Laura Berg named Junior Women’s National Team head coach

Oregon State University women’s softball head coach Laura Berg adjust her hat during a game against the Arizona Wildcats April 4 in Corvallis.

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

OSU softball skipper will lead the JWNT in 2017

If adding work experience to a resume is Laura Berg’s goal, she’s doing a pretty active job of it.

Berg, the fourth-year head coach of the Oregon State softball team, was selected Wednesday as the head coach for the 2017 Softball Junior Women’s National Team, as announced by the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball.

She will lead the JWNT in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Junior Women’s World Championship in Clearwater, Fla. in July 2017 after next season ends.

“It’s always an honor to wear USA, whether you’re a player or coach,” Berg said on Wednesday before practice. “To go out and represent something that’s bigger than you, bigger than your family. You represent your country, your state, your university. It’s absolutely an honor to be a part of.”

Berg served as an assistant coach on the JWNT team three years ago and has been an assistant on the USA Softball Women’s National team for four years. As a player, Berg is USA Softball’s only four-time Olympian, winning gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004 as well as silver in 2008. She added seven more gold medals between the Baseball Softball Confederation World Championships and Pan-American Championships, and she was a four-time All-American collegiate player at Fresno State.

This year, the OSU softball team’s No. 22 ranking marks the first time the Beavers have cracked the top-25 since 2013. OSU is 14-2 this year and searching for an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time in three seasons.

“It’s been really fun playing for coach Berg,” said freshman catcher Kayleen Shafer. “One of the main reasons I wanted to come here in the first place was to play for her, such an amazing Olympian and player. I feel like we can learn so much from her just because of her experiences in the Olympics and college. Any knowledge she applies on us I feel is really important, and I think I’ve learned a lot.”

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