USA Baseball story and roster
MALIBU, Calif. – Sacramento State assistant softball coach Nichole Willis, who was a first team All-American during her collegiate softball playing career, learned yesterday she was one of 20 players selected to compete for the USA Women's Baseball National Team.
The 20 athletes were selected to the roster from a group of 39 players that competed in the Women's National Team Trials from Aug. 18-21 at Pepperdine University. Trials consisted of intrasquad games and skill development sessions from which coaches evaluated players and picked the final team. The team trial participants were selected from three regional tryouts held by USA Baseball in various cities throughout the country.
Willis, who is one of three catchers on the roster, is currently training with the team and will eventually travel to Miyazaki, Japan, to represent the United States in the 2014 WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup to be held Sept. 1-7.
Making the selection even more impressive, prior to the regional tryouts, Willis had never played organized baseball.
She will her enter second season as an assistant coach with the Hornets in 2014-15. Last year, in her first with the Hornets, she helped coach the team to a 25-21 overall record and 12-4 mark in the Big Sky Conference. The .750 winning percentage in conference play was the program's best in 21 years. In addition, Sacramento State saw a program-record 11 of its players receive some form of all-Big Sky recognition.
The Clovis, Calif., native was a four-year starting catcher at Fresno State (2004-07) where she caught Olympians Jamie Southern and Robin Mackin. A 2007 Easton first team All-American, two-time all-West Region, three-time first team all-Western Athletic Conference, three-time preseason all-WAC, and 2004 WAC Freshman of the Year, Willis helped Fresno State to four straight NCAA Softball Regional appearances and a combined 175-69 overall record and 64-11 conference mark.
A career .299 hitter, she had 39 doubles, 23 home runs and 127 RBIs in 725 at-bats during her four seasons with the Bulldogs. Defensively, she threw out 54.1 percent of would-be base stealers (59-for-109).