They’ll go, they’ll see and maybe they’ll even conquer.
Members of a local club softball team are heading to Italy next week for 10 days of international competition, sightseeing and camaraderie.
Seven players from the Santa Monica Rebels will become athletic ambassadors on the trip, which will pit them against Italian teams in three sets of double-headers in Padua, Rome and Florence.
“They’ll get to represent America,” said Rebels coach Chris Druckman, who was chosen as a coach for the Italy-bound squad. “It’s an amazing opportunity for these girls.”
The trip is organized by America’s Team, a company that offers sports-centric travel opportunities to young athletes from across the country.
The journey was arranged after the company reached out to Druckman, whose local players will join athletes from Kentucky to create a full roster.
The Santa Monica contingent includes recent Pacifica Christian graduate Emma Miller, who will attend University of Puget Sound in Washington state, and three other area products: former Palisades High student Sydra Gianassi (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) and Los Angeles-Hamilton alumnae Viveka Cousins (Wesleyan) and Emily Kalbrosky (Oregon).
The Italy-bound 19-and-under roster also features Santa Monica High junior Makensey Druckman, Palisades senior Daisy Jones and Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies junior Dani Pechthalt.
Their overseas trip is part of a busy summer of softball.
Recently, the girls and their Rebels teammates earned a silver medal in what Druckman called a “nail-biting” district championship game in Rancho Cucamonga. The second-place finish qualified the Rebels for a state tournament July 10-12 in Lancaster.
The day after the state competition ends, seven players will fly to Italy. And when they return from abroad, they’ll rejoin their Rebels teammates to compete in national championships in Spokane, Washington.
The Rebels have represented Santa Monica at the district, state and national levels every year since 2012, when they splintered from another Santa Monica-based softball club to play in more competitive games and leagues. Last year, they took second in districts and third in state to qualify for the national championships in Wyoming.
Druckman, a longtime softball coach in the area who has helmed Brentwood School’s varsity program, was hoping to take more Rebels players on the Italian excursion.
“It came down to finances for a lot of the girls,” said Druckman, who is still raising money through crowdfunding website Piggybackr. “That was my first goal — to give the same opportunity to everybody. A few had to drop out because they couldn’t afford it, and we couldn’t raise enough money.”
The girls who make the trip will do much more than play softball. They’ll also meet foreign players, sample local food and visit cultural and historical sites like Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and Vatican City.
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, email@example.com or on Twitter.