- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
During her college days as a pitcher at Arizona State University, Megan Elliott remembers guiding the USA Junior Olympic softball team to a gold medal with a 3-1 victory over two-time defending champion Japan in the International Softball Federation Junior Women’s World Championship — one of the biggest accomplishments in her storied softball career.
The 2006 Calvert High School graduate and Greater Washington Fastpitch Softball Hall of Famer will now be on the other side of the spectrum, as she will be one of 16 players to represent the Maryland-Washington, D.C. Amateur Softball Association of America All-Stars softball team at 7 p.m. Tuesday when it takes on the USA Softball Women’s National Team in a exhibition doubleheader at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, home to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
The softball contest will be a tune-up for the ISF Women’s World Championships scheduled for Aug. 15 to 24 in Haarlem, Netherlands.
“It’s a privilege either way to represent Maryland and playing on the opposite end against USA is neat,” said Elliott, now an assistant coach with the St. Mary’s Ryken softball team. “It will be fun playing with girls that are from the area. I heard a lot about them, most of them are in college now.”
Elliott, who led Calvert to back-to-back state titles in her junior and senior seasons, also going to the state final as a freshman, is also one of five players on the Maryland-D.C. All-Stars, which features high caliber college players, who formerly played in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.
Also selected to represent the team were 2011 Northern High School graduate Kaitlyn Schmeiser (University of Maryland), 2011 North Point High School graduate Erin Pronobis (University of Maryland), Huntingtown High School graduate Chloe Fitzgerald (Hofstra) and Northern graduate Kristina Lozupone (Catholic University, D.C.).
“It’s so awesome that I was chosen to play on the team,” said Pronobis, who plays outfield. “To step on the same field with the best players in the world is amazing. It’s cool we get to meet them and represent Southern Maryland. This event definitely gives the area more exposure for softball.”
The Maryland-D.C. team will be headed by Robert Earl Radford, the softball architect who has led the Northern Patriots to six straight Class 3A state titles, rewriting the much of the state record books during that span.
He will be assisted by his daughter Beth Radford, a University of Maryland alum and Terry Burdette, the head coach of Division III outfit Hood College of Frederick.
Radford and the team will get to meet and greet with the USA team and eat dinner with them on Monday night.
“I’m truly honored that I was selected to coach this event. This is once in a lifetime opportunity,” Radford said. “The best is yet to come.”
Radford said Maryland-D.C. ASA commissioner Jack Mowatt asked him during the high school season about putting the event together once the high school season was over, and Radford was eager to go with the process.
“Me and Jack have had a long-term relationship and it’s great to have something like this for the area,” Radford said.
The USA national team will be led by head coach Ken Eriksen, the head coach of South Florida, and he will be assisted by three-time Olympic gold medalist Laura Berg, LSU assistant coach Howard Dobson and UNLV head coach Lisa Dodd.
The USA team has 17 players on the roster who will feature University of Tennessee alum and second baseman Lauren Gibson, a native of Pasadena, Md., in Anne Arundel County, and other top college players who are among the best in the world.
“Playing the USA team is clearly going to be a challenge,” said Radford, whose team started practicing in the past couple of weeks to prepare for the clash with USA. “Their level of skill is unreal and they are fast and very fundamental. We have players from all over the state of Maryland. This will be a test for them, but fun at the same time.”
The USA team and coaching staff will also hold a clinic for girls 6 to 16 on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon at Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata. Registration for the clinic is closed and the event is sold out.
Tickets for Tuesday’s action start at $20 and can be purchased on www.mddcasajo.org or at www.somdbluecrabs.com.
For more information, call 301-638-9788 or go to www.somdbluecrabs.com