Jan. 26, 2012
BERKELEY - While many student-athletes were spending their first half of December studying for finals and then spending time with their families, freshman Cheyenne Cordes was chasing gold in South Africa with the U.S. junior national team. At the International Softball Federation Junior Women's World Championship, the Americans defeated Japan 4-1 in the title match to secure gold and finish the tournament with a 10-1 record. In South Africa, Cordes started all 11 games and paced the U.S. squad with 15 hits, 12 RBI, 28 total bases and slugging 1.077. Cordes also spent a good chunk of her summer playing with the junior team, facing off against current teammate Valerie Arioto on several occasions. CalBears.com chatted up Cordes about the last six months with USA/ASA Softball, especially about winning gold in South Africa.
CalBears.com: What was the overall experience in South Africa like for you?
CC: My experience in South Africa was one that I will never forget. South Africa was such a wonderful place to hold a world championship. I learned a lot, met a lot of people and won a gold medal.
CalBears.com: What was the food like in South Africa?
CC: The food in South Africa was very similar to food here in the USA, only I feel it is better there. They eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but they also have fast food like McDonalds and KFC.
CalBears.com: What was the softball experience like for you?
CC: The softball experience was great. We played a lot of games against many different countries. It is always interesting to see how people play and teach the game in other countries.
CalBears.com: How do you think your team performed in South Africa?
CC: I feel that we performed very well in South Africa. We did what we needed to do and we were able to pick up the intensity to rise to the challenges that other teams would present us with.
CalBears.com: You guys only lost once in 11 games, which is crazy impressive. What was that loss like? Were you concerned you wouldn't win the next game?
CC: Our loss against Japan was a learning experience. We came out lacking intensity and the Japanese took advantage of it. After our loss, I knew we were not going to lose again in the tournament. Losing 9-0 is a very humbling thing, but it was exactly what we needed to be able to win the gold medal.
CalBears.com: What's it like to play with all these girls from programs across the nation now that you'll be playing against them instead of with them during the Cal season?
CC: I feel it is an advantage and a disadvantage. I know each and every girl very well, but they also know me very well. I also think I benefitted from play with girls that are so talented because they have pushed me to also try and be the best I can be.
CalBears.com: How was it to balance your first finals week while being in South Africa?
CC: Balancing school in South Africa was a very stressful thing because of the huge time change. Cape Town is a 10-hour time difference.
CalBears.com: What's your favorite memory from the last six months of playing with the U.S. junior national team?
CC: My favorite memory is winning the gold medal in South Africa and the celebration after the game. I also enjoyed the medal ceremony.
CalBears.com: What was it like to play against future teammate Valerie Arioto over the summer?
CC: Playing against Val this last summer was fun. I really enjoyed socializing with her and asking her questions about school. She is also a great ball player from whom you can learn from just by playing against her and watching her.
CalBears.com: Talk to us about the Under Armour Game. What was it like? How was it to share that experience with future Cal teammates Jolene and Danielle Henderson?
CC: The Under Armor All-American game was a lot of fun. The game itself is a lot like a showcase where everyone gets playing time and everyone gets at bats. Being able to share such a big experience with Jo and Dani made it so better because we are very close and enjoy each other on and off the field.
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