This June, seventh-grader Aurelia Ehry will compete for team Germany, honoring her mother’s nationality in The Triple Crown International Challenge softball tournament. In this unique, three-day softball tournament to be held in Colorado, players on each team share a common national heritage. Players must either be born in, or have ancestry in, the country they represent. Some of the 23 teams include Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea and Polynesia. Various national team and college coaches use the event to recruit players. Ehry says each player’s uniform bears the name of the city from which her descendants hail. She will represent the city of Frankfurt, Germany, in the competition.
Ehry’s mom moved from Germany to America in 2006, a year before Ehry’s birth in 2007. Since then, Ehry has visited family in Germany on multiple occasions.
“We went to Berlin and Frankfurt,” she remembers. “It was really fun to see my cousin and talk in person with my grandma.”
Ehry also gets a taste of Germany in her own home.
“My mom still makes a bunch of German dishes, and we make some German cookies,” she shares.
Ehry says softball isn’t widely popular in Germany, but she fell in love with the game. The young athlete started her career at age seven playing for Westlake Agoura Girls Softball (WAGS).
“We tried out a bunch of different sports,” she says, “but I didn’t really click with any of them until I started playing softball.”
She currently plays centerfield for her travel team, the Case Batbusters. The age cut-off for softball lands right after Ehry’s birthday, so the 13-year old is always in an age bracket with girls a few years older than herself. The challenge motivates her to excel in the sport.
“I really like having a goal to get as good as your opponents,” she says.
Her teammates welcome the youngster with open arms.
“The girls are all super sweet and they’re like big sisters to me,” she says. “I got really comfortable and I started to work harder and get better.”
Ehry practices with her team on Saturdays and Sundays in five-hour sessions. She also clocks hours independently throughout the week.
“I have batting practice and then I throw a little bit with my sister and my step-dad,” she explains. “That’s on my own.”
The seventh-grader’s hard work is paying off. When she first sent her skills video to the coach of the German team, showcasing her throwing speed, off-the-bat speed, fielding and base-running, she received a promising response. The coach “let us know that they were thinking about letting me on the team,” she told the Conejo Guardian.
Three weeks later, he called to say she’d been selected. She earned a roster spot among girls five years her senior, and will be the youngest player competing in the 2021 Triple Crown International Challenge. She is excited to make new friends and gain experience. The team is already meeting over Zoom, and will practice together in person in the days before the tournament.
Ehry looks forward to representing her family — and her national heritage.
“I think it’s really special and really cool,” she says. “I get to tell my grandma about how I’m representing Germany.”