Seton Hill junior Nichole McClendon talks about playing for Guatemalan National softball team
Earlier this year, Seton Hill’s Nichole McClendon played for the Guatemalan national softball team in the 2020 WBSC Americas Qualifier in Surrey, British Columbia.
McClendon chronicled some of her experiences in a piece on the Seton Hill athletics website titled, “Fighting For The Ultimate Dream.”
Not only did McClendon, an outfielder and pitcher, face high-level competition, but she also felt a greater connection to her heritage.
She started four of the six games and went 3 for 12 with a RBI. She delivered a run-scoring single in a 9-4 victory over the Bahamas.
McClendon, who lives in Lutz, Fla., said she started playing for the national team when she was 15.
“It all started with my cousins. They were really big in Guatemala playing baseball, and it happened to be that they were really close with the softball coach,” she said. “So, when the coach found out that they had a cousin who played softball in the U.S., he asked me out to go try out.”
McClendon said she began playing on the 19-under team but was moved up to the national roster.
“My first tournament with the national team was the Central American Games in Veracruz, Mexico, and to be completely honest, it was a real eye-opener,” she said. “After that tournament, I found myself asking what my goal in all of this was. What was I aiming to achieve by playing with Guatemalan National team?”
Her conclusion, she said, was to become a more well-rounded player.
“Physically, but more importantly, mentally,” she said. “Playing at such a competitive level at such a young age taught me so much and helped me mature, both as an athlete and just in general. I went from playing on travel ball teams with the goal of playing collegiate softball, to playing for a whole country with the goal of one day going to the Olympics.
“The moment I made the Guatemalan National Team and said yes to playing for them, is when I realized that I was no longer playing for myself, the name on my back, but instead I was playing for the name on the front, my country and it was something that I had to come to terms with really fast.”
Guatemala finished in seventh place with a 3-3 record.
Quick photo opportunity for Nichole as she reps the Guatemala National team! pic.twitter.com/OruKIOuTDz
— Seton Hill Softball (@SHUgriffinsSB) August 28, 2019
Nichole McClendon is set for some action this evening as she represents the Guatamala National Team at the Softball Americas Qualifier in Canada. Check out the action here https://t.co/73XyXRG3jP pic.twitter.com/JKZghGfTdL
— Seton Hill Softball (@SHUgriffinsSB) August 26, 2019
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .