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Softball: British beneficiary

Former Valencia player makes Great Britain national team

Posted: August 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia High graduate Amy Moore spent the summer with Great Britain's national softball team, where she competed against elite international competition. She'll return to the University of the Pacific team this season.

 

Amy Moore has never been to the Great Britain.

But she has certainly gained an appreciation for the country in which many in her family — including her father — were born.

This summer, the Valencia High graduate suited up for team Great Britain during international softball competition, and the University of the Pacific catcher, who will start her senior year in the fall, set herself up for many more years of international service.

Playing for the British team didn’t exactly require learning a new language, but it did require some adjustments.
For instance, she didn’t put on her jacket — she put on her jumper.

“When we change out of our uniforms, they call it, ‘Go put your kit on.’ Sleeping in is, ‘Getting your lie in,’” she adds. “I learned a lot of lingo terms and a lot of things the British do, and it all has grown on me and I’m saying some of them now.”

Moore, who became the first player in University of the Pacific history to suit up for a national softball team when she took the field at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in July, was eligible for the Great Britain team because her father, Steve, was born on Burtonwood Air Force Base in Lancashire, England.

And while the slang may have been different, she quickly learned the game was the same.

“Before every single game I just told myself, ‘Play the game you’ve played your whole life,’” she says. “Be confident, because my skill and ability got me to where I was, so I had to be doing something right.”

It wasn’t quite the same game she had always played, though.

Moore, who has played catcher nearly all her life, was asked to move around the field, playing primarily first base and outfield because Great Britain had an established veteran catcher already in place.

She continued to perform, though, batting .273 in 11 games with nine hits, two RBIs, two stolen bases and a .985 fielding percentage.

“She did very well at both (positions), especially first base, where she showed good instincts for the position and the game generally,” says Great Britain team manager Bob Fromer.

Playing in tournaments that featured some of the top competition in the world, including an American squad that featured her former Valencia High teammate Jordan Taylor and Hart High rival Jessica Shults, the British team surprised the competition game after game.

“We were always the underdog in every game we played,” Moore says. “Whether it was Mexico, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and the hard thing is we held our own. It was a few errors here or there. We weren’t supposed to be there, but we proved people wrong again and again.”

After the Canadian Open, where the British finished second, the team traveled to Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada to compete in the International Softball Federation World Fastpitch Championship, where Great Britain finished 11th in the world.

Her career with the British softball team, though, isn’t coming to an end.

She’ll return to college for her senior season, after which she plans to play professionally in Holland and with the Great Britain team at next summer’s European Championship.

“She should become one of our key players,” Fromer says. “Our core group that has been together for the past six or seven years is beginning to change as some players are retiring. The team will get younger as a result and will need players of Amy’s quality to maintain our achievements over the past few years.”

There’s little break for Moore despite the summer season ending in late June.

She’s back in the Santa Clarita Valley, coaching a youth softball team for the second summer in a row.

“Every coach I’ve had I’ve tried to take something away and build on it. From (youth coach) Diane Spigner, to my college coaches to my national coaches,” she explains.

Now it’s her turn to impart the wisdom, as her career continues to flourish.

And perhaps just as important as learning to play the game at a higher level is the opportunity to play with Great Britain, which has given Moore the chance to learn more about the country her father and grandmother were born in.

And that thing about Moore having never seen the United Kingdom — that’s about to change.

The family has planned a trip at the end of the year.

“It’s kind of an opportunity to see another culture and see where her heritage started,” Steve Moore says. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she can participate at this level. I’m just grateful that her heritage enabled her to.”

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