TAMPA, Fla. – Sophomore softball player Bethaney Keen had her eyes on the prize – the Olympics and the Women’s College World Series – while training at University of South Florida’s facilities on Thursday.
The first baseman represented Team USA at the World Cup of Softball in 2017 in Oklahoma, and remains extremely humble.
“BK is doing a fine job of not letting that USA part get to her and the ego part. She has really put her ego in check and is a fine player,” head coach Ken Eriksen said.
The 5-foot-6 Keen took the University of Florida softball team by storm, opening her 2017 season with two-run walk-off homer. She led the team with seven multiple RBI games and 14-extra-base-hits.
“I know I can do better than last year’s stats. I want to try to achieve each year,” Keen said. “There were a lot of things last year where I had to adjust starting as a freshman.
“Knowing myself, I always want to get it right the first time. I wanted perfection. I think I could have done better if I accepted that it was not going to happen right away.”
Women’s softball had its Olympic debut in 1996 and was last played in 2008. It was removed from 2012-2016 and will be back in 2020.
In 2011 Eriksen was named head coach of Team USA while in a time without Olympics.
“Any time you have a national team with those three letters, USA, in this country that is playing on TV or touring it is really, really popular,” Eriksen said. “When we were not in the Olympics we were not that shining team and that medal team. Now we do again … being back right now is injecting a lot of enthusiasm back into the youth sports areas.”
Keen could not contain her smile while explaining her taste for the world stage, and has big dreams to fulfill after college.
“To hear that (the Olympics are) back, not just for me because of course that’s a big dream of mine,” she said.
“I’ll continue work hard to maybe one day achieve that dream (for herself) but for other young girls around the world and to see that they have something to work for.”