Pine-Richland softball’s Alyssa Miller plays for Team USA in Dominican Republic
Friday, August 31, 2018 | 10:45 PM
It will still be a while before Alyssa Miller is suiting up in her Pine-Richland softball uniform. But until then, the all-section honorable mention outfielder is keeping busy.
From Aug. 9-15, Miller spent some of her final weeks of summer donning a Team USA jersey on a softball diamond in the Dominican Republic, representing her country while playing against top competition from the Caribbean islands, as well as countries in Central America and South America.
Miller was recommended for the AIST softball program by an anonymous college softball coach, who noticed her talent while scouting a game she was playing in as part of the Pittsburgh Passion, her summer travel team. From there, the junior said she did research and decided to accept the invitation to join the program, which takes select players from across the country to travel the world and compete.
Before she knew it, she was squaring off in doubleheaders against teams representing the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Venezuela. And for the players representing their countries, there was plenty to play for.
“The competition was really at a high level. We were playing against players that were trying out for their Olympic teams, so they were older than us for the most part, in their 20s,” Miller said.
“It was a really good experience. There were parts of the game that were different. In the Domincan, they pitch from closer up, so the speed is a lot faster. And they’re allowed to crow hop when pitching from the mound. Plus, they called balls and strikes in Spanish, so that was different.”
In six games, Miller and Team USA accrued a 3-3 record, sweeping Venezuela and splitting the doubleheader with the Dominican Republic. In that time, the junior outfielder led her team in hits despite being one of the younger members of a squad that featured four college athletes.
In Game 1 against the Dominican Republic, the Rams’ center fielder scored the only run of the game as Team USA escaped with a 1-0 win.
Miller said she hopes the trip helped her take another step toward accomplishing her dream of playing softball in college. In the meantime, however, the opportunity for her to prove her mettle on the diamond against some of the more talented players in the western hemisphere was an experience she won’t soon forget.
“I hope it will help me get there. It was a great chance for me, and a great trip,” Miller said.
“It was a really good experience. There was a lot to get used to with the different style of play, but once I got used to it, it just felt like playing softball out there.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.