CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A combination of five current and former Lady Mocs softball players are scheduled to compete in the Pan American Classic in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico within the coming week. Chattanooga outfielder Nicole Osterman (Kissimmee, Fla.) and sophomore pitcher Jenny Garcia (Miami, Fla.) are tabbed to play for Puerto Rico and Columbia, respectively. Former Mocs Ninjja Suetsugu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Vivian Morimoto (Sao Paulo, Brazil) are set to play for their home country, Brazil, while December-graduate Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) will compete for the Mexican National Team.
“I think this is a great opportunity for these women and it offers amazing exposure for Chattanooga,” Head Coach Frank Reed said. “To have four international teams represented by active and former Lady Mocs makes us proud as coaches to have those kids playing at such high levels of competition, and I know they will make Chattanooga proud on the international stage.”
Play opens up Saturday, August 10 as Columbia and Brazil compete in Pool A while Puerto Rico and Mexico are in Pool B. Pool play continues through Thursday, August 15 before the semifinals begin Aug. 16. The tournament comes to a close Aug. 18 with the consolation game and championship game played at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
“I think this shows that Chattanooga sports a great level of softball,” Morimoto said. “I am very excited to play in Puerto Rico with these UTC athletes representing the Lady Mocs. It’s going to be great to meet up with them because I haven’t seen them since last season.”
Garcia and Osterman are both on roster, entering their third season with the Chattanooga softball program. Garcia, who played as a redshirt freshman in 2013, posted 15 hits and 13 RBI in her first full season on the diamond. The Miami native, on the rebound from a torn ACL suffered in 2012, also appeared in the circle in two games. Osterman participated in the 2012 World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as part of the Puerto Rican National Team.
The Brazilian duo of Morimoto and Suetsugu each spent two seasons with the Lady Mocs after transferring from Miami Dade Community College. Morimoto finished her career in 2012 after helping lead Chattanooga to a SoCon Championship and NCAA Regional appearance during the 2011 season. Suetsugu, a 2013 graduate, spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons on roster as an infielder, catcher and designated player. The sure-handed Suetsugu posted a .966 fielding percentage and 29 hits at the plate.
A former shortstop with the Lady Mocs, Traxler graduated December 2012. The Chino Hills, Calif. native rounded out her four-year career with Chattanooga in 2012 after earning three SoCon regular season championships and two SoCon Tournament titles. Traxler emerged as a threat at the plate during her senior lap, averaging .329 at the dish and smashing 12 home runs – a career best for the infielder – as she finished in double digits for the first time in her career.
“This is exciting for them and our team,” Reed said. “I hope it is a great learning experience for Jenny and Nikkie, and hopefully they can bring that experience with them back to Chattanooga. I believe it will offer a new perspective for the both of them on the game.”
For more information on the international tournament and a full schedule of upcoming games, click here.