Please introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Gintarė Paskočimaitė, 17 and I am from Lithuania. I’ve been playing softball since 2009. My first time playing for the national team was when I was 10 (it was the U12 World Baseball Championship in Taiwan). I didn’t play much then, I was at bat only once, but it was something that I will never forget. Now with the girls' national team I play every position (mostly catcher and shortstop). I've been in the U19 team twice and once in the U22 and U16 team.

What made you want to play softball?
First of all I didn’t know what softball was, we started with baseball . Once, we found a stick in the sand when we were at the sea, we had a tennis ball and my dad suggested to play baseball. I remember that it was really fun and exciting. After a year or two my dad became a coach, and I’ve been playing ever since.

Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
Softball in Lithuania is extremely poor.  We don’t have fields, we don’t have players and we don’t have coaches. It’s really hard to get girls on the team, it’s even harder to show them the game we love.

How often do you practice with your national team and what do they look like?
We start with practicing about one or two months before the European Championship. Then we have 7-10 days of practices with the girls living in one place. We have two practices a day, and sometimes we even play against the boys team.

What's your best experience so far with the national team?
The most exciting thing that I recall, is probably playing against the Ukrainian U22 team in Pardubice, the Czech Republic. It was so much fun for me, because I knew all the girls and most of them were my friends, we were enjoying the game to the fullest.

Do you have a pre-game routine?
My pre-game routine would probably be listening to some hard rock music (System Of a Down, Metallica, ACDC etc..) you know, get hyped for the game. Our team always does that. It's my dad's influence , I guess.

What is your goal for the 2018 season?
My personal goal for 2018 would be to play for a club (maybe a few?), be someone who is always busy with softball and lots of practices. To play in the U19 and U22 team would be nice too ,we’ll see how that goes.

What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
When I was 11, one Holland coach told our team these quotes “If you wanna be #1, act like #1, and one day, you will be #1.”  It’s still stuck in my head till this day.

Do you think there is something we could do to make softball more popular in Europe?
Hm.. I think social media, television and some kind of festivals where everything is about softball and baseball would help. Just imagine turning on the TV and seeing a game of your local team. That would definitely help.

What do you think is the key to a successful team?
The key to a successful team or anything who’s goal is bigger than having fun is : big concurrence, lots of hard work, loving the game with your whole heart, and most importantly  teamwork - there’s no “ME” , there’s only “US”.

- Romy Marinus -