mature and develop into a force of a pitcher, and I cannot be more proud of her progress. She continues to surprise herself and me with what her body is able to do when she sets her mind to it. She is one of my most improved pitchers these past few years and I truly admire her perseverance and tenacity to want to succeed at the highest level.” ~Tina Buck – BFA Owner/Pitching Coach

Congratulations Kelsey! Keep it up!

Glenwood Intermediate 6th Grader
July Player of the Month: Claire Krivanek

A 6th Grader at Glenwood Intermediate School and pitcher for the Chatham Angels, Claire Krivanek is our July Player of the Month! 

BFA pitching coach, Bri Graham nominated Claire for the award because, “She has improved immensely since she started taking lessons. She has increased velocity and is very accurate with her pitches already.  I hear nothing but great things after her games. She always is eager at lessons to learn more and improve.  I can tell from her performance she is working hard outside of our lessons together as well. Claire is always a joy to work with! Keep up the great work!”

BCA Christian Academy 6th Grader
June Player of the Month: Josie Bartels
Josie Bartels, a 6th grader at BCA Christian Academy has been nominated by BFA pitching coach Cheyanne Bowman as the Buck Fastpitch Academy June Player of the Month!

“In my eyes, Josie is one of the best students I have had this month. She came to Buck Fastpitch Academy with little softball experience, but was eager and excited to learn! In less than two months, her consistency in the strike zone has improved tremendously, as well as her ability to locate pitches. It has been great to see her confidence and mental toughness on the mound, aa she goes out and battles every outing. She is working hard to become a better player and the improvements speak for themselves! Great work Josie and keep it up!” ~Cheyanne Bowman

Pleasant Plains 7th Grade
May Player of the Month: Emma Brown
A 7th grader at Pleasant Plains Middle School, and a member of the 12U Capital City Chaos Elite, Emma Brown is a student of Buck Fastpitch Academy hitting instructor Sarah Gray and is the May BFA Player of the Month!

With a batting average of .618 this spring, Emma is proof that hard work and confidence at the plate pays off!

“Emma has impressed me from the very first lesson, and we have continued to find tune her swing! It makes you so proud as a coach to see how excited she gets when her hard work and determination at lessons pay off in successful game at bats! I can’t wait to see her continue to grow as a softball player!”

~Sarah Gray (BFA Hitting Coach)

Pleasant Plains 6th Grader
April Player of the Month: Lacey Boltz
A 6th grader at Pleasant Plains Middle School, and a member of the 12U Springfield Stars, Lacey Boltz is a student of Buck Fastpitch Academy instructor Samantha Riss.

Lacey brings a very hardworking and dedicated attitude to each lesson. She is a shortstop and a third baseman for her competitive softball team and she is sure to give 100% on and off the field. She also plays soccer, basketball, and competes in track and field to keep her busy.

“Lacey was one of my first students through the Buck Fastpitch Academy and I am so proud of how much she has grown since I have met her. She always comes to each lesson with a positive attitude and wants to work hard. She is her toughest critic but knows that she wants to be the best she can. Lacey takes instruction very well and has an open mind when it comes to trying new drills. It has been a pleasure working with Lacey and I look forward to seeing how far she goes in the future.”

~Samantha Riss (BFA Hitting Instructor)

North-Mac 7th Grader
March Player of the Month: Kalli Avera
A 7th grader at North Mac Middle School, and member of the 16U Chatham Heat Thunder, Kalli Avera is a student of Buck Fastpitch Academy instructors Mallory Beck, Tina Buck and Mike Harth. After battling an injury last fall, Kalli came back to the game with vigor and passion for improving all areas of her game, from hitting to pitching to strength, speed and agility. Week in and week out, Kalli brings 100% effort to her lessons and demonstrates her continued commitment to be the best softball player she can be.

In addition to pitching, Kalli also plays outfield, 3rd, 2nd and shortstop. She also runs track in the spring to prepare for her softball summer season. She is truly a team player on and off the field and is an A student in the classroom.

“I have worked with Kalli for over a year and have never met a kid more coachable and committed to the game. As I always say, ‘hard work will always trump talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.’ She will beat people because of her desire to win and to constantly improve her game. It is a joy to work with her every week.” ~Tina Buck (BFA Owner/Pitching Instructor)
“Kalli is such a pleasure working with. Her positive attitude and tremendous work ethic sets her apart and will help her achieve whatever she sets her mind to. From day one, Kalli has been extremely coachable, and the extra work that she puts in during our time apart is extremely noticeable during our half hour together. I feel that she definitely deserves Player of the Month.”  ~Mallory Beck (BFA Hitting Instructor)
“I have seen Kalli grow as an athlete these past few weeks, as she continues to get stronger, faster and more agile. I look forward to seeing her put her new skills and strength to the test on the field this year.” ~Mike Harth (BFA Speed/Strength Training Coach)

SHG Sophomore Pitcher
February Player of the Month: Bailey Morrow
Our first nomination for the month of February is softball pitcher Bailey Morrow, a sophomore at Sacred Heart Griffin High School (SHG). Bailey has been Tina Buck’s pitching student since she was 10 years old, and continues to show her love of the game and dedication to the art of pitching. Attending several college camps this winter, Bailey has put herself on several top college coaches’ radar, as her 58mph+ fastball and command of six pitches (fastball, change up, screw ball, curve ball, rise ball and drop) are dominating at the top competitive level. While she is also a competitive volleyball player, Bailey is just an overall great athlete and student, and we cannot wait to see where she takes her athletic career! Couldn’t ask for a more exemplary student. Bailey is certainly the whole package!
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