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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
USF Bulls

USF's Nevins named to U.S. softball team

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Published:   |   Updated: June 23, 2014 at 08:21 PM

At the University of South Florida, Sara Nevins perhaps had the most impressive résumé of any athlete in school history.

She was a three-time All-American. She was pitcher of the year in two different conferences. She surpassed 1,000 career strikeouts and had eight no-hitters. She led the Bulls to three NCAA tournament bids and the school's first appearance in the Women's College World Series.

“I'm a little sad that it's over,'' Nevins said.

But in a sense, her softball career has just begun.

For the second time, Nevins, 22, was selected to the 17-player U.S. Women's National Team. It competes this summer in California, Canada, Italy and Amsterdam, where the priority is taking back the gold medal from Japan at the World Cup.

Nevins, despite her voluminous accomplishments, isn't close to reaching her potential, Team USA coach Ken Eriksen of USF said.

“The prime-time age for greatness in international ball is between 26 and 32,'' Eriksen said. “Sara has a chance to be around for a long time. The first go-round, you get to wear the three letters (USA) on your chest and get comfortable. Then you have a chance to get good, then really, really good.

“Sara has a chance to get good now. College softball, in all honesty, is like the minor leagues and now she's training in the majors.''

Nevins, who had 101 career victories at USF, pitched 121⁄3 innings with 14 strikeouts last summer for Team USA.

“It's so exciting to play for your country and it's great to get the chance to do it a second time,'' said Nevins, who attended Pinellas Park High. “You get to play the sport you love, do it with a bunch of great people and travel to some interesting places. I couldn't have it any better.''

Nevins is destined to become an integral part of Team USA, Eriksen said, because she's a left-handed power pitcher

“She moves the ball left to right, right to left, up and down in the zone and not a lot of lefties outside of Cat Osterman (former Texas All-American and U.S. Olympian) can do those type of things. … And Sara throws 10 miles an hour faster than Cat.

“From the left side, coming in on a righty at 72 miles an hour, that's a saw-off job. People aren't used to that stuff. Sara's pitches break so late and so hard. I think she broke five or six aluminum bats in her career. Yeah, she's pretty good.''

People around USF have known that for years.

Now the world is discovering Nevins.

“When the players from Team USA are coming back in the dugout going, 'Wow!' you know something is legit,'' Eriksen said. “Nationwide, she has a lot of respect.''

U.S. NATIONAL SOFTBALL TEAM

Player, Pos.

College

Class

Valerie Arioto, INF

California

2012

Raven Chevanne, INF

Tennessee

2013

Amanda Chidester, INF

Michigan

2012

Samantha Fischer, INF

Loyola-Mary

2012

Kellie Fox, INF

Arizona

Jr.

Lauren Gibson, INF

Tennessee

2013

Jolene Henderson, P

California

2013

Taylor Hoagland, INF

Texas

2013

Destinee Martinez, OF

Oklahoma

2014

Haylie McCleney, OF

Alabama

Jr.

Jessica Moore, P

Oregon

2013

Michelle Moultrie, OF

Florida

2012

Sara Nevins, P

South Florida

2014

Jessica Plaza, C

Stanford

Jr.

Kelsey Stewart, INF

Florida

Jr.

Jaclyn Traina, P

Alabama

2014

Hallie Wilson, UTL

Arizona

Sr.

Head Coach: Ken Eriksen (USF)

Assistant Coaches: Laura Berg (Oregon State), Howard Dobson (LSU), Lisa Dodd (UNLV)

 

 

 

jjohnston@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @JJohnstonTBO

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