Former UC San Diego softball standouts will hit the diamond beginning Wednesday to play for Team Israel at the Maccabiah Games.
Team Israel also will participate in the Women’s European Championships, beginning July 23 in Saint Boi, Spain, not far from Barcelona.
“Just to be surrounded by the game every day has been nice,” said Maddy Lewis, a three-time all-conference selection at UCSD who graduated in 2019. “I’ve definitely gotten in a lot better shape, moving in ways I hadn’t been in two years.”
Lewis tried out for the Israeli team in December. When she takes the field next week, she won’t be the only former Triton – her teammates include Robyn Wampler. The 2021 graduate made the Israeli team last year.
“There is something about being able to represent a country that makes you appreciate it a little more,” Lewis said.
Team Israel is coached by another UCSD alum, Nikki Palmer, UC Riverside’s head coach. Last year, the 2007 grad led Israel to a fourth-place finish at the European Championship in Italy.
Lewis has learned to juggle the responsibilities of a full-time job while training. After working as a social media and community manager for San Marcos-based sports technology company Blast Motion, Lewis can often be seen on the UCSD campus in the evening.
“I’m getting in as many swings as I can to make sure I get reps without being in a team setting,” she explained. She also credits her former coach, Patti Gerckens with hitting her grounders after UCSD’s practices.
Lewis was a four-year starter for the Tritons, and immediately made an impact when she became a finalist for a national coaches group’s Freshman of the Year honors.
She was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Freshman of the Year and received Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (CAA) All-West Region First Team honors.
Lewis went on to earn three CCAA First Team awards and four CCAA All-Academic selections.
In her senior season, Lewis also led the Tritons to a West Region title and the program’s first trip to the Division II Softball Championship since 2012.
The opening ceremonies for the 21st Maccabiah Games – postponed to 2022 by COVID – take place Thursday at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, the day after softball pool play begins in nearby Gezer.