TAMPA, Fla. – Astin Donovan wants an opportunity to showcase her softball talents on the international level in Tokyo.
The decorated slugger from the University of South Florida is excited for the potential to represent the United States after the national Olympics Committee reintroduced the sport to the summer Olympics.
“My goal is definitely to play in Tokyo in 2020,” said Donovan, batting .301 this season. “I know there is a lot to work to be done, a lot of sacrifices to be made along the way but that is my ultimate goal.”
In 2016, the International Olympic Committee voted on the return of softball to the summer games after the softball was removed following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Donovan already has tasted the international level. She was selected to the 2015 Junior Women’s National Team. The outfielder went 2-for-4 with one run batted in and one run scored in the tournament.
“It is just something special to know you’re playing with the top players in the country, representing the red, white and blue, and you’re playing against the top competition in the world.” said Donovan, who currently holds a slugging average of .454 in her career at USF.
The slap hitter won’t have to go to far to impress the U.S. women’s softball coach. Ken Eriksen serves as both the head coach for the Bulls and the senior national team.
“She’s pretty much been the glue of what goes on here. She’s been a very consistent player in four years ever since day one,” Eriksen said, standing in the USF dugout before practice. “She’s battling herself every single day but not getting too hot on herself.”
The 2017 second-team all conference selection is still focused on making a national title run with the Bulls in her final year, but don’t be surprised to find a gold wrapped around her neck in two years time.
“She expects a lot out of herself, a very competitive person. She hates to lose much more than she loves to win,” Eriksen said. “She is the girl you want at the plate with the winning run on base. She’s going to come through in the clutch.”