HALL OF FAME
Family feel aboard Cornelius-Bedel's Team USA Softball
July 11, 2014Oak Hills High School
by Thomas Skeen, Community Press
Family feel aboard Cornelius-Bedel's Team USA softball
GREEN TWP. – As Jackie Cornelius-Bedel prepares her Team USA Ohio softball squad for their trip to Germany July 21, she may want to adopt the familiar slogan of "We Are Family" made famous by the band Sister Sledge and used to fuel a World Series title run by the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Oak Hills High School softball coach will lead a roster of 14 softball players from the state of Ohio for nine days around Deutschland, where they will compete against other high school players from Germany in a round-robin-type tournament as well explore the country.
The family atmosphere around Team USA has a lot to do with the fact eight of the 14 players on the roster hail from Cincinnati with seven of those eight playing under Cornelius-Bedel at Oak Hills. The other players come from the Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland areas, but the newness and expected unfamiliarity has been anything but.
"I think the neatest part of this is there are kids coming in who didn't know our players and they all just jumped right in," Cornelius-Bedel said. "They're all pretty much natural leaders and all clicked right away. It's almost like we've known everybody forever and it's just that much neater going with such a talented group."
Also making the trip is Cornelius-Bedel's father, Rick, who is an assistant at Oak Hills and is playing the same role with Team USA.
"He's getting to experience something he's never experienced before," the coach added.
The nine-day venture will take Cornelius-Bedel back to her softball roots as well. The former Cleveland State University Viking once lived in Vienna, Austria, while playing in the European Pro Softball League will take the opportunity abroad to visit with some old friends and family.
"I'm meeting up with some teammates while there," she said. "The neatest part is I got to experience this when I was younger and now I'm excited the kids get to experience begin abroad. It's great to see the excitement on the kids' faces and it's such a great group. I'm excited to go with them."
The local players include Brooke Shad, Emily Wolfzorn, Taylor Biggs, Kylie Hayes, Hannah Basil, Brooke Hartman and Syd Bachsheider of Oak Hills, along with McAuley High School's Meghan Gabriel. The group will be joined by teams from Kansas, Illinois and Missouri, and while the goal is always to win, that's not necessarily the ultimate goal with this trip.
"It's more for experience and getting all the different countries familiar with the game of softball and how different it is from one place to another," Cornelius-Bedel said. "It's about culturalization."