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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Birmingham Thunderbolts (18U)  were voted the 2022 NFCA Travel Ball National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Monday afternoon.

The Thunderbolts, under the direction of head coach Rocky Thompson, captured the 2022 PGF 18U Premier national championship, held in Irvine, Calif. After a 2-1-1 record in pool play, the Thunderbolts rattled off six victories, including a 2-1 win over NW Bullets in the title game.

Thompson, along with assistants Giselle Juarez, Shane Cahalan, Ted Flannery, Taylor Liguori and Hannah Borden, steered the Thunderbolts to a 32-10-3 mark in Premier play. They won the Show Me the Money title and finished top three at the Top Club Invitational. Under the staff’s tutelage, three players earned 2022 PGF All-America honors and two more generated 2023 PGF Futures All-America recognition.

Birmingham Thunderbolts (18U), a representative of the South Region, was joined by Churchville Lightning (Md.), PA Pennsbury Gems, 14U Texas Glory Naudin and Lady Magic (Calif.) as Travel Ball Regional Coaching Staff of the Year recipients. 

Winners are voted on by Travel Ball member head coaches. Thompson and his staff will be honored at the annual NFCA Awards Brunch, Dec. 10 at the 2022 NFCA Convention in San Antonio.

The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaching awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from webinars to legal counsel, to in-person events and the National Convention

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