Sanchez helps lead Puerto Rican Junior Team to sixth-place finish

by Doug Gorman

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East Coweta junior Shemiah Sanchez, front row far left, competed with Puerto Rico in this summer's Junior Women's World Softball Championship in Canada. Sanchez's team finished in sixth place, but not before the East Coweta slugger put on a potent display of offense with a team-leading .613 batting average. She had one of her best games against Canada where she went 2-for-3 against University of Washington sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Cater. The Lady Huskies advanced to last year's NCAA Super Regionals. 

To say it's been a world-wind summer for East Coweta High School shortstop Shemiah Sanchez would be an understatement.

She has spent the past two months eating, drinking, sleeping and experiencing softball on an international stage.

The Lady Indians' junior was selected to play for the Puerto Rico junior national team at the International Softball Federation World Championship last week in Canada.

Sanchez's team finished in sixth place, but not before the East Coweta slugger put on a potent display of offense with a team-leading .613 batting average.

'I got to see some really good pitching,' she said. 'I wasn't surprised by that, but I think it is really going to help me down the road.'

The East Coweta starter came off the bench for the first three games of the world tournament, but had her breakout contest against Great Britain, scoring a run and also stealing a base.

Sanchez had one of her best games against Canada where she went 2-for-3 against University of Washington sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Cater. The Lady Huskies advanced to last year's NCAA Super Regionals.

Although Sanchez has grown up in the United States, she was eligible to play for Puerto Rico squad because of family ties.

Her father, Manuel is a native of the island nation.

He is grateful, she got to represent his homeland.

'My wife Shandria Sanchez and I are very proud that she decided that she wanted to play and represent Puerto Rico. Also that has helped grown up as a player and as a person,' he said.

She says enjoyed the experience in Canada both on and off the field.

'It was really great just hanging out with all the girls, and getting to meet all the different players,' she said.

Sanchez began her quest to capture a World Series title at the beginning of the summer when she joined the Puerto Rico team for a tournament against other Caribbean nations.

Although she has completed just two years of high school softball, Sanchez has been an immediate impact player for her high school team.

One of her biggest at-bats during her high school career came as a freshman when she belted a two-run homer against rival Newnan in the top of the seventh to give the Lady Indians the win and the top-seed in the region tournament.

Last year as a sophomore, Sanchez earned All-Coweta County honors, hitting, .464, with 35 RBIs and four home runs.

Sanchez has tremendous speed and it's translated into extra-base hits on the high-school diamond.

A year ago, she finished with a pair of doubles and triples.

East Coweta head softball coach Franklin Deloach knows his short stops reputation is only going to grow during her final two years of varsity action. 'There will be teams trying to pitch around her,' Deloach predicted earlier this summer.. 'We are going to have to be ready for that.'

The Lady Indians will get back together again by the end of the month to prepare for the start of the season.

East Coweta made it to the Class AAAAAA Elite 8 last year last year for the eighth straight time before suffering losses to Cobb County powers Lassiter and Kennesaw Mountain in Columbus.

Sanchez wants to see the team go further this year.

'I just hope we get better and get at least to the Final Four or the championship game,' she said.

Before concentrating on the upcoming high school season, Sanchez will turn her thoughts to winning a national tournament starting next Saturday when she travels with the Georgia Impact Gold to the national tournament in California.

Although she is only halfway through her high school career, she is already getting some offers from some major colleges.

'I want to make my decision by the end of the month,' she said.



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