Jessica Mendoza Keeping Busy
In a little more than a week, Jessica Mendoza will take a break from the United States softball team, say goodbye to her family in Camarillo, Calif., and catch a flight with Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller for a trip to Afghanistan, part of a goodwill tour put on by the U.S. Army.
“We want the troops to realize who they’re fighting for back home,” Mendoza said. “Those of us who are fortunate to wear USA on our chests really appreciate what they’re doing. You take it to another level in terms of sacrifice when you’re defending our freedom on another continent.”
Mendoza is the starting left fielder for the national softball team and one of finest players ever to wear the USA uniform. She was in Baltimore last Sunday along with catcher Stacey Nuveman, Mendoza’s teammate, putting on a clinic for local high school players at North County High School in Ferndale.
The clinic drew 75 players from such schools as North County, Northeast, Mount de Sales, Seton Keough, Archbishop Spalding, Institute of Notre Dame, Southern of Harwood and Walkersville High Schools and such club teams as the Lady Orioles, Lake Shore Lightning, Maryland Chill and the Shining Stars from Asburn, Va.
“When you get two superstars of the sport like Stacey and Jessica to come here, it’s a thrill for the kids,” said North County coach Tom Thompson, who hosted the clinic. “Hey, I’m thrilled. I’m mesmerized that they’re even here.”
More than a dozen of Thompson’s North County Knights turned out for the clinic, featuring two of the world’s best players. Mendoza went to Camarillo High School in Ventura County, Calif., and eventually to Stanford. She has spent the last five years on the U.S. team, winning a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and a World Championship last year. Three weeks ago, she hit .368 as the United States won the World Cup in Japan, beating the host Japanese for the title.
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