As her mom drove, sophomore Haidyn Sokoloski opened her phone to find an old email notification across her lock screen. She was about to ignore it, but the words sitting in the subject line grabbed her attention.
“USA Softball U17 Women’s National Team.”
Sokoloski quickly opened it and read the email. Then she read it again, trying to process what it all meant.
“You are receiving this email because you have been selected to represent the United States…”
She told her mom, who immediately read it with her dad when they got home. Sokoloski had been selected to be on the U-17 National Softball Team along with 14 other girls. The news took them all by surprise.
“I was a little bit scared because we didn’t know anything at that point,” Sokloski said. “We didn’t know who the players were or who the coaches were. We just knew that we would be going to Columbia to play for the national team, and that was scary, but I was so excited because I knew this was a great opportunity.”
Sokoloski, who is committed to play softball at OSU, happily accepted the invitation to be a part of the team.
“I thought it’s going to be a really fun experience and something that not a lot of people can say they’ve done,” Sokoloski said. “It’s too big an opportunity to pass up.”
In October, Sokoloski will represent the United States at the Pan American U-17 Championship in Columbia. If they do well in the tournament, the team can qualify for the 2020 World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup. Sokoloski is hoping to qualify, although she’s most excited about traveling and meeting her teammates and other players.
“It’s going to be a really fun experience just being surrounded by all these people,” Sokoloski said.
Sokoloski started playing varsity softball for the school as a freshman, in addition to being a starter on the varsity volleyball team. She always works hard and aims for perfection, according to junior Bella Hernandez, Sokoloski’s teammate.
“She is so good,” Hernandez said. “She’s a great person on and off the field, but on the field, you can just see the love she has for the game. As soon as she steps on the field, she’s just perfect.”
Sokoloski originally started the sport for fun, and although she quickly fell in love with it, she didn’t know she would eventually get to play with the letters “USA” written on her jersey. She just knew that she loved the game.
“I knew I would continue to play softball, but I didn’t really know where it was going to lead me,” Sokoloski said. “I had no idea that I would get a chance to play for the national team or even play [at a] top D1 college.”