BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Fourteen of the best high school softball players in the country are preparing to showcase their talents in Italy over the summer.
In July 2013, with a little luck, hard work and help from their communities, the young ladies will take their softball talent to Grosseto, Italy to represent the United States in the 2013 Tuscany Tournament.
"All of these kids have worked hard at their game since they were little bitty kids and this is kind of one of the crowning jewels for most of them to get selected to do this kind of thing," said Robertsdale High School Softball Coach Barry Roberts.
Of the 14 players selected, several are from right here on the Alabama – Mississippi Gulf Coast. It speaks volumes of their talent and the girls couldn't be more excited by the opportunity.
"I feel so good about that," said Robertsdale player Taylor Tucker. "I'm lucky to be picked to do this."
"I've never really been far from home, but I'm really excited to play with different teammates and go out there and play," added Carlie Vice from Pascagoula High School.
Italian Softball's partnership with USA Athletes International (USAAI) as the sponsoring organization has made this trip possible. Aside from the competition of the games, organizers aim to expose the athletes to the history and culture of other countries. It's something the girls are excited about.
"And get to go see all the beautiful places and pretty much just the memories… tons and tons of memories," said Ocean Springs High School player Rachael Hayes.
"I'm really excited to get to go to Italy because of the culture," added Autumn Corley of Escambia Academy in Atmore, Ala. "I get to see all these different girls who also share the same thing as me. They both love softball. We both love softball."
As you can imagine, the trip isn't cheap at $4,093 each and the girls have to raise the money on their own. With only a few months to get it done, some have already gotten a head start.
"I've been selling doughnuts, and I've been bagging groceries and I've been asking local businesses for donations and so far I've got half of it done so far," Robertsdale High School player Briana Pierce said of her fund raising efforts.
With the determination these girls have already show to get this far, there's no doubt they'll find a way to catch their dreams in Italy.
USAAI is a non-profit organization established in 1992 dedicated to giving amateur athletes opportunities just like this.
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