Nimitz High School junior Ximena Zamarron is taking her talents internationally. Earlier this month, the softball standout earned a spot on the Mexico Junior National team – an opportunity to play and learn from the best players around the world.
“I am so excited,” says Zamarron, whose family is from San Luis Potosi. “I’m really proud that I did it. It means the most to me knowing that I get to represent my great grandparents, grandparents and my Mexican heritage.”
Zamarron, who is known for making spectacular plays at shortstop and who has no strikeouts this season, learned about tryouts for the Mexico national team from an Instagram post. In February, Zamarron made the journey to Anaheim, Calif. for tryouts. She participated in a grueling one-day try out on Sunday and was asked to come back on April 3 for another one-day, six-hour try out with some of the strongest competition in the sport.
“They would hit to us, and we’d have to throw to first, third, home or make double plays,” she recalls. “You’d have to catch it backhand, forehand or where you would have to charge it. Then they made us hit. It was a bunch of drills. It was very tiring. I was thinking, I don’t know if I belong here, I don’t know if I’m good enough, but I just had to tell myself that I’m here for a reason, I’ve come this far for a reason.”
And that reason was validated when she learned she made the squad. As the newest member of Team Mexico, an accomplishment reserved for softball’s top athletes, Zamarron is working on obtaining dual citizenship and expects to begin practicing with the team in May. She will then have the opportunity to play in Junior Olympic qualifying games in Peru and Colombia, beginning in May.
“I’m looking to win against other countries, get to know the girls better and see how they play,” she says. “I’m also looking forward to traveling and going to new places, experiencing different cultures and traditions, and soaking up this once in a lifetime experience.”
Zamarron was first introduced to the sport at just 4 years old, playing on baseball teams with her cousins, coached by her uncle. She transitioned to softball when she was 8 and now plays year-round: on a select team in the summer into the fall and on her school’s team from February through May.
“There are a few months – November and December – when I’m not playing,” she says. “But that’s when I’m out in the yard playing catch with my brother.”
Growing up, Zamarron dreamed of earning a scholarship to play softball in college and becoming the first girl to play baseball in the major leagues. Those dreams are still in the works, but for now she can relish in accomplishing a dream she never expected – joining a national team.
“I’m very grateful for this experience,” she says. “Maybe people can look at me and see that they can do it, too. They can make their dreams come true.”