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SCV Softball Players Go National
May, 2017 - Issue #151
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

Jessie Harper and Amanda Doyle have been teammates before, but their next opportunity to wear the same uniform could be the most significant of their softball careers.
"Their performances at the WORLD CUP will determine whether they will be selected among 17 prestigious roster spots to represent their country July 24 to July 30 in Florida at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Junior World Championships."

Despite attending different high schools, Doyle - a Canyon graduate - and Harper, a former West Ranch standout, concluded their prep careers playing together on the So Cal Choppers travel ball team, which finished in a third-place tie in the 18-under premier division at the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships in July.

Although they've gone their separate ways again - Doyle to Louisiana State and Harper to Arizona - for their freshman years in college, when they reunite in June in Oklahoma City, they will be among 24 athletes on the US Junior National Training team competing in exhibition games in preparation for the July 4 to July 9 World Cup of Softball XII at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Doyle and Harper, both first basemen, were chosen among the 24 finalists following impressive showings December 31 to January 1 at a 40-player training camp in Clearwater, Florida.

Harper is also joined on the national training team by fellow Arizona freshman Dejah Mulipola, making the Wildcats the only college program in the country to be represented by two individuals.

"I'm thankful for all the opportunities this sport has given me," Harper said. "I'm so excited to represent the USA this summer."

Their performances at the World Cup will determine whether they will be selected among 17 prestigious roster spots to represent their country July 24 to July 30 in Florida at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Junior World Championships, continuing a strong tradition of SCV athletes to play softball for the U.S. in international competition.

"Knowing that I get to play with the National [Training] team this summer is a great feeling," Doyle told LSUNow.com. "There was so much competition at every single position. There were like seven or eight first basemen that I was competing with and multiple power hitters that I had to compete with."

Valencia graduate and former Tennessee standout Madison Shipman, the 2014 National Pro Fastpitch Rookie of the Year who played three professional seasons before retiring in January, was a member of the US Junior National team roster in 2010-11.

"I have looked up to Madi Shipman from a young age. She is from my hometown and is a great person and an amazing athlete," Harper told FloSoftball.com.

"She has done great things in this sport and is someone I look up to and aspire to be like."

Although surgeries on her left wrist and shoulder prevented Shipman from helping the US during the team's run to the Junior World title in 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa, she was instrumental in the Americans winning the 2010 Pan American 18-under championship in Bogota, Colombia, hitting .421 with eight runs, seven RBIs and nine stolen bases.

Former Saugus star and Tennessee graduate Tiffany Huff competed for the US Junior National team in 2006-07, hitting .440 with eight runs and six RBIs to contribute to an unbeaten run to the gold medal at the Junior World Championships in Enschede, Netherlands.

Huff was a member of an American 18-under group that won all 20 games against international competition during her two-year stint, scoring six runs and collecting seven RBIs at the 2006 Pan Am Championships in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Valencia graduate and former UCLA catcher Jaisa Creps also competed internationally for the US in 2003, although her pursuit for a Junior World title came up just short in Nanjing, China. Creps hit .444 in the tournament for the Americans, who went 8-2 - suffering both losses to Japan - and captured the silver medal.

Harper and Doyle, both All-Foothill League honorees and Premier Girls Fastpitch All-Americans, have continued to improve their chances to follow Shipman, Huff and Creps in representing the US at the Junior World Championships by making a seamless transition to the Division 1 college level.

Entering April, Harper had played in all 36 games for Arizona and Doyle had seen action in 31 of 36 for LSU, with both teams ranked in the top 10 nationally.

Although their teams aren't scheduled to play during the regular season, there is a possibility they could square off in the NCAA tournament or the Women's College World Series.

But even if neither Doyle or Harper advances to the June 1 to June 7 World Series, they are guaranteed to reconnect in Oklahoma City later in the month with an opportunity to share their greatest softball experience together in July trying to help the US capture an unprecedented sixth World Junior gold medal.

"This game is a process and I love every minute of it," Doyle said. "I'm blessed to representing the USA this summer."
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