Trail fastball player Emma Profili is set to swing for the fences at the 2016 Girls Class A USA National Fast Pitch Tournament in College Station, Tex. next week.
Profili plays firstbase and outfield for the Spokane Crash U16 girls fastpitch team that won the American Softball Association (ASA) Idaho Girls Fastpitch State Tournament earlier this month to qualify for the nationals. The Crash actually qualified twice, once by coming in first in a regional tournament in Vancouver, Wash. at the end of June, and again in the Idaho State ASA tournament.
“We won Idaho State, and a few others too so I think we’ve had a pretty good run,” said Profili.
The Spokane Crash leave for College Station on Saturday and begin play Aug. 1, along with 92 other teams from across the country, for the week long tournament that goes at Veteran’s Park – a massive facility with 16 baseball fields. Profili and the Spokane team also played in last year’s ASA Nationals in Chattanooga, Tenn. where they went 0-2 in the double-knockout tournament.
“I think we’re going down there just to compete,” said Profili. “It would be awesome if we won, but we’ll see when we get down there. Just competing and giving it our all every game would be really good.”
The 17-year-old joined a Coeur d’Alene team four years ago, then went to the Spokane Crash program the following year where her parents, Mark and Desneiges, have been shuttling her back-and-forth in winter and summer ever since. Between Emma’s fastball and their son’s hockey, the Profilis are on the road a lot but it’s a family commitment and one Emma believes is worthwhile.
“It’s a really big commitment, but I think it’s worth it,” said Emma. “Playing down in the States it’s a different level of fastball, and we really don’t have it here.”
Emma’s strength is her speed, and as a left-handed hitter and glove she has an added advantage on the base paths and as a first baseman. The J. L. Crowe student practices year round with the Crash team, traveling to Spokane in the winter to workout indoors, before hitting the diamond in March.
“We practice more basic techniques (indoors), like turning double-plays and that kind of stuff, but making sure everything is staying up to par, so for when we hit the real field we’re not two months behind.”
The commitment and dedication paid off as the team crashed through the 20-team Idaho State tournament undefeated, beating the USA Explosion 7-4 in the state final.
“I think it’s really helped (my game), because down there everyone is very, ‘We’re going to win no matter what’, it’s so much more fast-paced and focused and we’re playing really good teams so you have to jump up to that next level to compete too.”
The Profilis are back on the road this week for a few more practices in Spokane, before leaving for Texas on Friday. While Emma says she enjoys the travel, her favourite part of playing with the Crash and visiting new places is the people she meets along the way.
“Making all new friends, not just from Spokane on my team, but meeting girls from all over,” said Emma. “Like last year when we went to nationals we met girls from Hawaii and Alaska and Pittsburgh, so making new friends and being able to stay in contact with them is pretty cool.”
Emma, who graduates next year, is hoping to continue playing fastball at a U.S. college or university.