Thanks to a speedy and accurate right arm, Samantha Barmore got the opportunity to showcase her pitching skills in Australia this month — playing for Team USA in a 23-and-under tournament that included more than a dozen teams from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Barmore, who graduated from Henry County High School in 2005 before moving on to the next level at Georgetown College, left for the trip July 1 and returned 12 days later. During a four-day stretch, Team USA played nine games with a 4-3-2 record. Barmore was 2-1-2 from the pitcher’s circle, including one game in the same stadium that was used for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
“That was the coolest thing about the whole trip,” Barmore said. “It was at night, the lights were on and the stadium was huge. When I got to pitch that game, it was like a dream come true.”
Team USA was composed of 12 women that played softball at the Division II, Division III and NAIA levels from all around the country. Barmore was invited to join the team by USA Athletics International during the winter, before she started her junior season at Georgetown.
“I had been invited to play in Europe my sophomore year, but I turned it down,” Barmore said. “But when I was asked to play in Australia, I had to take it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and there’s no way I could turn it down.”
Also asked to join the team was Barmore’s roommate, Jessica Craddock, who graduated from Shelby County High School in 2005 before becoming Barmore’s teammate the following year. While Barmore spent her time — both at Georgetown and on Team USA — in the pitcher’s circle, Craddock played first base.
“It was really cool for us to go together because we could share this experience,” Barmore said. “It was a really neat experience.”
After the nine games, Team USA failed to rank among the top four to move on to the finals, but still finished with an impressive record against some of the top younger players from around the world.
Barmore got the invitation to join the team based on her stellar play at Georgetown. She has been a Mid-South All-Conference selection, Mid-South Conference Pitcher of the Week selection and Mid-South All-Conference Honorable Mention.
As a junior last spring, she was the top pitcher for the record-setting Tigers. Georgetown had a 36-15 overall record, won the regular-season Mid-South Conference title for the first time in school history with a 15-5 conference record, advanced to the regional tournament for the first time, where the Tigers finished third, and was ranked in the NAIA top 20 rankings for the first time.
Barmore started 24 games and finished with a 12-6 mark and a 2.57 ERA. She had a 12-8 record with a 2.78 ERA as a freshman and a 13-6 record with a 1.73 ERA as a sophomore.
“As a team, my junior year went a lot better than my first two,” Barmore said. “Besides playing ball, the school was a great pick for me. I’ve really been blessed and can’t ask for anything more.”
Before committing to Georgetown, Barmore was a star pitcher for the Henry County Ladycats. She was named to the All-Conference, All-District and All-Region teams, and was named All-State Second-Team. During her four years of high school, Henry compiled a 57-42 record, including 22-13 and 19-7 during Barmore’s final two years, and advanced to the regional tournament twice.
The Ladycats also claimed the team’s first-ever North Central Kentucky Conference championship in 2005, with Barmore winning the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award.
While not pitching, Barmore also used her strong arm, and an accurate glove, at shortstop and a solid bat at the plate. After joining the Georgetown squad, she concentrated just on pitching and it paid off as she has stepped into the lead role heading into her senior year.
In the future, she might take other trips to play softball overseas, but the Australia trip is one she will never forget.
“I’ve been playing softball for a long time, and when I’m done with my senior year I’m probably finished playing,” said Barmore, who started pitching in the seventh grade. “But if the opportunity (to play softball in another country) came up again I would definitely consider it because it was such a great experience.”
Besides playing softball, Team USA got the chance to go sightseeing, saw some Australia landmarks, went surfing and kayaking, and met plenty of friends along the way. Towards the end of the trip, Barmore traded jerseys and e-mails with a player from New Zealand.
“The New Zealand team was very friendly, and since we had two jerseys each I decided to switch with one of their players,” Barmore said.
“That was really cool — how often do you get the chance to make a friend with someone from New Zealand?”
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