July 15, 2009
Mississippi State softball player Chelsea Bramlett had a tough time measuring the correct temperature during her stay at the Canada Cup in Surrey, British Columbia.
Bramlett pretty much had to guess the temperature after trying to convert Canada''s Celsius readings to Fahrenheit.
"Leaving the U.S. and going to Canada, you think it''s going to be warm (this time of year), but it can be pretty cool in the afternoons, so I knew I had to pack a few things," Bramlett said. "I didn''t realize it was going to get so cold in Canada. I was trying to look on the Internet to figure out (the temperature)."
On the softball field, no one had to wonder how good Bramlett was at the plate.
The catcher''s .636 batting average in 12 games tied for the team lead and helped lead the United States Women''s National Team to a gold medal at the Canada Cup.
Bramlett scored six runs, drove in a run, and stole two bases to help Team USA go 12-0 in the international fast-pitch women''s tournament.
MSU softball coach Jay Miller, who is also the coach of the U.S. National Team, wasn''t surprised to see Bramlett do well.
"She made some things happen and made our offense go," Miller said. "Those are the things we''ve come to count on from her. I know what she brings to the ballclub."
Bramlett led the Southeastern Conference in batting average (.486) and stolen bases (54) this past season.
Bramlett has one more season to go at MSU, and Miller expects her to "get better and better as we go on."
Miller and Bramlett will continue their international tour this week when the U.S. National Team participates in the KFC World Cup in Oklahoma City, Okla. The United States will try to win its third consecutive title.
Bramlett calls her experience with some of the world''s best players "pretty amazing," but she doesn''t feel as much pressure as she does playing college softball.
Even though she thinks and focuses more, Bramlett knows she has teammates like pitchers Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman to fall back on in case she fails.
"It''s the ability to know that even if you don''t get the job done or if you are having a bad day, there is someone behind you that can get it done," Bramlett said. "I think going into it you don''t have to be so stressed out like it can be in college."
Bramlett said having Miller as coach helps although the only time they get to interact is during practice or game situations. Outside of those times, the coaches and players go their separate ways.
"(Miller) knows the routine, but there''s not a whole lot that''s new," Bramlett said. "It''s been a great experience, and it''s awesome just to be on the team and be one of 18 players in the country that''s able to travel around the country."
Miller is ready to move on after the United States defeated host Canada 3-2 on Sunday to win the Canada Cup.
This week''s event in Oklahoma City will be similar, but Miller likes that it will be in the United States.
"We''re looking forward to getting back on U.S. soil and playing in front of a hometown crowd," Miller said. "It will be a good event for us internationally and for television on ESPN."
In sizing up the competition, Miller said Holland and Australia will have many new faces from the teams they sent to the Beijing Olympics.
Others like Canada and Italy have many of the same players, he said, while Japan, like the U.S., will have a team mixed with inexperienced players and veterans.