A Pair of Little League Graduates Help Alabama Make History
Success on the softball field is something Jackie Traina and Ryan Iamurri have always enjoyed.
The duo, which has played together since the age of six, started a long line of success at an early age. As members of the 2006 Little League Junior Division all-star team from Naples (Fla.) Girls Softball Little League, they helped Naples capture the Southern Region title, winning all five games, while allowing only one run, earning a trip to the Junior League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash.
Like in the regional, the team dominated the 10-team World Series field going undefeated in six games, allowing only two runs and winning five of the games by shutout, on its way to the World Series championship.
A couple years later, they would add to their championship pedigree, helping the Naples High School softball team to the state championship in 2008.
Following high school, the friends and teammates decided to attend the same school, the University of Alabama, and continue playing softball.
In June, Jackie and Ryan helped the Crimson Tide softball program make history winning the program’s first NCAA championship.
The title was also the first for any softball program in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Ms. Traina, a 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher who also plays a utility role as an infielder, won 19 games in her first season at Alabama. She earned all-conference and All-America honors while shouldering most of the pitching duties this year. Posting 42 wins in 45 decisions, Traina pitched every inning for the Crimson Tide in the Women’s College World Series. She set a school record with 361 strikeouts this season.
The World Series MVP and SEC Pitcher of the Year, Ms. Traina helped Alabama come back in the best-of-three games World Series format, after Oklahoma had won the first game, 4-1. Ms. Traina had three hits and four RBI while pitching Alabama to 8-6 and 5-4 victories to claim the national championship.
Ms. Iamurri, a 4-foot-10 infielder, played in a reserve role for the Crimson Tide this season seeing action in 24 games and hitting .375. Alabama finished the 2012 season with a 60-8 record.
Just two days after leading Alabama to the first national title in program history, Ms. Traina left to take part in an invitation-only tryout for the USA Softball Women’s National Team. A few days later, she earned one of the 17 spots on the roster and a chance to play in international tournament competition, including the Women’s World Championship in late July.
Ms. Traina pitched in five games for the U.S. team, including a one-hitter against Puerto Rico to pick up her only victory. The U.S. team lost to Japan in the championship game, its only loss in the 10-game tournament.
Both players will return for Alabama in 2013 as the Crimson Tide look to defend its national championship.
The 2012 Junior League Softball World Series will be played Aug. 12-18 in Kirkland, Wash. The 14th Junior League Softball World Series features nine teams, six of those from the U.S. Croswell Lexington Little League from Croswell, Mich., won the championship last year.
2006 Junior League Softball World Series Champions Naples (Fla.) Girls Softball Little League