Before school lets out for summer, most kids go around and sign each other’s yearbooks and write the famous, “HAGS.”
For two high school girls at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Jr. World Championship, "Have a great summer," took on an entirely different meaning.
Baylee Klingler and Grace Messmer are from different parts of North America. Klingler is from Dickinson, Texas, while Messmer is from Surrey, British Columbia. The Texan played for the United States and Messmer for Canada. So what do they have in common besides softball? They are both in high school.
In October, USA Softball sent out invitations to 20 athletes to compete for 17 spots and it announced an open tryout. Those selected from the open tryout had the opportunity to participate in the selection camp the following two days. Of the 160 at the open tryout, 10 were selected for the JWNT Selection Camp and four made the team.
Fast-forward to July and Klingler found herself in the cleanup spot against Japan in the Gold Medal Game. In the fifth inning with her team down a run, Klingler took the pitch she wanted over the right field fence to give the USA a 5-4 lead and the Stars and Stripes never looked back.