NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For the top high school athletes, playing in big-time summer league programs is nothing new, but playing overseas is something few can say they did.
The Nitro select softball team is made up of girls from all over Deep East Texas. The team will be representing the United States in a good will tour to Italy. The team will participate in six games, with the chance to play Italy's Junior Olympic team.
"I'm sure it is going to be different," utility player Amber Perry said. "Maybe we can learn something new."
The team was picked for the tour based on their on and off the field behavior in recent championship performances. They will be leaving Houston Saturday morning by flight to Rome with a layover in New Jersey. The team will return to the states on July 19.
"I thought it was a great honor," said Coach Roger McKnight. "You don't realize people are watching you and what you are doing. It means a lot to me and the girls."
At practice, the girls have been preparing for a new style of softball they are not used to.
"I've seen them on TV, and they play a lot of small ball versus here where we have maybe a couple of people who bunt and the rest of the lineup is power hitters," pitcher Jordyn Rogers said.
With girls from all over East Texas, the big question is will they be able to put aside rivalries for the greater good?
"We have a really good bond on this team," said outfielder Hadley McKnight. "We really get along. I mean the rivalries can get the best of us, but we are usually pretty good about it."
They say the red, white, and blue is more important than anything else.
"I think it is a great honor," said outfielder Kayla Trekell. "There are not a lot of people around here that get the opportunity to do this. I think we should be grateful that we can travel and see the world."
"How many girls can say they went to Europe and had jerseys with USA on them?" Rogers said.
The team said they are putting the US first, the state second, and hometown third. For all of the girls, this will be their first international games.
The players are:
Taylor Christopher - Garrison
Cadie Reneau - Garrison
Danielle Gillespie - Huntington
Hannah Scoggin - Hudson
Kayla Trekell - Diboll
Mika Maxwell - Woodville
Amber Perry - Cushing
Jordyn Rogers - Groveton
Rachel "Nikki" Gesford - Lufkin
Savana Ward - Woden
Madison Anderson - Nacogdoches
Hadley McKnight – Nacogdoches