The North Carroll Hot Shots 16-under C softball team won three tournaments this summer, and placed second in another event.
The North Carroll Hot Shots 16-under C softball team won three tournaments this summer, and placed second in another event. (Courtesy photo)

Chris Heard could tell that his North Carroll Hot Shots 16-under C softball team would be good this year long before they ever played a game.

“We practiced on Sundays throughout the off-season, and they showed it in the gym,” Heard said. “They had chemistry, they liked each other and liked playing together. You could see it.”


Kids want to be on this team. His 14 players come from five high schools throughout Carroll County; one commutes from Damascus, and she had been doing that for three years.

Heard worked the girls hard to prepare them for the season. And when the season began, they were off.

The Hot Shots went 21-4 in 16-under C this year, won three tournaments, and finished second in another. They were a squad that was both deep and talented.

Hailey Warner was the No. 1 pitcher. Abbie Carr was No. 2 when she wasn’t playing third base where she “had phenomenal reactions,” in the words of her coach.

Alyssa Gibson played second and was one of the team’s big cheerleaders and motivators. She formed a good double play tandem with shortstop Victoria Heard.

Rylee Bankert deftly handled the throws from the infield. She also was expert at taking throws from the outfield and relaying to the right base to pick off unwary runners.

Catcher Shelby Davis not only kept people on their toes with her chatter. She was also good at picking off runners and throwing out would be base stealers.

The outfield of Shelby Brown, Jasmine Butler, and Alexis Sims covered the ground and communicated well with each other. Ashley Caine, Gracie Schultz, and Devin Bankert played outfield too. Schultz also caught when needed.

Mary Stroup filled in at first base, and Taylor Nelson, at third. Nelson even pitched in a pinch.

But when it came down to it, most of the girls could play other positions when needed.

“The played where they were needed and didn’t argue,” Heard said. “They supported one another. If one made an error, then others would tell her to shake it off and correct it with her next play, and that’s what they did.

“We had a strong defensive team, and they stepped up and stopped a lot of runs. …We made a lot more double plays than we’d done in the past. They all knew where they were going with the ball. It was very enjoyable to watch.”

On offense, the girls were smart hitters who could spray the ball around.

They not only placed the ball. They smacked it.


A team this good at this many things figured to win a lot of games, and that is what it did this spring and summer.

In late May, they were 4-1 and finished second in the Wins for Warriors tournament in Brooklyn.

North Carroll went 2-0 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to take the Tug of War tourney June 9-10.

The Hot Shots went 4-0 and won the Freedom Invitational tournament June 16-17. They also won it in 2017.

Heard also entered his team in Chambersburg’s Stars and Stripes tournament June 30-July 1. He entered as a 16-under C team but, due to a lack of 18-under teams, the tournament officials combined the two age groups into one 18-under bracket.

No matter — the Hot Shots went 4-1 and won that one too.

The Hot Shots didn’t fare as well when they tried their hand at late-July’s USSSA Eastern National 16-under C championships in Loudoun, Virginia.

“We did well until the championship round. Let’s just say there were some close plays in that one that didn’t go our way,” Heard said.

That misfortune aside, the North Carroll Hot Shots finished fifth of 20 teams in Loudon.

“I told the girls that I was very proud of them and couldn’t be prouder,” Heard said. “I said it wasn’t the coaches who won the games [this year]. It’s you girls. We’re just there to support you and point you in the right direction.”

He plans to add a couple of players next year as USSSA elevates the Hot Shots to the 18-under age bracket.

Judging from what they accomplished this year, it’s safe to say the North Carroll Hot Shots will be ready.