Highland: Sports

Highland High School grad gets rare chance to play softball overseas

Highland High School 2014 graduate Alyssa Voegele has been selected to participate in the 2015 Amsterdam Tour with Team AIST Softball.

AIST is American International Sports Teams.

Voegele, a catcher who is currently playing her college ball at Millikin University in Decatur, will join together with players from all across the nation for a rare opportunity to compete internationally.

Voegele and Team USA teammates will be traveling May 27 through June 6 to play four to five exhibition games against international competition, with stops in Paris, France; Antwerp, Belgium; and Amsterdam, Holland.

“This opportunity means the world to me,” she said. “Being able to travel the world and see different places and meet new people playing the game that I love. And being a part of Team USA is a feeling that is indescribable. This is definitely the neatest thing I have ever been involved with and something that I never would have thought would happen to me. I plan on getting to make some new friends, gaining a better understanding of the game and to meet new people who love playing (softball) just as much as I do.”

Beginning and successes

Voegele has been playing organized softball since she started in kindergarten with tee ball in the Highland Youth Baseball and Softball League (HYBSL). Her love for the sport prompted her to join a select softball team, The Black Widows, in fourth grade.

Her Black Widows 10U team won the ASA State Championship and the ASA Northern National Tournament.

The Highland Middle School team Voegele was on broke several school records and finished third at state.

She went on to contribute to the 2014 Highland High School softball team, which won the the Regional and finished second in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

For her considerable contributions both at the plate and behind it, Voegele was voted the First Team All-MVC catcher. In addition, she was selected to play for the Illinois team in the Missouri/Illinois All-Star Game last June.

Voegele is currently attending Millikin University, where she has started every game as the catcher and has put up impressive statistics as a freshman. Through the first 28 games of her collegiate career, Voegele is hitting .326 (28-for-86), which ranks fourth on the squad. She also ranks first in home runs (five), first in RBIs (26) and is tied for first in hits (28).

She also sits third in slugging percentage (.535), fourth in on-base percentage (.396). She has three doubles and eight runs scored and has only struck out nine times in 86 at-bats. In addition, Voegele has a fielding percentage of .948 and has caught 10 of 24 baserunners stealing.

“Softball is my passion, my love, and a huge part of who I am,” said Voegele, who is majoring in athletic training.

Family pride

Alyssa’a parents, Deanne and James Voegele, are obviously very proud of their daughter and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity she has been given.

“She’s worked so hard and has been so dedicated to her sport for the last 10 years,” Deanne Voegele said. “I think back on the weekly practices, the hitting lessons, league games, and out-of-town trips on the weekends. I can remember studying spelling lists and math facts on the way to practice during the week and making sure we had the laptop on the weekend so she could finish her homework.

“She’s had such great coaches and teammates who have helped her become the player and the person she is today, and I would like to thank all of them for their time and effort.

“This trip to Europe feels like the perfect reward for her hard work. Her dad and I could not be more proud, and I can’t wait to see her in her USA uniform.”

Unfortunately, because of the considerable cost of the trip, neither Deanne nor James will be able to accompany Alyssa on the trip.

Donations welcome

In order for this trip to be a success, the 2014 HHS grad has to raise $4,500 to cover her portion of the team’s expenses.

She would be very appreciative and thankful for any donations she would receive in order to help pay the expenses for the trip. Any donation given would go directly toward those expenses.

To donate, mail your donations to: Alyssa Voegele, 1405 State Route 160, Highland, IL 62249; or to pay directly, go to her account at GoFundMe.com.