NORMAN — For a change, USA Softball will determine its national team roster nowhere near the Sooner State and, for the first time since its inception, the World Cup of Softball will not be played in Oklahoma City.
Instead, while ASA Hall of Fame Stadium begins some major renovations, 25 women’s national team invitees will report to Lynchburg, Va., on June 8 for a five-day camp.
Afterward, the group will play games in Lynchburg on June 13, Findlay, Ohio, on June 17 and Purcellville, Va., on June 19. Three days later, on June 22, the national team roster will be announced.
There’s only one Sooner or former Sooner on the list of 25 and that’s outfielder Destinee Martinez, longtime leadoff hitter, and a departing senior, from Patty Gasso’s OU softball program.
Sooner slugger Lauren Chamberlain, who played for the national team last season, had been on the list of invitees until removing herself from consideration due to injury suffered during the regular season with the Sooners.
“She took herself off,” USA Softball national team director Ronnie Isham said.
Other Big 12 invitees include infielder Taylor Hoagland, who finished up at Texas in 2013, and Rhea Taylor, who finished up at Missouri in 2011, back when the Tigers were part of the Big 12.
Aimee Creger, the longtime No. 1 pitcher at Tulsa and a national team member last season, who just exhausted her Golden Hurricane eligibility, is also on the list of invitees.
Martinez will be attempting to make the team for a second straight summer.
Following selection, and exhibition games July 2-3 in Morgantown, W.V., the ninth annual World Cup of Softball begins July 7 in Irvine, Calif.
An unfortunate year for it to have to leave Oklahoma, this year’s event includes eight teams, none of which is the equivalent of Team USA’s junior varsity.
In addition to the U.S.; Japan, Canada, Taiwan, The Phillipines, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela will also be sending their national teams.