Dordt College News

Serrato Part Of National Team

October 15, 2012

By: Sam Ekstrom, Dordt College Sports Information Student Assistant

Nick Serrato is headed to Argentina this fall, and it’s not for a semester abroad. The Dordt sophomore will be competing for a gold medal at the Junior Men’s Fast Pitch World Championships with 17 fast pitch softball players from across the country.

“I was excited,” said Serrato about being named to the team. “I really enjoyed the two-year tryout period, and now I am just stoked.”

Serrato’s pursuit of a Team USA roster spot began before he set foot on Dordt’s campus. The summer prior to his freshman year, the Corona, California, native was invited to a tryout camp in San Diego. The invitation came as a complete surprise.

Growing up in Southern California meant the Corona High School graduate could focus on baseball and softball year round. Although he didn’t join a local softball league until his senior year, it only took one year to get noticed. A coach in the league sent Serrato’s name to U.S. Head Coach Tim Lyon; the rest is history.

“I didn’t know the team existed,” said Serrato. “I had no idea. I just got an email from Coach Lyon saying I was accepted into a camp. It said ‘USA Softball, Men’s Fast-Pitch.’”

“We called coach and once they said it was all free, we went for it.”

Serrato’s performance at the week-long camp earned him an invite back to San Diego two weeks later. His second week of tryouts kept him in consideration even as he headed to Dordt for his freshman year. Also a baseball player, Serrato was the Defenders’ starting shortstop and earned a team-high .343 batting average last spring. What he didn’t know was that more was still to come.

Serrato was one of 24 top-tier softball players to compete in a Salt Lake City tryout in June. From there, 20 players, Serrato included, competed in the final audition, a July tournament in Midland, Michigan. The final cuts were made in August, and Serrato learned that he was selected.

Serrato understands the magnitude of representing his country on the international stage. For many, the experience would be overwhelming, but the sophomore is committed to staying focused on his preparation for the big event.

“Right now, I’m just trying to do what I can to get ready for it. Everything’s going to be all out, letting it go; leave no regrets, leave it all on the field,” he says.

The United States hasn’t medaled in the World Championships since 1985, but Serrato, playing shortstop for the Red, White, and Blue, is optimistic about his nation’s chances against the best in the world.

“We should medal,” said the shortstop. “In Utah and Michigan, we played some of the top older guys from the previous national team and beat them. They were throwing harder than our national team.”

Serrato’s successful baseball career does not automatically translate into competitive softball. He’s been getting advice in the batting cage from several Dordt women softball players, as well as Dordt’s head softball coach, Jeff Zomer.

The United States’ team will be facing pitchers who can throw up to 85 MPH from a 46-foot mound, giving hitters less than four-tenths of a second to react. Asked which sport’s pitching was more challenging to hit, Serrato says, “Softball by far. You’re closer, the speed’s faster, and you’ve got a ball that can drop and a ball that can rise. In baseball you don’t have any balls that can rise, which is really different.”

The national team will report to Argentina in late October for a series of friendly games before the real tourney begins on November 1. Meanwhile, the players are working out individually and reporting their activity to Coach Lyon.

“It’s still unbelievable,” Serrato said. “Everything’s been a blessing; that’s all I can say. I’m just blessed to be a part of something like this.”

“On a scale of one to ten, I’m probably at about an eleven,” concluded Serrato.

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