The New Year has come and the USA Softball Jr. National Team Tryout has gone, completed Tuesday morning as the 42 participants wrapped up their stay in Clearwater, Florida.
Wednesday morning the final 20 who will make the team for 2019 will be announced.
Later in the year, the Jr. Women’s National Team (JWNT) will be pared to 17 to compete in the WSBC Junior Women’s World Championship in Irvine, California from August 11-17.
We spoke to several of the participants on how they felt this week’s Jr. National Team tryouts went; below are their comments…
Megan Faraimo has been ranked as the #1 player the Class of 2018 by Extra Inning Softball, won Gatorade National Player of the Year and Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-American honors and is a freshman at UCLA. Gatorade National Player of the Year and Extra Inning Softball 1st Team All-American honors and is a freshman at UCLA.
After this weekend, she also earned the respect of all her peers after pitching impressively in Clearwater.
Said Megan before flying back to Southern California today: “Being at the tryout was an honor and I hope to fulfill my aspirations of representing my country through USA Softball. In terms of the work leading up to this point, there were definitely sacrifices, sweat, pain and sometimes frustration- but it was all for the game that I love, so it was worth it.”
Megan says she tried to take to heart the advice given by Head Coach Heather Tarr before the players took the field.
“The tryouts started off with Coach Tarr reminding us to have fun and enjoy the moment, so that’s what I tried to do,” the UCLA pitcher explained. “I felt so honored and blessed to compete and play with some of the best players and coaches in the nation. It was a competitive atmosphere, and I knew I needed my A-game every time I stepped into the circle.
Another pitcher who drew raves this week was Montana Fouts, the freshman hurler at Alabama who some said was hitting in the low 70’s.
Whatever the gun said, she was throwing heat and some of the top hitters saw they couldn’t touch her speed. She reportedly had double-digit strikeouts the first day she pitched and probably gave up just a half dozen hits during the entire tryout.
“This weekend was so fun, getting to meet a lot of new friends is something I’ll never forget! It was such an honor playing on the field with all the talent there and playing with all the competitive athletes.”
“Just having the chance to be around great coaches all weekend was a lot of fun too. I think it was really cool how we all meshed together so we’ll never playing with each other, and we had a lot of fun on and off the field for the first time meeting each other!
“I thought everyone had a great weekend I think every defensive and offensive player there was amazing and I’d love to play with all of them! It was great talking to other pitchers and just picking their brains on how they think and throw pitches and how batters think hitting too.”
I had a lot of fun this weekend, but you can never be satisfied! But I want to say thanks to all the coaches and players and everyone who made that weekend possible, it’s something I’ll never forget!”
Kassidy Krupit, the freshman infielder at Baylor, had a strong tryout according to many scouts we spoke with as she went 5-for-11 at the plate including a home run to center field.
Kassidy said after the games wrapped up on Monday, “I think I did well hitting off the best pitching in the country.”
“I’m not only proud of myself for getting invited, but I am proud of myself for putting everything out there on the field and giving my all.”
The Georgia native, who had a strong fall for the Bears and looks to be a starter on the left side of the field, played third and second during the tryout.
Asked what it was like to play on a field “auditioning” to compete in Team USA colors, Kassidy added: “I was very excited and also nervous just because it’s a big stage to play on. I honestly just felt like all of my hard work has paid off tremendously!”
Pitcher/infielder Sydney Supple, a 2019 grad who signed in November 2019, also agree that it was an exhilarating experience playing in a jersey representing her country.
“These last three days have been ones I’ll never forget being able to wear USA across my chest and play alongside and compete against the best of the best!”
Said one on-looker: “(Sydney) did everything she could to make the team, she left it all on the field at the end of the day.”
One top hitter said the future Wildcat pitched “really well the second day and struck out a lot (of batters) because of her change in speeds.”
Kelli Godin, the speedy outfielder from Seal Beach, California and a freshman at UCLA, had to go through the Open Tryout last week to be invited to the JWNT Invite Tryout, but she showed why she was considered one of the top players in the 2018 class.
Adept at putting the ball on the ground and then beating it out with her big-time track speed, Kelli admitted she had some butterflies leading up to the Open Tryout.
“It was a fun and exciting experience being able to play with the top players in the country,” she said today. “I was pretty nervous in the days leading up to the tryout but once I got on the field with all the girls, my nerves went away. It was a very competitive environment and, overall, I think everyone did well.
Jayda Coleman, the Extra Elite 100 top-ranked players in the 2020 class, believed she started slow but those who watched thought she showed her skills more and more as the tryout went out.
The smooth-fielding infielder committed to Oklahoma said candidly about her own performance: “It was a little nerve racking at first but when I was able to get out of my head and relax, I started to have a good time and play better.”
Knowing that more than half the attendees won’t make it, Jayda admits she’d be bummed, but looks on the bright side too.
“I know it’s an honor to just be invited, but I would be disappointed in myself. The only good side of not making the team is going back to Texas Glory to play alongside my best friends and spending my summer traveling with them again.”
The pitching appeared to dominate early and one of those that shined was Lexi Kilfoyl, the state-title winning hurler/hitter from Florida.
In a rotation where the pitchers would face four batters each “half inning,” and would pick up where they left off until they pitched through the entire line-up, the 2019 grad who signed with Alabama faced approximately three dozen hitters and struck out 17 while only giving up four hits and one unearned run.
Not surprisingly, she was happy with her Jr. National Team tryout.
“I felt very strong about my performance,” she said. “I kind of kept count in my head how many hits and walks I had given up and they were very low. It definitely was both enjoyable and nerve racking at the same time!”
“It was nerve racking in the sense that I wasn’t sure of how I was going to throw because I didn’t know many of the hitters well, but at the same time it was also enjoyable because I got to meet lots of new people from everywhere in the United States.”
Extra Feedback: Extra Inning Softball’s List of Who Impressed the Players