The Orange Coast College softball team went Dutch this year to find a much needed ace to anchor its pitching staff and found a hidden gem in freshman Montana Roelvink.
Roelvink is an 18-year-old economics major who spent all of her life in the Netherlands before coming to America to play softball for OCC.
“I knew I wanted to go to school in America but I also wanted to play softball and that’s why I chose OCC. They were able to make that all possible,” Roelvink said.
Roelvink has been playing softball for most of her life but has always dreamt of playing softball and studying in America.
She was able to make her dream a reality by joining the UStudy program which helps international students find American colleges.
“If you want to be any good at softball you come to America to play. This is where the best talent and competition is,” Roelvink said.
According to Roelvink, growing up in the Netherlands is very different than living an American life. Especially since she was very close with her family and now they’re thousands of miles away.
While school and softball always came first, adjusting to life in America would prove to be her biggest challenge.
“I knew adjusting to life here wouldn’t be easy but this is what I wanted to do so I had to make it work,” Roelvink said.
To make the adjustment easier, Roelvink visits her family in San Diego which helps her with homesickness. They also give her a small glimpse of what American life is like, she said.
“Her being my first international player, I have been really impressed with the way she has adapted to the team and the cultures here,” head coach Jodie Legaspi-Kiaha said.
When she first arrived in the United States, Roelvink was overwhelmed by the look and sheer size of everything.
“When I first came here I admit I was overwhelmed. I guess the stereotype was right, everything is bigger in America,” Roelvink said.
Also, in the Netherlands, which is about the size of Maryland, there is less traffic, she said.
“I have never seen so many cars in my life. If you had a car in the Netherlands you were considered rich or spoiled,” Roelvink said.
When she’s not studying or playing softball she’s usually in San Diego seeing the sights with family and hanging out at the beach.
Roelvink has also made friends with some of her teammates and classmates who help her get to know what life in America is really like for a young college student, she said.
She has quickly become the top pitcher for the Pirates this year with three wins and five complete games on her record. In fact, Roelvink has all three of the Pirates wins this year.
“Her maturity and understanding as a pitcher have really improved too. She is doing a phenomenal job,” Legaspi-Kiaha said.
After OCC, Roelvink hopes to transfer to UC San Diego to be closer to her family.