Rogers makes Team USA Junior Olympic softball team

Jefferson Middle School eighth-grade student Kennidie Rogers wears her Team USA Junior Olympic softball team jersey during a recent tryout in Ashland. Rogers found out she made the team and starts practice on Oct. 22.

Kennidie Rogers eats, breaths and lives softball.

The eighth grader at Jefferson Middle School is attempting to further herself in the sport.

One big step was a recent tryout for Team USA’s Junior Olympic softball team in Ashland.

“I was so pumped up,” said Rogers, who is 13. “It was amazing. I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to try out for something like that.”

A few weeks after the tryout, Rogers received a call from her mom, Brittany, who received a confirmation email saying Kennidie has made the team.

“I was on my way to school,” Rogers said. “The bus has to wait for the bell to ring. I received a call and my mom said, ‘Ken, you made the team.’ I started freaking out.”

Rogers’ next journey with softball starts on Oct. 22 in Ashland, Ohio. She said the team will travel through Ohio and the United States.

“I’m blessed for her,” Brittany Rogers said. “We hope she can continue to grow and learn from these experiences.”

Dave Granchi, her Ohio Cobras coach, was given invite information for the tryout and believed Rogers was ready for the Team USA tryout challenge. He passed the information to Brittany Rogers.

“Kennidie and I went through the registration process that ultimately led her to be a tryout candidate,” Brittany Rogers said.

Team USA Softball, the high performance program Rogers tried out for, identifies a pool of athletes to train, compete and represent USA Softball through domestic and international competition. Athletes had a chance to make a USA Softball National Team to participate with USA Softball at a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) international event — the Olympics.

The Team USA High Performance includes 10 regions and 62 local areas throughout the country.

Rogers went through a series of tests and drills.

“We started with hitting, then fielding, throwing accuarcy, speed and they watched us play,” she said.

Rogers played centerfield for theTeam USA tryout, but is also a shortstop and third baseman for the Cobras.

She also plays basketball and volleyball, but softball is her first love with basketball a close second.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 4,” Rogers said of softball. “I fell in love with the game. My dream is to make the Junior Olympics and play Division I in college.”

The Rogers family, which also consists of Kennidie’s father, Aaron, and two younger siblings, are on the road almost every weekend for softball.

“Over the years, playing travel ball has prepped us for this,” Brittany Rogers said. 

Rogers started playing softball at age 6.

She spent a few years in Jefferson league, until moving into travel ball at age 9.

Brittany Rogers is proud of her daughter, and her accomplishments thus far.

“I’m grateful for her to have that opportunity,” he said. “She works so incredibly hard. She’s very devoted to the sport.

“I know how hard she’s worked. I’m filled with joy for her. 

Rogers is appreciative the support she’s received, and the chance to represent Jefferson on such a large-scale competition level.

“This whole thing is a great memory,” she said. “Dreams are coming through before my eyes. I can say I’m on the Junior Olympic Softball team.

“It’s all happened so fast. This is going to stick with me for my whole life.”

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