By JAMIE BAKER
The country’s top women’s softball players will pay a visit to Findlay this week.
The USA Women’s Softball National team will conduct a clinic for area youth players Monday morning and play an exhibition doubleheader against a group of college all-star players Tuesday at 6 p.m. at The Marathon Diamonds.
Tickets for Tuesday’s game, which is being sponsored by the Findlay Girls Fastpitch Softball Club and the BlackHawks travel softball team, are $10 and will be available the day of the game. There will also be an hour-long autograph session with players at the conclusion of the contests.
There are 24 players in camp for the USA Softball Team and the exhibition games in Findlay are part of the selection process that will narrow the group down to a final 17 players that will represent the United States in the World Cup of Softball July 7-12 in Irvine, California.
Team USA started its trip with a pair of wins over a group of Central Virginia college all-stars on Friday.
The women’s national team used a five-run first inning to capture Game 1 by a score of 10-2 and followed up with a 6-0 shutout win in Game 2.
Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) led the women’s national team in Game 1, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Hallie Wilson (Tustin, Calif.) was 2-for-3 in Game 2 with one RBI.
After the clinic and doubleheader in Findlay, the team will head to Purcellville, Va. for a pair of games before final team rosters are announced on June 22.
Team USA will then play exhibition games in Morgantown, West Virginia on July 2 and Waldorf, Maryland on July 29. Sandwiched around the World Cup. Later this summer, Team USA will also play in events in Canada, Italy and The Netherlands.
The event is a big deal for the city and the Findlay’s fastpitch organization, which has grown from nothing a decade ago to six teams in the city that participate in local leagues as well as seven BlackHawk travel teams. There are tentative plans to add three more teams next summer, according to Jim Welch, president of the Findlay Girls Fastpitch Softball Club.
Getting a visit by Team USA to Findlay was no easy task.
“It’s been a lot of hard work getting things to this point. We have a great location, the city’s facility here at The Cube is great and we’ve had a lot of growth with the ASA in this area,” Welch said. “The ASA president is from Ohio and we’re hoping that the crowd here for the game Tuesday will be biggest ever for a Team USA game here in Ohio.
“We were really hoping for 3,000 fans, but realistically, I think we’ll have around 2,500 at the game.”
The game will be on Field 4 at The Marathon Diamonds and all seating will be general admission. The gates for the game will open at 4 p.m. No bags, food or drink will be permitted inside the area as is typical for most professional sporting events, according to Welch.
TEAM USA CAMP INVITEES
Valerie Arioto (Cal, 2012), IF; Raven Chavanne (Tennessee, 2013), IF; Amanda Chidester (Michigan, 2012), IF; Aimee Creger Tulsa, 2014), P; Samantha Fischer (Loyola Marymount, 2013), P; Kellie Fox (Arizona, sr.) IF; Amber Freeman (Arizona State, sr.) C; Lauren Gibson (Tennessee, 2013) IF; Chelsea Goodacre, (Arizona, sr.) C; Cheridan Hawkins (Oregon, jr.) P; Jolene Henderson (Cal-Berkeley, 2013) p; Taylor Hoagland (Texas, 2013) IF; Nicole Hudson (Missouri, 2013) OF; Destinee Martinez (Oklahoma, 2014) OF; Haylie McCleney (Alabama, jr.) OF; Jessica Moore (Oregon, 2013) P; Michelle Moultrie (Florida, 2012) OF; Sara Nevins (South Florida, 2014) p; Kelsey Stewart (Florida, jr.) IF; Jessica Plaza (Stanford, jr.) C; Rhea Taylor (Missouri, 2011) OF; Jaclyn Traina (Alabama, 2014) P; Lacey Waldron (Florida State, sr.) P; Hallie Wilson (Arizona, sr.) UT.
HEAD COACH: Ken Eriksen.
ASSISTANT COACHES: Laura Berg, Howard Dobson, Lisa Dodd.
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