Cal Poly softball student assistant Sierra Hyland has been unofficially invited to play with the Mexico national softball team, Team Mexico, after she tried out Feb. 10 and Feb. 11 in Irvine, California.
Team Mexico’s head coach Carlos Caro said he was impressed with Hyland’s performance during an exhibition match against Japan during tryouts.
“Team Mexico[‘s] coaching staff enjoyed watching Sierra Hyland pitch, she can definitely pitch at a very high level and now we could say that we have a 1-2-3 punch in our pitching staff to keep [zeros] on the board coming for Team Mexico Softball and providing our program the chance to compete and win vs worlds best,” Caro said.
Graphic communication senior Hyland pitched for Cal Poly’s team for the past four years and stepped into the role of student assistant this year because she had already filled her eligibility to play.
Head Cal Poly softball coach Jenny Condon said Hyland was a driving force in improving the Mustangs over her four years.
“We had struggled for a few seasons and Sierra came in and, as a freshman, came in right away and just dominated and kind of set the tone of, ‘This is where we want to be, this is who we can be,’ and helped us become better right away, as soon as she stepped on the field,” Condon said.
Hyland was also drafted by the Chicago Bandits last summer and re-signed with them last fall. She said she has been talking with Team Mexico for about as long, but decided to wait to try out because she didn’t want to over-travel in her first year of professional play.
Hyland said she has always wanted to play softball in the Olympics, a goal that will now be possible with her spot on a national team. She said she has her fingers crossed for the 2020 Olympics.
However, joining Team Mexico also had personal significance to her. Hyland’s grandfather was born and raised in Mexico, and this drew Hyland to the team.
“It was really close to his heart because he was born and pretty much raised in Mexico,” Hyland said. “So I just thought it would be cool to just kind of do something for my grandpa and for myself and for my family.”
Hyland said her experience at Cal Poly, both on the team and as a student, was key to making it to where she is today.
“My first few years, softball and academically, was very tough for me because the quarter system was just a big reality shock,” Hyland said. “I feel like those first two years definitely made me stronger as a player and just a person, just to really like believe in myself.”
According to Caro, Hyland will be among the athletes invited to play for Team Mexico at the USA World Cup of Softball in Irvine, California July 6 to 15, the Central American Games in Barranquilla, Colombia July 17 to 27, and the Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan August 2 to 13.