By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – Jimmy Klingler calls his daughter Baylee into the house.
Baylee, a junior at Dickinson High School, had been running errands throughout the day to take her mind off of anticipating the release of the roster for the 2017 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team.
Once in the house, inside the email her father was looking at was a link to a page with the pictures of the players making the team.
With the move of the mouse and click of the link, a dream came true.
“It sank in when I opened the link to the email and I saw my picture with the uniform on. It was a surreal moment,” Baylee said.
Baylee had gone to Clearwater, Florida for a few days for a tryout and evaluation before the coaches would make their choice.
The Texas A&M commit, was the only player from the Lone Star State to make the initial 24-player roster.
“Baylee brings versatility to the team,” USA Softball Coach Laura Berg said. “She can play third base or shortstop. When you only have 17 spots on the team it’s important for players to play different positions.”
Overall Baylee impressed Berg not only with her ability to play multiple positions but also good footwork, strong arm, strong hands and provides power at the plate.
That power was put on display as a sophomore at Dickinson, crushing the ball at a .570 batting average with 33 RBIs, 10 doubles, five triples and five home runs.
“We’re real excited about her being a representative of Dickinson High School as well as the State of Texas,” Dickinson coach Timi Radicioni said. “This is just a phenomenal experience for her. It gives the program a spotlight we may need to get our name out there. We’re just real excited for her and pleasure we’re going to have to experience it with her.”
When asking Baylee about where making Team USA ranks among her career accomplishments – definitely No. 1 of her career.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to put Dickinson on the map,” Baylee said. “Especially our softball team, we’re really underrated and we should surprise a lot of people this year with how talented we are.”
Being only a junior and accomplishing this feat, Baylee said age doesn’t matter and knows she will have to play at a higher level to compete with the older girls on the team.
Looking towards her final two seasons in high school and eventual collegiate career at Texas A&M, Baylee said this experience will help her career in the long run.
“I think it will help me a lot in college to play with older girls and different coaches to see everybody’s different view of the sport,” she said. “I can take their knowledge and pick their brain.”