Megan Grant is living the dream.
Having recently finished her junior year at Aragon, the softball shortstop is enjoying life on the road this summer. The highlight was her recent stop in Oklahoma City to audition for Team USA’s U-18 Junior Women’s National Team Wednesday and Thursday.
Well, you know what they say about good news. It travels fast. So, while Grant was getting some much-needed sleep Friday afternoon in an Oklahoma City hotel room, she received a phone call from her older brother Cam Grant and was rubbing the sleep out of her eyes as he informed her the U-18 roster had been announced — and she indeed made the cut.
“It’s like it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Grant said. “I’m just so proud of myself, proud that I made other people proud that were believing in me. That’s all I can ask for and do, and I’m just so excited for what’s to come.”
Grant is one of 16 players to be selected from a national pool to represent the Team USA juniors. While she traveled from Oklahoma City to Colorado over the weekend as part of the West Bay Warriors travel team, she is now scheduled to embark on some international travels in August. With the Team USA Junior team slated to play in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Junior Women’s World Championships, and the Junior Pan American Games, she is now on board to play in Lima, Peru and Barranquilla, Columbia.
Less than half the players who tried out were selected for the Junior squad, with 33 players reporting Tuesday.
“They were like 33 of the real great players and I knew that coming in,” Grant said. “I knew it was going to be tough from the get-go because when you watch them play it was like: ‘Wow!’ Wow factor.”
Grant — a left-handed hitting shortstop with phenomenal power and cannon arm — showed off her tools in Wednesday’s softball combine. She said she’s done similar combines at UCLA, where she is committed to play in 2023, but Team USA’s involved a greater range of skills.
Still, it’s a level of competition Grant welcomes.
“Because I’ve trained for that type of stuff and I knew my strength would play a big factor,” Grant said.
Grant also faced live pitching Wednesday and Thursday, bouncing back after a hitless Day 1 to knock some singles and doubles around the yard on Day 2.
“I wanted to see how I leveled with them,” Grant said. “… It was better the second day because I started making adjustments to the pitchers.”
In the grand scheme of Grant’s week, the tryout was just a warmup. After she wrapped up her audition at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, she commuted across town to join the West Bay Warriors and her best friend Liv DiNardo for their Friday morning finale in the Top Flight tournament, a 4-3 loss to Georgia Impact Premier.
The Warriors posted a 2-3 record in the tournament and got no-hit last Thursday. Grant played in just one game. DiNardo was 4 for 13 with a home run in the tourney.
Still, Grant said she’s happy just to be back on the diamond after 2020 shuttered the high school and summer seasons.
“Very excited,” Grant said. “Just to have that time with my team and everything, because before COVID, it was like a bummer not being able to be with my team. We had so much fun at all these tournaments … because we’d go out and go so many different places.”
Grant and DiNardo drove to Colorado together in anticipation for Tuesday’s tournament opener for the Warriors. DiNardo — who committed to University of Arizona last December — is in the midst of a fairly dynamic 2021 herself. The left-handed hitting catcher played mostly corner infield for Aragon as a junior this season, leading the team with a .764 batting average and eight home runs.
As for the thought of a rivalry when Grant and DiNardo go on to play for competing Pac-12 teams in college, Grant immediately dismissed the idea.
“Maybe the teams,” Grant said, “but never us.”