Nyssa infielder Syriah Trujillo prepares to make a play during a game against league opponent Irrigon last season. Trujillo will be traveling across Italy this summer as part of an American youth softball team. (The Enterprise/File)

NYSSA – Just weeks after finishing her junior year at Nyssa High School, Syriah Trujillo is preparing for a softball-filled summer with an all-star American team.

This July, the 17-year-old Nyssa infielder will be stepping into the circle in Italy, representing her country as a member of the U.S. team in a sports and education opportunity called American International Sports Teams.

Trujillo, who was recently named a first-team infielder on the Eastern Oregon League for the second year in a row, will join an elite group of softball players 19 and under from across the country to play international tournaments in Italy.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. I’m super excited,” said Trujillo. She said her older sister Asu, who now plays softball for St. Andrews University in South Carolina, had participated in AIST when she was in high school. 

“I think they found out about me through my sister. I was recommended by one of her coaches to play for the team,” she said.

Trujillo comes from a family of softball fanatics.

“We’re a big-time softball family. My mom was a softball athlete when she was in high school. She got me and my sisters to play softball and she coached me until I was 12,” she said.

Trujillo said she started playing Little League softball when she was 7, following the footsteps of her older sisters, Asu and Lucy. The three sisters were coached by their mother Angela Gonzales Trujillo, an office manager at Nyssa Middle School, who led the Nyssa Blue Thunder team through Payette County’s recreation department.

Trujillo said she was in middle school when she decided that she’d make it a goal to play college softball.

“I love being in the action and the competition. It’s a lot of mental stuff, and I love the challenge,” Trujillo said. “I also like how the sport keeps me busy.”

The three-sport athlete at Nyssa High said she rarely spends time at home on the weekends and is either at a volleyball, basketball or softball game. In addition to playing on three Nyssa sports teams, Trujillo plays year round for the Meridian-based USA Explosion 18-and-under Gold team and is an active member of Nyssa FFA. She also maintains a 4.0 GPA.

“I’m used to traveling a lot. I’m always out of town on the weekends,” Trujillo said. “The summers are especially super busy with my travel softball team since we have tournaments like every week. But it dies off in the fall and winter, and so that’s when I have a little more time to play volleyball and basketball.”

She attributes her success to her work ethic.

In a year, Trujillo improved her batting average from .476 to .677 and increased her RBIs from 11 to 38, according to her online recruiting profile.

In the spring, Trujillo led the Bulldogs softball team to the state tournament for the first time in seven years and was named the team’s most valuable player by head coach Jaimi Greenwood.

“I work very hard year round to get better, whether it’s for sports or for school,” Trujillo said. “My ultimate goal is to have a successful career in the medical field, but I am just as passionate about playing softball at the next level.”

Trujillo said several college recruiters have approached her, including Southern Oregon University, Rochester College in Michigan and Missouri Valley. She said she wants to become a nurse.

But for now, the teen wants to go to Italy and is getting ready to tour six Mediterranean cities. Last week, Trujillo and her mother wrapped up their tamale sales after raising more than half the cost of the trip, which has a price tag of $4,200.

“The entire community came together to help her in making this trip happen and we are very grateful and thankful to live in a place where we care for one another,” Trujillo’s mother said.

Have a news tip? Reporter Kristine de Leon: news@malheurenterprise.com or 541-473-3377.

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