OKLAHOMA CITY –– USA Softball is excited to announce that the 2021 USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) Cup will be held in Columbus, GA. June 19-25. The 14-Under division will kick off the tournament at Idle Hour Sports Complex before joining the 16-Under and 18-Under divisions at South Commons Complex, where a 2021 Junior Olympic Champion will be crowned in their respective age divisions.
A recipient of the 2019 Complex of the year, presented by Stabilizer Solutions, South Commons is most notably known for hosting the historic 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games for the sport of softball, where the Red, White and Blue claimed the first-ever Olympic Gold medal.
“The Sports Council of Columbus, Georgia is elated to host the 2021 USA Softball Junior Olympic Cup,” said Columbus, GA Sports Council Executive Director, Merri Sherman. South Commons Softball Complex has seen some of the best in the world compete and we look forward to continuing that legacy when the JO teams take the fields. Players and fans will enjoy the many restaurants and amenities our vibrant city has to offer. To everyone involved—players, coaches, support staff and fans—I offer the sincere hospitality for which our city has become so well known.”
Created in 2015, the USA Softball JO Cup serves as an opportunity for evaluation by the USA Softball coaching staff and the Women’s National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC). The inaugural USA Softball JO Cup included a total of 32 teams competing in the 18-Under division and has since grown to include a 16-Under division the past five years (2016-2020) and 14-Under division the past three years (2018-2020).
“I am really excited to have our top Michigan Finesse teams participating in the 2021 USA Softball JO Cup,” said Michigan Finesse Head Coach, Donny Dreher. “Ninety-six teams over three age groups at one great complex. It’s the perfect format for players and college coaches.”
The 2021 JO Cup will include a total of 96 teams across the 14-Under, 16-Under and 18-Under divisions. It will feature a five-game guarantee with three pool play games and a double-elimination bracket into a single Championship Game per division. A blind draw will be conducted for bracket play with protection given to the first and second-place finishers from the 2020 USA Softball JO Cup.
“The 2020 JO Cup for us was an amazing experience,” said Lady Lightning Gold DPS Corn Head Coach, John Corn. “From the fields, to the staff, to the umpires, everything was done professionally. We really appreciate the opportunity to play and look forward to returning in 2021.”
A host to a variety of events through the years, including the 2019 USA Softball International Cup, South Commons Complex is a premier park containing eight softball fields, which includes a five-field hub with a roundhouse and a three-field fan with a stadium, indoor score booth, concessions and restrooms. After undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, the South Commons softball facilities are unparalleled in the region. The renovations included new LED lighting, new scoreboards, field drainage systems, stadium seats, fencing, renovated restrooms and concessions, paint, sidewalks, ADA compliant ramps, netting, Wi-Fi and internet access, updated umpire rooms, press box and skyboxes.
"Bringing this prestigious event to the site of the first Olympic Softball competition back in 1996 is exciting news for USA Softball of Georgia,” said USA Softball of Georgia JO Commissioner, Ernie Yarbrough. “In addition to being the venue for previous international competition, Columbus is the host city for our high school state championships and many NCAA invitational events. The Columbus Sports Council, Columbus Parks & Recreation, and the Columbus City Government do a terrific job of hosting events of this magnitude."
JO CUP HISTORY
In the most recent edition of the USA Softball JO Cup, TN Mojo 2024 – Ross (14U) and TN Mojo (16U) represented the TN Mojo organization in claiming their respective JO Cup trophies while LLG DPS Corn (18U) won their first USA Softball JO Cup title in the 18-Under division. The 2019 JO Cup saw Hotshots Platinum (14U) and TN Mojo (16U) limit their opponents to just two runs to claim their respective JO Cup trophies while TN Fury (18U) edged out a one-run nail biter to emerge as the winner. In 2018, Fury Platinum (14U), Panthers (16U) and St. Louis Chaos (18U) took home their respective JO Cup titles, with all games decided by two runs or less. USA Softball crowned a pair of champions at the 2017 Junior Olympic (JO) Cup following two close Championship Games. The Louisville Lady Sluggers captured the 18-Under title defeating the Williamsburg Starz, 3-0, while Michigan Finesse took home the 16-Under title in walk-off fashion, 3-2, against the Gametime Stars. In 2016, the Atlanta Vipers were able to capture the inaugural 16-under Championship with a 7-0 win over Victory USA, while a late-inning rally helped the East Cobb Bullets – Schnute nab a 6-2 win over the Gold Coast Hurricanes for the 18-Under title. In 2015, the Wichita Mustangs nabbed the inaugural title after defeating the East Cobb Bullets 4-0 in the Championship Game.