Pitcher looking forward to representing her tribe


Shiprock native Lanae Billy poses with a banner during the United States Sports Specialty Association USA Elite Select Futures All American Games tryout held in January in Glendale, Arizona. Billy made the Far West regional team and will compete in the games from July 31-August 4 in Florida.

Lanae Billy never considered how far the sport of softball would take her.

Since she took up the sport about four years ago, it’s taken her to tournaments and landed her in championship games.

And just recently, it gave her a chance to play in the United States Sports Specialty Association USA Elite Select Futures All American Games in Florida held from July 31 to Aug. 5. The games will be broadcast on ESPN.

Billy, 13, said she tried out for the regional Far West team just to give it a shot, and landed the opportunity.

“I was kind of surprised at first because all the girls at the tryouts are good and they all had skills like me, so I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not,” she said. “I was proud of myself because I put a lot of work into the tryouts.”

Billy spent nearly a year preparing for the tryouts held in January in Glendale, Arizona.

She had a teammate who tried out the previous year, which is where she got the idea.

She was one of over 45 girls to try out in the 12U age division and was a direct select, meaning she made such an impression that she was selected weeks before a show was held after all tryouts were completed. Billy was evaluated on her speed, hitting, pitching, and catching.

Billy’s mother, Jamie Begay, said she and her husband Benson Billy were elated about the news.

“It’s really exciting. We were so happy when she made the direct select on the website just two weeks after she tried out,” Begay said. “It’s new for me because I never played softball. Her dad is the one that put her in the sport and worked with her.”

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Categories: Baseball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.