Two Chippewa Falls youth softball players were among a select few to be participate in the Softball Youth All-American Games in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.
Mykle Buhrow and Lizzie Boiteau, along with Megan Standiford of Eau Claire were nominated and later chosen to play in the prestigious event, which was held on Jan. 3-5.
“I felt honored to (be selected) because I didn’t realized how skilled I was compared to other people,” Buhrow said.
First nominated by their coaches the girls had to submit videos of themselves demonstrating their abilities at softball skills like hitting and fielding.
Of all the players who submitted videos only one-third of those passed the final step and were selected for the games.
When Buhrow made it to Orlando she said she was excited to play with other great youth softball players, but she was also concerned she wouldn’t match up with the best the country had to offer.
“When I first came to the all-American games and didn’t play any games (yet), I was very nervous because I thought everyone was going to be way better than me because these are people from all over the country but it was pretty even throughout the whole games,” Buhrow said.
A total of 570 girls participated in the event divided into grades fourth through freshman year of high school. There were nine total class of 2024 teams of which Buhrow and Boiteau are a part of.
Boiteau and Buhrow’s played the infield in the four games for 2024 United, and while the defense was strong throughout the group of 12 girls didn’t hit well, except for Burhow who took home the Silver Slugger Award.
The girls quickly bonded with their teammates earning the nicknames, “Cheese” and “Pack” which conveniently led to chants of “Go Pack Go” when Buhrow ran the bases. Of everything Boiteau and Buhrow got to experience, Boiteau said meeting people from all over the country and hearing different accents was the most enjoyable.
It was a valuable learning experience for the players and Buhrow and Boiteau hope they can take what they learned and apply it to their summer travel team the Hallie Elite.
Buhrow said she learned a lot about softball IQ which included improving base running technique and as well as learning to steal home. Boiteau took away ways to handle the mental aspects of the game.
“If you strike out or don’t get it done on yourself, just get rid of it and keep moving on with the game,” Boiteau said.
While the 2024 United team didn’t have as much as success as they wanted, Boiteau said the experience was rewarding because they met a lot of new people and learned to play with other talented girls. Boiteau recommends that others who have the opportunity take advantage of it.
“I learned what it’s like play with a coach that is different and higher up in the levels and meeting all new types of people that I haven’t met before and trying to get along with them,” Boiteau said.