Quaker Valley sophomore softball standout shows skills at All American Games

Saturday, August 5, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Gemma Wiegand recently experienced a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity.

For the second consecutive year.

Wiegand, 15, was scheduled to participate in the USSSA Softball All American Games during the week of July 31 in Viera Beach, Fla.

Wiegand also competed in the All American Games following her freshman season at Quaker Valley.

“My experience last year was nothing short of amazing,” she said. “The Space Coast Complex where the games are held is beautiful, and it was so cool to see pro softball games in person and talk to professional USSSA Pride players.

“I am so grateful to have this awesome opportunity, and I’m very excited to hopefully play well and have fun again this year.”

A week prior to leaving for Florida, Wiegand said, “I can’t wait to do it again.”

The All American Games, established in 2011, were created to help youngsters display their skills in front of some of the country’s top college recruiters. The USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) primarily focuses on amateur sports involving youth baseball, youth softball and adult softball.

Quaker Valley softball coach Jason Cappa has coached Wiegand for three years and had nothing but high praise for the softball prodigy.

“Gemma started playing for me when she was in seventh grade in middle school,” Cappa said. “Gemma is the type of player who can play anywhere on the field. She literally has played every position for me except pitcher. But if I ever asked her to pitch, she would ask how long she has to warm up.

“She is very versatile and has many strengths as a softball player. She understands the game as well as anyone. She can hit for average or power and is an excellent bunter. Defensively, she has excellent fundamentals in fielding and throwing, which makes it an advantage for any team to have her because she can do it all at any position.”

Wiegand, with a 4.28 GPA, lettered in softball as a freshman a QV in 2023. She played third base, first base and in the outfield for the Quakers, but her best position is as a third baseman.

“She is very strong at third base,” Cappa said. “She understands the game so well and knows what offenses are trying to do. So being at third, she can play small ball very well and can also play back. She knows what to do with the ball before she makes the play which helps her make plays quickly without having to make decisions late.”

Cappa, who’s also in charge of the QV football program, is looking forward to working with Wiegand on the softball field for three more years.

“Every year, I get more blown away by Gemma’s leadership ability, her willingness to learn and outwork opponents and the way she makes her teammates better,” Cappa said. “She is a technician when it comes to her fundamentals and mechanics both in the batter’s box and in the field.

“I would expect nothing less than the same thing from Gemma at the All American Games and next season at Quaker Valley. She does not shy away from the big stage because of the amount of work she puts into preparing for those moments. No moment is too big for her.”

Wiegand began playing softball at age 4. Along with competing for QV, she plays travel ball for Team USSSA Pride WPA 2007 coached by Gerard Uhrinek.

“Gemma is like having another coach on the field,” Cappa said. “I’m lucky to have the opportunity to coach wonderful student-athletes like Gemma at Quaker Valley.

“She is a tremendous softball player and student, but I have to add that she’s an even better person. I am excited to see what the future holds for this phenomenal young lady.”

Wiegand is a fan of the college game. Two former Division I softball stars have made a big impact on her burgeoning career.

“Sydney Sherrill, a former third baseman at Florida State and current professional softball player, has been my biggest influence in the past few years,” Wiegand said. “But as a kid, Jennie Finch, a very popular Olympic softball player, had a huge influence on my game and still does today even though she was a pitcher, and I am not.”


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