Girl of summer
Lauren Frost knows she can hang with the boys. Now it’s time to see how she stacks up against the girls.
At just 15-years-old, Frost earned an invitation to try out for the 2013 U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team in Cary, N.C., on September 7-9.
Before heading to the Lower 48, Frost will travel to the 2012 Women’s Baseball World Cup on Aug. 10-19 in Edmonton, Alberta. The incoming Eagle River High sophomore earned a spot on the U-21 National All-Star team.
In Canada, Frost will compete against Australia’s best during a five-game series. But she’ll also have the opportunity to meet and train with the national team — who will look to once again claim World Cup gold.
The U.S. topped the podium in 2004 and 2006 defeating Japan — the two-time defending World Cup gold medalist — both times.
The U.S. National Team contacted Frost, and wanted a video displaying her skills. What they saw was enough for her to secure a spot on the U-21 All-Star roster and earned Frost a tryout for the national squad.
“I’m so excited,” Frost said.
Having grown up as the only girl on a team full of boys, the transition to an all-female team will be a unique experience, Frost said.
But, Frost said, she’s looking forward to meeting others who have had similar experiences.
Her father — and coach — Gregg, agreed.
“It’s going to be a great experience for her to go down there,” he said.
The exposure is another major benefit, Frost said, as most Alaskan ballplayers — especially females — go unnoticed.
The undoubted pressure that comes with a national tryout won’t discourage Frost.
“I almost prefer to be under pressure,” she said. “It makes me focus more.”
Frost developed that mind-set through her years playing on all-boys teams, Gregg said.
“She’s got that mental toughness to handle it,” he said.
While playing against boys has helped Frost develop into the athlete she is today, the unwavering support she’s received from her teammates is just as crucial.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without their acceptance,” she said. “They’ve become my best friends and made it easy along the way.”
Frost said her older brother, Kyle, has been her biggest advocate.
“Of all the teammates that have been supportive, my brother has been more supportive than anyone,” she said. “He always has my back.”
Frost has earned her spot on every male-dominated team.
Though her dad coaches Eagle River’s high school varsity and American Legion AA teams, when it comes to who makes the roster, Gregg said he doesn’t play favorites.
“I don’t look at my kids through rose-colored glasses,” he said following this year’s Legion tryouts.
Frost’s athletic prowess extends beyond the diamond.
As a freshman, she quarterbacked Eagle River’s varsity flag football team and was the starting point guard on the varsity basketball squad.
But for Frost, every other sport falls a distant second to American’s favorite pastime.
“Baseball has always been her favorite,” Gregg said. “She’s always watching baseball on TV.”
The intellectual side of the sport appeals to Frost.
“I love the mental part of the game,” she said. “It’s the stuff that happens in between the pitches that makes it so much fun.”
And it’s where she shines.
Gregg said he can count on his daughter to learn opposing teams’ signs in a matter a innings.
“She sees parts of the game that the average fan would not understand,” he said. “She’ll grow up to be a really good coach.”
As one of the youngest players on the Legion team, Frost said she doesn’t let her lack of playing time keep her from participating. Frost said she’s constantly focused on trying to pick up on other teams’ signs.
“If I’m on the bench, I’m not sitting on the bench,” she said. “I’m always doing something. If I can’t be on the field, I want to help them in some way.”
Her mental edge is what enables Frost to compete with males four years her senior.
“The majority of the game is mental,” she said. “That’s one reason why I feel like I’ve been able to go as far as I have.
“You can be smaller and still play really well,” she said.
Intelligence is also critical for reaching higher levels, Frost said.
“You’re not going to go anywhere in baseball if you don’t have that mental part,” she said.
As for Frost’s future, she just wants to continue playing the game she loves for as long as she can.
“That’s pretty much always been my goal,” she said. “It’s just simply because I enjoy playing it so much.”
Prior to learning of the women’s national team, Frost had planned on pursuing collegiate softball. But now she’s intent on continuing the game she’s loved since childhood.
“I’ve never played softball,” she said. “Baseball is all I know.”
Frost credited ERHS junior varisty coach Steve Mroz with getting her a tryout in North Carolina.
“He’s helped me get this opportunity,” she said. “I owe him a lot.”
Frost’s father, too, deserves much of the credit.
“I wouldn’t be the baseball player I am without him,” she said.
With the World Cup nearing, even doubleheaders can’t keep Frost from putting in extra work in preparation for her national debut.
“I’m at the point where I never want to stop playing baseball,” she said.
Should Frost fall short this year in her bid to make the U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team, that won’t deter her from reaching her new goal in the future, she said.
“I’ve got plenty of years to go,” Frost said. “I’m not giving up. It’ll happen.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected]