Durango’s 13-year-old Teagan Kehm is about to have the softball experience of her life.
After a grueling March tryout session in Glendale, Arizona, Kehm was chosen to play for the 12-and-under Far West region team in the 2017 USA Elite Select Futures All-American Softball Games next month in Kissimmee, Florida.
Kehm is the only player from Colorado on the 12-and-under Far West team. Though now 13, she was 12 at the beginning of the season, which allows her to play on the 12U team. She will join others from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah at the July 31-Aug. 5 tournament. The games will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort.
“When I saw that I made the team, I just kind of started tearing up,” Kehm said in a phone interview with The Durango Herald. “I was really nervous and I thought I wasn’t going to get picked. They did a live video broadcast to announce the team. When I saw the video I was so happy.”
Kehm, a student at Mountain Middle School, plays for 12U Durango Danger and competes against older competition for the 14-and-under Farmington Halos. She was allowed to try out for two potential positions at the March 17 showcase. Her favorite position is pitcher, but the USA Elite Far West staff chose her as an outfielder after an evaluation of her overall skill-set. Kehm said she was grateful for the help of her coaches, Mark Napier and Sheldon Ben, for teaching her the tools to succeed on the diamond.
“First, they tested my arm speed to see how fast I could throw and then they did some hitting drills,” she said. “Then they made us catch fly balls, did some infielding drills and tested our speed. Usually, I pitch so I thought it was a miracle that they picked me to play outfield. I felt I did best in the speed and arm strength drills, and that’s probably why I made it.”
The 26-girl Far West roster was split into two teams that will compete in separate American and National brackets. They will compete against other teams from the Atlantic, Midwest, Central, Northwest, Southeast and Great Lakes regions.
Pool Play begins with two games on Aug. 1 and Kehm’s Far West National bracket team will start in Pool C with Central, Midwest, and Northwest teams. The championship games for each age group will be broadcast on ESPN3 and streamed on the WatchESPN application.
Softball aside, Kehm will visit the Sunshine State for the first time in her young life and more than anything, she just wants enjoy the journey with her family.
“It’ll be a long drive, but it’s exciting to be able to go to Florida and play against a bunch of teams from around the country,” she said. “I hope we win some games, but I’m kind of just hoping to enjoy the new experience.”