Friday, October 10, 2003
By BOB WOOD
Australia has one of the world’s top Olympic softball teams. It has produced over 50 current major and minor league baseball players.
Sports, in general, and fastpitch, in particular, are passions Down Under. And that’s where local standout Ashley Carter gets to play softball next summer.
Back in September, the Hood River Valley High School senior attended a Coast to Coast Softball tryout at Western Oregon University. She and 10 other girls from Oregon were competing to be chosen as one of 39 players from around the country to represent the United States in either Australia or Hawaii.
But Carter had to do a lot more than sign up. She had to perform.
The tryouts were a series of two- to three-hour skill-testing activities, and Carter explained that it wasn’t easy. The first part of the tryout was a running test, in which each girl had to run the 60-yard dash twice.
“I was the fastest,” Carter said. “The coach said I was faster than most of the boys, too. Then, after we ran, we had to take grounders, so I went to third base,” she said.
Carter has played varsity infield for HRV since her sophomore year, earning all-conference honors in each of the past two seasons. But her high-school accomplishments didn’t make her overconfident.
“When I got there, I saw that I had to do my best,” she said. “I didn’t expect to make the team, because I knew they were holding tryouts in all 50 states.
“But,” she said, “after I saw the other girls try out, I figured that I might have a chance.”
Carter is one of 13 girls representing the United States in the Australian tournament from June 29-July 12, 2004. And although she tried out at third base, she may end up playing anywhere on the field.
During the team’s time in Australia, they will play between 10 and 14 games, receive some of the best coaching available, and see some of the world’s most amazing sights (including Sydney Harbor, the Sydney Opera House, and the site of the 2000 Olympic Games).
Coast-to-Coast says each of the girls selected “will be provided with the coaching and competitive opportunities that will help them achieve their dream of playing at the collegiate or national level.”
Meanwhile, Carter hopes the experience will help her grow as both a player and as a person.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge