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Emily Hallman, a 9th grade student at Chiefland Middle High School, has been chosen to play on an American softball team that will travel in January 2014 to play in the Asociación Estadio La Unión (AELU) Sub-15 Softball Championships in Lima, Peru.
Hallman has played softball for many years in Chiefland and the surrounding area including playing with the Chiefland Area Athletic Association (CAAA), Chiefland Middle School and travel ball with the Gainesville Gold Softball Organization.
Recently Peruvian officials representing the AELU Sub-15 Softball Championships contacted Art Bautista-Hardman, assistant softball coach at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, about a team from the United States competing in the tournament.
The acronym AELU stands for Asociación Estadio La Unión (Union Stadium Association), where "Union" stands for the unity of the Japanese-Peruvian community. Coach Bautista assists with the Peruvian Nation Softball Team and has many ties to Peru.
Bautista along with his daughter, Jaymi Bautista-Geiger, a pitcher with Temple University, and a Peruvian National Team member, in cooperation with the Gainesville Gold Softball Organization organized tryouts and has fielded a team of 12 players selected from all over Florida all 14 years of age or younger. Hallman was one of the players selected along with three from the Miami area, one from Jacksonville, one from Tampa.
This will be the first youth team from the United States to ever play in a Peruvian tournament. Multiple teams from Peru and Brazil will compete in the tournament along with the one team from the United States.
The Team from the United States will be called “Gainesville Gold International” and the coaching staff head coach Jaymi Bautista-Geiger, assistant coach Art Bautista-Hardman, and Olivia Fernandes, athletic trainer at the University of Florida.
In addition to playing in the tournament our team will visit many cultural events, including museums, ancient Peruvian ruins and tours. They will also put on a softball clinic for local girls age 12 and under.
The Gainesville Gold program has assisted over 100 athletes to play at the college level since the program's inception in 1996. The Gainesville Gold organization takes great pride in supporting these girls in their accomplishments,