Academy at the Lakes senior Lauren Evans is in Toronto to play with the Great Britain U19 national softball team. KYLE LOJACONO
BY KYLE LOJACONO Tribune correspondent
Published: June 29, 2013
Updated: June 30, 2013 at 12:50 AM
LAND O'LAKES - Lauren Evans' softball résumé is loaded. The Academy at the Lakes senior has led the Wildcats to playoff berths every year since joining the team as an eighth-grader, including district championships the last two years and an appearance in the Class 2A state final four in May. She batted .610 with 19 RBIs and six triples and scored 31 times in 17 games as a junior. Jerry English has coached high school softball in central Pasco County for 30 years, including Evans the last two years at Academy. He described his shortstop simply.
"She doesn't have a weakness," English said. "If you came up with a list of the 10 things you look for in a softball player, some of the best have eight check marks or seven. Most have some weakness, but not her. Lauren has a perfect score. She's the only one I've had that I can honestly say that about." Evans' ability grabbed the interest of USF softball coach Ken Eriksen, where she committed to play as a sophomore. And now, the 6-foot Evans can add national team player to her list of accomplishments. On Monday, she beings play in the world championships in Toronto with the Great Britain U19 national team. "Coach Eriksen got an e-mail from the Great Britain coach saying they were looking for players," Evans said. "I went to Georgia to try out. I guess they liked me. I was really nervous at first, but then, I was able to settle down and just treat it like any other practice." Evans was born in the U.S., but her mother is from Essex, England. Evans said she will likely see time at first and third base and in the outfield during the world championships and added she's stepped up her workouts in preparation. "It's a different kind of pressure and it'll be a lot more intense than anything I've done," Evans said. "It's a different level than high school or club. Almost everyone is a really high-level college player, so it's going to be tough. It's international softball, so it's the best." Evans said making the national team is one of the "highlights" she's had since picking up softball at age 7 at Land O' Lakes Little League. "Being able to get to play at USF is probably top, and this is right there after," Evans said. "It's something I'll always remember." And English said he's sure her competition will remember Evans. "I've been able to see what she can do, and the other teams in the area have, too. Now the rest of the world will get to see her, too," English said. "I'm sure she'll do a great job just like she always does." Tribune correspondent Kyle LoJacono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @Kyle_LoJacono.