Team USA softball catcher and utility player Sahvanna Jaquish hosted a softball skills camp at the ‘On Deck 2’ batting cages inside the Santa Maria Town Center Mall on Sunday morning.
The camp was originally supposed to be held in Arroyo Grande, then at Righetti High School, but Mother Nature had other plans and forced it to be held indoors.
35 campers, ages 10-14, had the opportunity to get some batting and fielding instruction from Jaquish. There was also plenty of time for the campers to get autographs and pictures with Jaquish at the end of the camp.
Jaquish says these opportunities are all about inspiring the younger generation of girls to get involved with the game of softball.
“I feel like it’s such an honor to have this platform to be able to grow the game that I love and the game that has given me so much,” Jaquish said. “Just traveling around and seeing the talent, I’m pretty sure that we have some Olympians right here in Santa Maria.”
She added, “I love coaching. I love giving back to these girls and seeing them grow, it makes me happy. I think it actually makes me a better ball player as well.”
Jaquish is a Highland, CA native and played her college ball at Louisiana State University. She was a four-time All-American selection at LSU and was a Player of the Year finalist her senior year in 2017.
Jaquish started her World Championship career as a member of the Puerto Rico National Team in 2014, then again in 2016. She also played professional softball with the Chicago Bandits.
With softball making its return to the Summer Olympics in 2020, Jaquish is excited to finally be a part of Team USA and represent the red, white, and blue in Tokyo.
“There is no word to put into a sentence that gets me so fired up about playing for my country,” Jaquish said with a big smile on her face. “Playing for Team USA is such an honor and the girls on the team carry that burden heavily.”
Team USA brought home the silver in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics after falling to Team Japan in the final, 3-1. It was the last time softball was involved in the Summer Olympics.
“We expect nothing less than a gold medal in 2020,” Jaquish said. “We only have one year, this year, to prove ourselves, so we’re going to need a lot of support, a lot of help, a lot of people watching. I promise you that it’s going to be a great game.”
The Summer Olympics will also welcome back baseball for the 2020 games in Tokyo.