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Softball Journey

Fastpitch Softball help for parents, players & coaches. Greg Cruthers shares his fastpitch softball experiences from travel, recreational, little league, school & varsity softball.

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About Finesse Fastpitch

 
Finesse Softball is now over 25 years young... and continues as one of the premier girls softball programs in Michigan and the Midwest. Our squads will compete in the top tournaments, against the region's best teams. While Finesse has won several National, Regional and State Championships over the years, it is more noteworthy that the program has helped develop hundreds of young ladies into well-rounded individuals, as well as top-flight ball players.

Finesse players are annually the recipients of many college scholarship offers. Our Alumni Page lists many of the athletes who have recently competed at the next level... Visit our website over the course of the season for updates on our teams and to find out where our teams are playing, so you can come out and watch fastpitch at its best! Our Organization includes the full compliment of age levels, 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U GOLD.

Finesse History

Background of Finesse
History behind the Finesse organization starts with Denny Schlimgen. He was the founder of the Finesse Softball in 1986. The organization began as one slowpitch team that he started for his daughter, Shawna. At the time Denny worked for Helene Curtis who helped to sponsor the team, hence the name Finesse. Denny did quite well as the manager of the team which culminated in winning the 1988 NSA Slowpitch World Series. After his daughter’s playing career ended, Denny wanted to continue the program and become less involved in coaching. In 1991, Barry Patterson was named the 18 & Under manager and was given the responsibility, with the help of Denny, to create an entire program of teams to help feed each other. In 1992, a 16 & Under Team was added,in 1993 two teams were added at 12 and 14 & Under, and finally a 13 year old team was added in the 14 & Under age group.

Finesse Converts to Fastpitch
With the 1996 Olympics, the popularity of fastpitch had become increasingly popular. Youth participation in slowpitch began to decline and college and high school coaches in Michigan wanted to see their kids playing fastpitch. It became quite apparent that slowpitch softball was on its way out at the youth level. In 1998, the 12 & Under team and the 18 & Under Team began the conversion to fastpitch while the 14 & Under and 16 & Under teams continued to play slowpitch. Finally in 1999, all teams were converted to fastpitch with rapid success, and a 2nd 14 & Under team was added to consist of mostly 13 year olds. The 1999 year proved successful with state championships won at the 12, 14, & 18 & Under age groups. In 2 years, Finesse is considered one of the top programs in the state of Michigan. In the 2nd full year of fastpitch, Finesse has won 7 State Championships and has had 7 top 10 placings at National Tournaments.

18 & Under Past Accomplishments

  • 2003-2012 Qualified for ASA 18u Gold
  • 2012-2014 Qualified PGF 18u Premier Nationals
  • 2009 Michigan College Exposure Tournament Champions
  • 2013 Compuware College Exposure Champions
  • 2012 Compuware College Exposure Champions
  • 2012 Won Indianapolis PGF National Qualifier
  • 2013 Won Team New Jersey PGF National Qualifier
  • 2007 Ohio Stingrays Invitational Champions
  • 2007 Michigan College Exposure Champions
  • 2006 Michigan College Exposure Champions
  • 2006 Compuware College Exposure Champions
  • 2006 Top 4 at Sparks tournament
  • 2006 State Champions
  • 2007 State Champions
  • 2008 State Champions
  • 2006 Stone City Sharks Invite Champions
  • 2005 Colorado Fireworks Pool Champions
  • 2000 NSA “A” Fastpitch World Series 17th
  • 2000 ASA Compuware Fastpitch Classic Champions
  • 2000 NSA State Fastpitch Championships 2nd
  • 2000 USSSA State Fastpitch Championships 2nd
  • 1997 Louisville NIT Runner Up
  • 1997 USSSA Slowpitch Eastern World Champions
  • 1997 USSSA Slowpitch World Series Runner’s Up
  • 1996 USSSA Slowpitch World Series Champions
  • 1995 NSA Slowpitch World Series Champions
  • 1988 NSA Slowpitch World Series Champions
  • 1999 NSA Fastpitch State Champions
  • 1998 NSA Fastpitch State Championships 3rd
  • 1993, 1995-97 USSSA State Slowpitch Champions
  • 1999 NSA Fastpitch “A” World Series 3-2
  • 1999 USSSA Fastpitch World Series 9th
  • 1998 USSSA Fastpitch World Series 13th
  • 1995 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 5th
  • 1994 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 3rd
  • 1994 Sports Unlimited Champions
  • 1994 NSA Slowpitch World Series 5th
  • 1994 Louisville NIT Champions
  • 1993 Louisville NIT Champions
  • 1993 Spirit of Smyrna Champions
  • 1992 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 4th

16 & Under Past Accomplishments

  • 2011 ASA Firestix College Exposure Champions
  • 2006 Chelsea Bulldog College Exposure Champions
  • 2005 Chelsea Bulldog College Exposure 2nd
  • 2005 ASA State Runner Up
  • 2005 USSSA State Champions
  • 2004 Fastpitch Classic Champions
  • 2004 ASA A Nationals 17th
  • 2003 Chelsea Bulldog College Exposure Champions
  • 2000 NSA “A” Fastpitch World Series 7th
  • 2000 NSA Fastpitch State Champions
  • 2000 USSSA Fastpitch States 4th
  • 2000 ASA Lady Irish Fastpitch Invitational Champions
  • 2000 ASA Silverbullets Fastpitch Shootout 2nd
  • 1999 USSSA Fastpitch World Series 9th
  • 1999 NSA Fastpitch State Championships 4th
  • 1998 NSA Slowpitch World Series 5th
  • 1998 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 11th
  • 1998 USSSA Slowpitch State Champions
  • 1997 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 3rd
  • 1997 USSSA Slowpitch State Champions
  • 1996 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 3rd
  • 1996 USSSA Slowpitch State Champions
  • 1995 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 5th
  • 1995 USSSA Slowpitch State Champions
  • 1994 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 13th
  • 1994 USSSA Slowpitch State Tournament 2nd
  • 1993 USSSA Slowpitch State Champions
  • 1993 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 9th
  • 1992 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 5th
  • 1992 USSSA Slowpitch State Tournament 2nd

14 & Under Past Accomplishments

  • 2010 USSSA PC Pride Tournament Champions
  • 2010 USSSA Bay City Summer Classic Tournament Champions
  • 2010 Motor City Showdown Tournament Champions
  • 2010 NSA State Tournament Runners Up
  • 2010 Pony Nationals Sweet 16
  • 2009 USSSA PC Pride Tournament Champions
  • 2009 Motor City Showdown Tournament Champions
  • 2009 Fastpitch Classic Tournament Champions
  • 2009 NSA National Qualifier Tournament 2nd Place
  • 2007 NSA State Tournament Champions
  • 2007 ASA State Tournament 3rd Place
  • 2007 Great Lakes Showcase 16U Tournament Champions
  • 2007 Ohio Stingrays Invitational Tournament Champions
  • 2007 Fastpitch Classic 16U Tournament Champions
  • 2006 NSA State Tournament 2nd Place
  • 2006 ASA State Tournament Champions
  • 2006 SGS Shootout Tournament Champions
  • 2006 Fastpitch Classic 2nd Place
  • 2005 NSA State Tournament Champions
  • 2005 AFA National Qualifier Tournament Champions (Rockford, IL)
  • 2005 Outlaws Tournament Champions
  • 2004 Valentine’s Day Tournament Champions (Las Vegas, NV)
  • 2004 AFA National Qualifier Tournament Champions (Rockford, IL)
  • 2004 Pre-Season Classic Tournament 2nd Place
  • 2004 Nationwide Fourth of July Tournament Champions
  • 2004 Ohio Stingrays Invitational Tournament Champions
  • 2004 GAPSS Tournament 2nd Place
  • 2004 Fastpitch Classic Tournament Champions
  • 2003 Pony Nationals 9th Place
  • 2002 Fast Nationals Champions
  • 2001 Blaze Champions
  • 2000 USSSA Fastpitch World Series Runner’s Up
  • 2000 NSA “A” Fastpitch World Series 9th
  • 2000 F.A.S.T. Fastpitch Nationals (13’s) 5th
  • 2000 USSSA Fastpitch World Series (13’s) 7th
  • 1999 F.A.S.T. Fastpitch Nationals Runner’s Up
  • 2000 NSA State Champions 2000 NSA State Runner’s Up (13’s)
  • 2000 USSSA State Champions 16 & U 1999 USSSA State Champions
  • 2000 NSA Earlybird Classic (13’s) Runner’s Up
  • 2000 NSA Memorial Fastpitch Classic (13’s) Champions
  • 2000 NSA Can/Am Fastpitch Classic Champions
  • 2000 ASA Sunny Delight Fastpitch Invitational Champions
  • 2000 USSSA Beavercreek 16 & U National Invitational Champions
  • 2000 NSA Firecracker Explosion 16 & U Champions
  • 2000 USSSA Little Caesar’s National Invitational (13’s) Champions
  • 1997 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 3rd 1996 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 5th
  • 1996 NSA Slowpitch World Series 13th
  • 1995 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 18th
  • 1994 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 8th
  • 1999 USSSA Fastpitch State Champions
  • 1999 USSSA Fastpitch Little Caesar’s NIT Champions
  • 1999 NSA Fastpitch Early Bird Champions
  • 1999 NSA Fastpitch Memorial Classic Champions
  • 1999 ASA Fastpitch Silverbullet Shootout 2nd
  • 1999 NSA Fastpitch State Championships 4th
  • 1994-98 USSSA State Slowpitch Champions
  • 1997 USSSA Smoky Baker’s All-American NIT Champs
  • 1996 USSSA Smoky Baker’s All-American NIT Runner’s Up

12 & Under Past Accomplishments

  • 2010 Pony Nationals Champions
  • 2010 USSSA State Tournament Champions
  • 2010 USSSA PC Pride Tournament Champions
  • 2010 NSA Holiday Memorial Tournament Champions
  • 2010 NSA Oakland Edge Spring Fling Tournament Champions
  • 2010 USSSA PC Pride Spring Jubiliee Tournament Champions
  • 2010 NSA Early Bird Tournament Champions
  • 2010 Genesee Fieldhouse Winter Brawl Tournament Champions
  • 2008 USSSA PC Pride Tournament Champions
  • 2000 USSSA Fastpitch World Series 16th
  • 1999 NSA World Series 2-2
  • 1996 USSSA Slowpitch World Series 13th
  • 1999-2000 NSA State Champions
  • 1996 USSSA State Slowpitch Champions
  • 2003 Pony Nationals 3rd Place
  • 2002 Pony Nationals 5th Place
  • 2000 NSA State Champions
  • 2000 NSA Regional Runner’s Up
  • 2000 ASA Silverbullets Shootout Runner’s Up
  • 1999-2000 ASA G.R. Blaze Classic Champions
  • 2000 USSSA Little Caesar’s National Invitational 14 & U 3rd
  • 1999 NSA Memorial Classic Fastpitch Champs
  • 1999 NSA Horton Invitational Fastpitch Champs
  • 1999 NSA Can-Am Fastpitch Games Champions
  • 1999 ASA NWO Lady Irish Firecracker Champions
  • 1999 NSA Summer Slam Fastpitch Champions
  • 1997 USSSA Slowpitch Muncie NIT Champions
  • 1996 USSSA State Champions
  • 1996 USSSA Slowpitch Interlakes Qualifier Champs

11 & Under Past Accomplishments

  • 2010 CanAm Tournament Champions
  • 2010 NSA State Tournament 3rd Place
  • 2010 MidWest All Sanction World Series 5th Place

10 & Under Past Accomplishments

  • 2009 ASA State Champions
  • 2009 USSSA State Champion
  • 2009 ASA Eastern World Series 2nd

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