Mizzou second baseman Emily Crane, of Troy, has returned from representing the United States in international softball competition in Canada….and she is hoping this was not a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.
Crane was a member of USA Softball’s Junior National Team. Crane was selected to the prestigious 17-person squad from a national pool of 40 players, becoming the first Mizzou Tiger under head coach Ehren Earleywine to receive the distinction. The team finished with a silver medal at the Junior Women’s World Championship in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, played from July 1-7. Crane was one of the standouts of the tournament across all teams, batting 14-for-24 (.583) with five RBIs, and 11 runs scored. Of her 14 hits, six were doubles.
Emily said it was a thrill to wear red, white and blue during the opening ceremonies held on Canada Day.
In addition to playing, she also wrote a blog which was on the Mizzou women’s softball website. She wrote upon returning: “I want to start off by saying thanks to everyone who supported me and the rest of the Junior Women’s National Team on our crazy Canadian journey. All in all, the trip was so much fun. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted or expected, however, the experience was like none other, and I am so happy I got the chance to play with this group of girls! I said this in my first blog, but being one of 17 players picked was something truly special, and I will cherish the memories forever. Throughout this experience, I learned more about myself and about people who I plan to be friends with for a long time. That’s what was SO cool about it… meeting everyone and getting to play for an unbelievable coaching staff! In the beginning, I can honestly say I didn’t plan on getting so close with my JWNT teammates within just two weeks. It’s kind of crazy, if you think about it! Being able to play against different countries for Team USA helped us all mesh so well together. Wearing red, white and blue never meant so much to me, and I can’t stress enough what an awesome opportunity this was for me. I really hope I get the chance to play with some of these girls again, of course, all wearing our country’s colors!
Crane left Troy on June 20 and the team assembled at a facility near Cleveland, Ohio. The members and coaches practiced in drills for three days and then traveled to West Virginia. “The bus ride began the process of us getting to know each other,” she said. The team conducted a clinic for young players and played in games against elite teams in the area. Following these exhibition games, the team packed their gear and equipment and boarded a bus for a 12 and ½ hour bus trip to Canada. In the games played in Canada, Team USA only gave up four runs but they came against Japan in the silver medal game. “They had one good inning but then a downpour occurred, stopping the game for over two hours,” she said with the rain returning in the sixth inning.”
Prior to the team assembling in Ohio, Crane had played against only three of her teammates, two from University of Alabama and one from Florida University. During the competition, the games were played under international
softball rules so there were some adjustments which had to be made. She returned to Troy on July 8.
On an early blog she wrote: “Once I mastered packing, the reality began to kick in. I’m actually going to leave the U.S. and get the chance of a lifetime to represent my wonderful country playing the sport I love. I guess what’s so hard for me to grasp is that this is real life, and that I’m not dreaming! There was a time when I was little that I dreamed about being on Team USA and getting to wear the red, white and blue… I just wanted to do it on the soccer team! Weird to think about, I know! God led me down the softball path instead. That is why I can truthfully say I had never dreamed about actually getting this kind of opportunity. I am seriously so blessed to be in this position. One out of 17 girls is a pretty special thing and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!”
As for the future, she looks to earn her degree in graphic design at Mizzou and hopefully in two years, earn an invitation to return to play in the same competition in an older age division. She will be returning to Columbia this fall, beginning preparations for her second year playing on the NCAA Division I level and helping to lead the Tigers to higher accomplishments in the SEC Conference.
She is the daughter of Dr. Connie Werkmeister and Roy Crane.
Emily Crane swings at a pitch during the international competition held in Ontario Canada.