Anna Kimbrell, a 2009 Nation Ford High School graduate, is once again part of Team USA women’s baseball.
The team is heading to Toronto to participate in the Pan Am games and a good showing by the women’s team, and the sport in general, could open the door for baseball in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“It is an exciting year for us as far as growing the sport,” Kimbrell said.
Kimbrell, 24, and Team USA will play July 20-24 with a chance to be in the medal rounds July 25-26.
“Canada is going to be our toughest competition,” she said. “It should be a good tournament.”
Kimbrell, a pitcher and catcher, has been affiliated with Team USA women’s baseball since 2006. Growing up, she played baseball throughout Little League.
She played for Nation Ford High, where she was the first girl to play high school baseball in the state, and later went on to be the first girl to play American Legion baseball in the state.
From there she went on to Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where she played college softball and hit .220 as a freshman, before transferring to the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). She graduated UAB in 2013.
Kimbrell was part of the 2008 Women’s Baseball World Cup team that won a silver medal and was part of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 team as well.
Kimbrell said she hopes to play baseball as long as possible and wants to be a part of the 2020 Olympic Games.
“One day will be my turn to hang up the cleats,” she said. “But this is one of the highlights in my career. I am pretty pumped to see what it’s about. It’s an incredible opportunity. I am thankful I have it.”
When not playing, Kimbrell is assistant groundskeeper at Hoover Met Stadium in Birmingham.
She worked for eight years with the Charlotte Knights as a groundskeeper at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill and assisted in transitioning the team to the BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.