Kathryn Sandercock is never far from softball. When she’s not striking out 17 in the WCAC final or traveling the country with her club team, she’s honing her craft in a backyard indoor pitching lane complete with a dirt circle.
“It’s really great. There’s never a day where I’m unable work on pitching,” Sandercock said.
The in-home practice paid off last week when the O’Connell junior was selected to the Junior Women’s National Training Team. The 19-and-under team will participate in two international tournaments this July as USA softball prepares for the sport’s return to the Olympics in 2020.
After an open tryout in Clearwater, Florida on Dec. 30 with over 200 hopefuls, Sandercock was one of 10 players called back for a New Year’s Eve tryout along with 37 invitees. The tryout featured six scrimmages, and Sandercock sat and watched the first five before finally taking the circle.
“I went into the open tryout with pretty low expectations because there were so many girls,” Sandercock said. “At the second tryout with the invited players I was pretty nervous. I was watching all the other pitchers and every single batter was the best batter I’ve ever faced.”
With an arsenal crafted at home, the 5-foot-10 Sandercock proved to a coaching staff from several Division I schools that she can challenge hitters with more than just her fastball.
“Over the winter, I worked a lot on my rise ball, change-up, and curve ball, but I didn’t know how much my practice had paid off because I’ve been practicing but not playing games,” Sandercock said. “When I came out to pitch in the scrimmage, my rise ball and my change-up were really killer.”
On the 24-player roster, 10 players play Division I softball and the other 14 are still in high school. Seventeen are from either California, Florida or Oklahoma. Sandercock is the only player from Virginia (none were selected from D.C. or Maryland).
“I’m so proud to represent Virginia,” Sandercock said. “It’s a really great opportunity to rep Virginia and the East Coast. In places like California and Florida, they can go outside to a field and practice all year.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 22
The number of players on James Madison’s Football Championship Subdivision national championship team who attended local high schools. Freshman linebacker Jacob Rosen (Briar Woods), freshman running back Eric Kirlew (South Lakes), sophomore cornerback Charles Tutt (Centreville), sophomore safety Grant Westbrook (Heritage), junior cornerback Justin Bethea (Heritage), redshirt sophomore cornerback Robert Carter Jr. (Long Reach), sophomore safety Mike Cobbs (Hayfield), junior Robbie Walker (Gonzaga), freshman safety Ryan Horner (Loudoun County), redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Brooks (Centreville), redshirt sophomore long snapper Matt Wolcott (Briar Woods), freshman kicker and punter Jeremiah McBride (Riverdale Baptist), freshman linebacker Daniel Caracciolo (Paul VI), redshirt senior offensive lineman Matt Frank (Fairfax), redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Richard Xu (Stone Bridge), redshirt senior defensive lineman Gary Wortham (Freedom-Woodbridge), redshirt senior offensive lineman Mitchell Kirsch (St. John’s), redshirt sophomore Quintin Reynolds (Patriot), redshirt junior defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah (Quince Orchard), freshman defensive lineman Adeeb Atariwa (Dominion), freshman defensive lineman John Daka (Wise), and freshman tight end Lawton Riggs (Stone Bridge) are all on the roster, and many played key roles in the Dukes’ title run.
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PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Your boy will be in Aldie on Monday night to watch unbeaten and unchallenged No. 15 Loudoun Valley take on the area’s scoring leader, Dom Fragala, and Champe. Follow me (@) on Twitter for live updates, pictures and maybe even a video or two.