In late August Platteville’ Halli Austin took a once in a lifetime trip to Italy to play softball as part of United States Prospects all-star team.
Austin played third base for the United States team that went 5–1 and finished second in the eight-team, four-day tournament in Arezzo, Italy.
Austin’s USA team defeated Czechoslovakia, Germany and one of the two Italian teams to go undefeated in pool play.
In the championship bracket, Austin’s team defeated Holland, then the other United States team to reach the championship, before losing a 7–4, four-inning, time-limit shortened championship game to the host Italian team from Arezzo.
“Playing softball over there was so much fun,” said Austin. “It was interesting hearing all the other teams cheer from their dugout in their languages. They were very vocal. It was also neat meeting players from the other teams from all over the world and trying to talk to them and learn new words in their language.”
Austin had teammates from all over the US, including Washington, California, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, New Jersey, Oregon, Connecticut, Michigan, Louisiana. She was the only player from Wisconsin. Her team was coached by Chris Flanagan from Weatherford College in Texas.
“We all got along really well,” said Austin. “We had a lot of bonding time at the hotels, site-seeing, gift shopping and eating as a team.
Besides the athletic experience Austin and her team had the opportunity to tour Florence as well as the Italian capital of Rome.
“Rome was fun, but it was very busy,” said Austin. “We walked 11 miles one day in Rome. They don’t drive. They walk everywhere. The Colosseum was cool to see because you think about all the movies you see it in, but it’s so much different now.
“The Florence Cathedral was also neat to see,” added Austin. “It was so beautiful, and so huge. It is three or four times the size of buildings you see here at home. We looked up 200 feet and could see people on balconies at the top of the church. They looked like ants.”
Austin was joined on the trip by her parents Scott and Jona Austin.
Austin is now a freshman at Muscatine Community College in Muscatine, Iowa, where she plays third base and first base for the Cardinals’ softball team. Muscatine CC is 2–1 so far during the fall season.