A USA baseball jersey hung in Ashton Lansdell’s closet.
One day, she had the urge to slip it on. As she looked in the mirror, it all finally felt real.
“I had it on for about 10 minutes, and I was like, ‘This is cool,’” Lansdell said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m on Team USA.’”
The Wheeler pitcher made the final cut for a 20-player roster that will represent the U.S. at the Women’s Baseball World Cup from Aug. 22-31 in Viera, Florida.
The team consists of the best women baseball players in the country, varying in age level. Lansdell is the youngest at 17 years old, so she had do acclimate herself with players twice her age or more, becoming good friends with 44-year-old Tamara Holmes.
“At the dugout, it was like, ‘Atta kid,’ or, ‘Way to go, kid,’” Lansdell said. “It was really fun. They were really funny. We jelled right away, and there weren’t any problems or anything like that. She was a mentor to me basically.”
Beyond the field, Lansdell connected with her teammates in the hotel. She said everyone was welcoming, and they would talk before their nightly meetings.
While she is competing for Team USA, Lansdell’s main position will be in the middle infield, but she could see time on the mound pitcher or in the outfield.
Before the Team USA tryouts in Cary, North Carolina, Lansdell attended the Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series, where she improved her fielding and her pitching motion. She worked on whipping through her pitching motion, which has increased her velocity from the high 70s to the low 80s.
The improvements contributed to Lansdell earning a spot on the Team USA roster. The team has yet to have an official practice, so she has not had the chance to work with head coach Matt Weagle, but Weagle was at tryouts and watched Lansdell go through drills.
This is the first year the U.S. will host the World Cup, so members of the team have traveled to the likes of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park to show off the trophy. Lansdell has not been on the road yet, but she will be make the short trip to represent Team USA on Aug. 13 at SunTrust Park.
“(The trophy) is super shiny,” Lansdell said. “It was cool because, one day, this could be ours, and I could be a part of this team and win the World Cup. It’s like winning a gold medal. I thought it was cool to potentially see that could be ours, and I can be part of this.”
Lansdell’s summer has extended a milestone year for her. During the spring, she was believed to have become the first girl to start a varsity baseball game in Cobb County history, pitching 3 1/3 innings in a win against Pebblebrook.
Lansdell went on to finish the season with a 2-1 record and 5.20 ERA.
Lansdell is excited about the opportunity to play in the World Cup and is eager to be a part of history every time she slips on the USA jersey.
“I think, for us, home-field advantage is a big one because it’s in our country,” Lansdell said. “I won’t be as nervous. It gives us more motivation to win more because it’s on our soil.”