Some of the best softball teams in the country will make their way to Bullhead City, Ariz., March 12-14 with the hopes of winning the MaxPreps Tournament of Champions and possibly claiming the No. 1 ranking in the nation.
The annual event, hosted by Mohave High School, is in its 14th year and features many of the top teams from California, Texas, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The winner is usually named the No. 1 high school softball team in the United States.
Defending champion Valencia (Calif.) has dominated the event the past two years. The Vikings didn’t allow a run in winning the tournament in 2007 and they walloped Poly of Riverside 11-3 in last year’s finals.
The Vikings will be without EA National Player of the Year Jessica Spigner, who is now attending the University Of Tennessee. However 11 players are expected to return for coach Donna Lee’s team, which went 29-5-1 last year including an upset of national No. 1 Simi Valley in the Southern Section Division 1 finals.
A total of 42 teams are scheduled to attend the event, including Southern Section Division 2 champion El Modena and Arizona 4A Division 2 winner Greenway. Other outstanding programs that will compete include California teams Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Norco, Riverside Poly and Pacifica, along with Arizona powerhouses Sandra Day O’Connor and St. Mary’s.
The tournament has annually featured some of the nation’s top players. Alicia Hollowell of Fairfield pitched at the TOC before heading to the University of Arizona and pitching for the Wildcats in the College World Series the past two seasons. Erica Beach played in the TOC prior to a four-year career as a pitcher at Arizona State while Natasha Watley and Amanda Freed both made their mark at the TOC before leading UCLA to the College World Series.
Following are the teams expected to appear at this year’s MaxPreps Tournament of Champions: Alta, Beckman, California, Canyon, Centennial, Chaparral, Chino, Chino Hills, Cienega, Clovis, Deer Valley, Desert Edge, Desert Oasis, Durango, El Modena, El Toro, Elkins, Fairfield, Farmington, Foothill, Fountain Valley, Greenway, Ironwood, Kingman, Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Mate Dei, Mission Viejo, Mohave, Mountain Pointe, Norco, Pacifica, Rio Rancho, Riverside Poly, San Juan Hills, Sandra Day O’Connor, Santa Monica, Santa Margarita, Saugus, St. Mary's, Taylorsville, Valencia.