By Caitlin Crawford for Berryvikings.com
ROME, Ga.— Andrea Cole, a senior pitcher on the Berry College women's softball team, will be playing ball in Australia this summer.
For two weeks, Andrea will join other softball players from all over the country to play six games and tour cities like Sydney and Brisbane. The trip is funded by the USA Athletes International (USAAI).
USAAI allows high school and college student-athletes to be able to act as an ambassador for the United States to travel abroad, compete against foreign teams, and absorb the culture of the area visited. The organization supports 15 different sports that compete in 25 different countries around the world. The organization is different than most because it does not advertise or recruit. In order to get an invitation, an athlete must be nominated by a coach, school, or past USAAI athlete. Andrea was nominated by her friend--a softball player at Birmingham-Southern--who went on a USAAI trip last year.
Although most athletes pay their own way for the USAAI trips, some receive funding by the organization themselves. Cole was one of the few who received a scholarship based on grades, community service, and merit.
Cole is not a newcomer at traveling and playing softball abroad. Two summers ago, the Berry softball team went to the Dominican Republic. Not only did BC compete against their national team, but they also served in the Dominican community.
"The volunteer work we did in the Dominican focused on providing local girls and women--ages 4 to 50--the opportunity to get involved in softball," Cole said. "We donated a good amount of equipment, and spent the day instructing them on the proper mechanics of the game. I am excited to travel and go to Australia this summer to gain similar rewarding experiences."
So far, the Berry women's softball team has an impressive record of 17-5 in their spring season. Andrea recently helped the team defeat a conference opponent, Sewanee. She started two out of the four games and only allowed one run in both games.
"We are so happy for Andrea to be able to enjoy another amazing experience overseas," said BC Head Coach Cori Thiermann. "Andrea will be a great representative for Berry College as she is a true leader on and off the field. What a great experience to top off her senior year!"
The BC softball team travels to Mississippi to take on Millsaps College this weekend.