Lyndhurst’s Jorge earns spot on Team USA baseball squad

Alexia Jorge spent her weekend in Carrollton, Texas, a few miles outside of Dallas.

It’s not exactly the vacation hot spot, but the soon-to-be Lyndhurst High School junior couldn’t be happier with her current location.

You see, Jorge is currently training with the United States women’s baseball team, preparing for COPBAE PanAm Championship Games in Aguascalientes, Mexico beginning Aug. 18 through Aug. 25. Even someone with limited Spanish in his background knows that “Aguascalientes” is translated to “hot waters,” in English.

Alexia earned the spot, even though there were only six spots open on the roster. Alexia was one of 34 women trying out for the national team and she earned a place on the roster.

So she’s been in Carlton, Texas since Aug. 6.

And she couldn’t be happier.

“At first, I was a little nervous,” Jorge said in a phone interview. “But I wasn’t overwhelmed or anything. If I didn’t make it, I was still among the 34 best players in the country. When I found out, I’m not going to lie, but I didn’t even have a reaction. I thought about it and now think that I should have had some sort of reaction. The rest of my teammates joked about it with me a little.”

However, Jorge had her ‘Wow’ moment later on.

“When I got back to my Mom’s room, I broke down and started crying,” Jorge said. “That definitely hit me.”

Team USA has to win in Mexico in order to qualify for next year’s Women’s Baseball World Cup.

And at 16 years old – Alexia will turn 16 this week on Aug. 17 – she’s clearly the youngest player on the national squad.

That’s quite an accomplishment for the young lady, who spent last spring with the Lyndhurst varsity baseball team, playing with and against the boys. Jorge also spent the early portion of this summer playing for the Lyndhurst Post 139 baseball team, also with the boys.

And to get ready for her stint with Team USA, Jorge spent some time playing in the Baseball for All League in Rockford, Illinois, on the same field that the famed Rockford Peaches played on in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, featured in the popular movie, “A League of Their Own,” starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna.

Jorge became recognized on the national level when she was just 11 years old. To earn a spot on the major Team USA this summer, Jorge had to attend the Breakthrough Series in Vero Beach, Florida and then the Grit Series in Arlington, Texas, at Globe Life Park.

“That was pretty cool playing there,” Jorge said of playing at Globe Life.

Jorge said that she felt really good about the way she was playing in the series in Rockford, where she collected 11 RBI in a week.

“I felt like I was in a groove there,” Jorge said.

Jorge was also asked to pitch in Rockford. She said that she pitched a little for the Lyndhurst Post 139 American Legion team over the summer.

“I felt like my curveball was working in Rockford,” Jorge said. “I felt really good about my pitching.”

Jorge displayed her versatility by going behind the plate for a few innings, then playing some infield. Catcher is her true natural position, but when asked, Jorge can play anywhere.

“I guess being versatile helped me make the team,” Jorge said. “The coach (manager Veronica Alvarez) put me on the mound and I did pretty well. She told me that I would get a few innings on the mound.”

Jorge pitched two innings and caught for four more.

She also had a hard-hit single up the middle during one at-bat.

“I’ve been connecting pretty well with the ball,” Jorge said. “I hit well in Rockford, so that gave me confidence.”

Make no doubt about it. Jorge is a baseball player. She doesn’t even want to hear the word softball.

“I’m going to continue to play baseball,” Jorge said. “I love it too much to stop.”

So in the offseason, Jorge does a lot of strength and conditioning work at FASST in Lyndhurst.

“I definitely notice that I’ve gotten faster and stronger,” Jorge said. “I’m definitely a little quicker and it’s helped with my agility.”

Jorge also spends a lot of time in the offseason in the batting cages at Lefty’s in Clifton.

“I’m going to try switch hitting this year,” Jorge said.

For now, Jorge is living out her dream.

“Ever since I had that first tryout, I had my mind set on making the national team,” Jorge said. “I can’t describe how this feels. Six months ago, I never thought I’d be in this situation.”

And later this week, Jorge will put on a baseball uniform with “USA” across the chest.

“I’m going to look at myself in the mirror and say that it’s a picture perfect moment,” Jorge said. “I just might have to take a picture of myself.”

It’s the moment of a lifetime.

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer
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Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”