When you’re fielding a team representing the nation and your one club team, which won the PGF 18U Nationals this year, has 19% of all the players trying out… well, that has to make you pretty proud.
Such was the case over the weekend in Clearwater, Florida as Patrick Lewis’ title-winning Impact squad had eight of the 42 players vying for a spot on the USA Softball Jr. Women’s Nation Team (JWNT).
Wednesday morning the Jr. National team of 20 will be announced which ultimately will be reduced to 17 to compete in the WSBC Junior Women’s World Championship held in Irvine, California from August 11-17.
It's an impressive accomplishment for Lewis and the Georgia Impact organization.
“Anytime you can have a player invited to try out for the National Team is a great honor,” the championship coach began. “We were fortunate to have two players on the Junior National Team two years ago with Hannah Adams and Julia Cottrill and we were certainly proud of them and what they were able to accomplish.”
“This time around--to have eight players from our team out of the 42 players that participated in the selection process for the Junior National team--is again an amazing honor and I think it shows the type of people and players that were are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to coach. I also think it speaks highly of the job that our coaching staff does in helping these players accomplish the goals that they have and getting them ready to compete against the best in the country.”
Here’s what each of the eight attendees to the Jr. National tryout had to say about the experience:
“Trying out for the USA Junior National Team was an experience that I will forever benefit from. Being able to meet new people along the way and bonding with future teammates is something that made the process a lot more fun and enjoyable. It was such an honor!”
--- SS/3B Raigan Barrett (2020, Washington)
“It was a great opportunity to be chosen to try out for the USA Junior National team and it was always a great experience to play with some of the greatest players in the USA.”
--- MIF Riley Blampied (2020, Alabama)
“I’m so excited I got the chance to go through this process with my friends and make new friends along the way! It was such an honor getting the chance to represent the USA doing what I love against the best in the country!”
--- C Julia Cottrill (2019, Oklahoma)
“It was a great experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else… it was such a honor to be a part of it!”
--- 3B Charla Echols (freshman, Michigan State)
“The experience was a super humbling and eye-opening experience. Competing against some of the best girls in the country makes me compete to my highest level. It can bring out the best in me or, at times, the worst. It was a mental test in a way for me to grow mentally and accepting things that I haven’t before. Overall, I got to meet some great people and just play the sport that I love!”
--- C Cali Decker (2021, Florida)
“It has been an incredible experience that I can’t even put into words. Being able to play with some of the best girls in the country is an amazing opportunity. Over the past few days I’ve been able to meet new friends and play the sport I love in front of an amazing coaching staff and for that I am truly blessed.”
--- MIF Bailey Dowling (2020, Alabama)
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be there with teammates from Impact, which made it even better. I met a lot of new friends and also got to hang out with future teammates who I’ll play with at Washington. It was a very competitive atmosphere and an overall great experience that I feel so honored to be a part of.”
--- P/IF Kelley Lynch (2019, Washington)
“It was an awesome experience having the opportunity to try out for the USA Junior National Team. Being able to compete with the best of the best to rep USA is something I will never forget. It was such an honor to be part of it.”
--- SS Skylar Wallace (freshman, Alabama)