A Maple Ridge softball star is going to be playing for the UK national program.
Emma Smith is just 14, but will be playing on both the under-15 and under-18 teams for the Great Britain Softball Federation.
“I was really excited, and surprised that I made the older team,” she said.
“I am excited for the opportunity to represent Great Britain and to work with all the coaching staff and players. I would like to thank my Ridge Meadows Pride ’06 and Synergy Gold coaches and teammates over the last two years for making me a better player every day.”
She’s got dual citizenship, plays on multiple teams, and she’s multi-talented.
“She has really developed her game in the past couple of years, and just taken it to the next level,” said Kim Brooks, who coached Smith with the Ridge Meadows Synergy Gold team.
“She’s a good hitter, good middle infielder and has a really good arm.”
When Emma was 13, Brooks took her with a Synergy team to an under-18 tournament in Las Vegas. She didn’t shrink from the big stage or the older athletes.
“It was her first experience in a big tournament, and she did really well.”
A lot of ball players are having to work out on their own or with family members during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Emma is fortunate to have a coach under her own roof. Her mother Sally is a coach and executive member in the association – and the veteran coach Brooks has coached both mom and daughter.
Sally moved here from Birkenhead, UK, when she was six. Her citizenship affords her daughter an extra opportunity to make a national team, but she had to have talent to take advantage of it.
To get noticed by the team selectors in the UK, she sent them videos of game action, and stats. The tryouts were entirely virtual for the first time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, her last full season, and the part of 2020 that she played, Emma was the toughest of outs. She hit to a .395 batting average, and posted a .502 on base percentage.
There will be no competition this summer due to the global pandemic, but GB Softball is planning a winter training camp in Florida. Emma hopes to remain part of the program for the European Championships and other international competitions in future years.
It’s a step in a long journey that Emma hopes will take her to an elite NCAA softball program after she graduates from high school. Currently she is a Grade 9 at Samuel Robertson Technical.
Brooks said Emma’s passion is obvious, and she is willing to put in the work. Brooks has no doubt Emma will play college ball somewhere. She said a lot of Ridge Meadows Synergy players have been able to play post-secondary ball.
“At that age, if they have that desire and the will, there will be someplace for them to go.”
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