After a stellar sophomore season hitting leadoff and playing left field for the Hollister High softball team, Madeline Bermudez had a lot to look forward to this summer.
The incoming junior recently suited up for Team Mexico’s 16U team in the Triple Crown International Challenge, one of the largest tournaments in the world. The event took place June 24-26 just outside of Denver.
Bermudez was selected out of over 600 applicants, with over 20 countries represented in the tournament. Mexico played three pool games—against Team USA, the Philippines and Italy—before losing 5-4 against Canada in a bracket elimination contest.
Bermudez played her normal position, left field, and started a couple of games. She said playing in the tournament was exciting because it was an international event, making for a lively setting.
“The atmosphere was totally different than what a travel ball atmosphere would normally be in the summer,” said Bermudez, who was eligible to play for Mexico because her grandparents were born there. “The crowd was really involved and loud, it was super energetic with a lot of music, noisemakers and dancing (in the background), and it was just a great experience playing with girls from all across the country.”
Bermudez plays her travel ball with Sacramento-based LGT, which stands for Love of the Game. She hooked up with the organization approximately a year ago, taking a liking to the program and coaches Jim Carda and Cat Carrisosa.
In fact, it was her travel ball coaches who encouraged Bermudez to apply for a spot on team Mexico. Bermudez’s grandparents live in the U.S., but own a home in Mexico and visit there periodically.
“My grandparents have been a big part of my life, so it felt great to represent my Mexican heritage and represent them,” she said. “I was very happy to be playing for team Mexico.”
Bermudez will be playing in the Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) Nationals July 22-30 in Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Irvine. LGT has four games scheduled over two days, on the 23rd and 24th, with the likelihood of additional games to be added depending on their record.
“PGF Nationals is probably one of the biggest showcases and really what we prepare our season for,” she said. “That’s our goal, to make a long run in the tournament.”
Bermudez has a goal to play at the four-year level, and if she continues to develop, it isn’t a huge stretch that a Division I offer could come her way. One thing is certain: she is confident she is in the right place to make it happen.
“I know they (Carda and Carrisosa) are really good at recruiting, getting players’ names out there and that is what I need to reach for and to go to the college level,” she said. “I know they have a lot of connections and so far it’s been very fun and hopefully it will be very influential for my future.”
Bermudez had a tremendous 2022 season for Hollister, which was one of just eight teams to earn a spot in the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs. Among the starters, Bermudez finished second on the team in batting average (.459), and third in runs scored (23), hits (34), and RBI (18), while hitting leadoff and playing excellent defensively in left field.
“It was a good year of experience for the girls to get to learn about each other,” Bermudez said. “This year I definitely was able to learn more about myself as a hitter since I got to see more pitching. I got to build my confidence up and learned how to trust myself against pitchers and my ability to hit.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]