Photo courtesy of Lesley Ginder. Claire Ginder was notified in August that she made the U-17 Women’s National Softball Team.

Newsome softball player Claire Ginder represented the United States in the Pan American games in Barranquilla, Colombia this October. She played for the U17 Women’s National Team that went undefeated (8-0) and won gold.

Ginder went to an open tryout for the U19 team last winter to see where she stacked up among the nation’s best players. She was notified in August that she made the U-17 team.

With the victory in Colombia, the team earned a berth in the 2020 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Women’s Softball World Cup. Ginder and her teammates will have to earn a spot for the World Cup in the winter trials. She batted .400 with a .538 on-base percentage in the Pan American games.

“It was such a cool experience getting to play for my country,” said Ginder. “I played for a great coaching and support staff with such an amazing group of girls, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be with. It was awesome getting to experience a new country as well.”

In just one season of playing for Newsome after transferring from Durant, Ginder has already set a great example for the younger players. “Claire is talented, hardworking and is a pleasure to coach. Whether it’s at practice or in the state championship game, you know she’s going to step on the field and give it her all,” said Newsome Head Softball Coach Ally Ledenham.

The team left for Columbia on October 9 and won all eight of their games in the 10-day tournament. Ginder played in six out of the eight games. This was the first time that Ginder and her teammates on the U-17 National Team had played together. She was already familiar with one of her teammates, Tieley Vaughn, who plays for Wharton High School in Tampa.

“When the team won gold, it was honestly kind of surreal, because this was a team who had only met each other a week ago and we were able to go 8-0 in this tournament,” said Ginder. “I was so excited that we were able to accomplish what we came there to do and proud of my team for working so hard throughout the week to get there.”

The senior middle infielder is committed to playing college softball at Furman University in South Carolina. In her spare time, Ginder helps out with the Special Olympics, and she coaches a 12-U softball team as well. She would eventually like to make the Olympic team.

She will have one more season at Newsome where she wants to make it to states again. Last season, the Wolves made it all the way to the state championship game.

“Claire is a huge asset to this program, and I’m excited to see her step into a leadership role as she enters her senior season,” said Ledenham. “I am extremely proud of Claire for making the U-17 softball team and am excited that she was able to show off her talent and hard work on such a huge stage.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.