D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Next week, one Mississippi gulf coast softball player will travel north of the border to play on the U.S. national JUCO softball team.
D'iberville's Danielle Craft will wear the red, white and blue at the Canadian Open Fastpitch Women's International Championship after being recognized by one of the opposing coaches in February when she had three hits in three at-bats and also threw out a runner when she was playing catcher.
"It was more of a right place at the right time kind of deal," Craft said. "It was one of my better games of the year. I was fortunate that I was playing that game against that team. I honestly can't remember who we played but the opposing coach came up to my coach and asked if I was interested."
The best junior college players from around America will fly to Seattle, Washington, next Wednesday before making their way up to Surrey, British Columbia.
Craft says the elite coaches are starting to recognize just how well Mississippi JUCO athletes can play.
"I hope that I can just be humble about it and be the softball player that I am and prove that Mississippi girls can compete with the best of them," Craft said. "We are so underrated as a state when it comes to softball. That's why our junior colleges are so good because the bigger schools overlook us. I hope I can go up there and make an impact not just for me and the Mississippi Gulf Coast program, but all the girls in Mississippi."
The teams at the Canadian tournament can play until the final day, which would be July 21st for the teams still fortunate enough to be remaining.
After a trip to "The Great White North," Craft will play her junior and senior seasons with Belhaven University, which is an NAIA school.
She attended D'Iberville High School before signing up for two years to play at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. MGCCC, also known as "Perk" and "Gulf Coast," is a place in which Craft knows she was fortunate enough to attend.
"I can't say enough and I'm so thankful that I went there," Craft said. "I was ultimately sad out of high school thinking that junior college was so beneath me since I thought I was a good athlete. I wanted to have that big-name school right out of high school but I think that going there was the best decision I ever made. Regardless of it being a big name or not, championships won or not, it's something I'll never regret and always appreciate."