Samantha Mott and her father Tom are used to traveling together. Over the years they've made treks to places such Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina and Pennsylvania for softball tournaments.
It's safe to say, however, that their most recent trip might well have been the longest.
The whirlwind tour, which began on Jan. 16 and came to an end a week later, took the pair on a 7,500-mile round trip journey from Buffalo to Newark, N.J.; from Newark across the Atlantic Ocean to Rotterdam, Netherlands; from Rotterdam to Paris, France and finally from Paris, back across the Atlantic, to, eventually, home - Frewsburg, that is.
Frewsburg’s Sam Mott, far right in front row, is seen with her teammates on The Firestix squad at the The Cup International Fastpitch Tournament in Rotterdam.
A lot of mileage in just one week, to be sure, but it was for a good reason. Mott, you see, had been selected as one of just 50 players (out of about 2,000 applicants) to represent the United States in an international softball tournament.
Called "The Cup International Fastpitch Tournament," it featured 16 teams, with players (some of whom are former Olympians) ranging in ages from 17 to 27 from such countries as the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Russia.
And Mott, The Post-Journal's reigning softball player of the year who has helped the Frewsburg Bears reach consecutive New York State Public High School Athletic Association state tournaments, more than held her own against some formidable foes.
"The softball was a lot harder than what I had expected," the senior admitted, "but the team I played on finished fifth out of 16, so we did really well."
Her team, called "The Firestix," was one of six U.S. squads to participate in the tournament, which was held indoors inside a large soccer hall, and led by the pitching of Mott and another teammate - the pair traded innings, hurling two apiece until a given contest was over - they went a solid 2-3-1 over three days of competition.
"(Playing in the tournament) showed me that even though our team was a couple of years younger than a lot of the others," Mott said, "we can still compete. We're just as good as those teams overseas."
For the record, the host Netherlands Gryphons won the tournament, while the Czech Republic's national team, the Stars, took second and an American group, the Stripes, placed third.
But while the softball itself was memorable, it's the experiences off that field that she'll truly remember forever.
"When we were in Amsterdam we went to Anne Frank's home," Mott recalled. "That was really sad and really touching because everything inside is exactly the same as it was when she lived there. When you go into her room all the pictures are still up, and the actual bookcase (which camouflaged the Frank's hiding place in the home) was still there, too."
After visiting that somber place, Mott and her father, along with the rest of her teammates, took a bus trip south, through Belgium, and into the City of Lights.
"After the tournament was finished on Sunday we drove (by bus) to Paris," she said. "It was so beautiful and so much fun. We saw the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Roue de Paris (a 200-foot ferris wheel that overlooks the city), Notre Dame and the Mona Lisa.
"It was something that I'll remember for the rest of my life. I wish everyone could do something like this because it's worth it, and it changes your whole outlook."
One thing that hasn't changed, though, is her love of softball. The quick tournament has her itching to get back on the field with her Frewsburg teammates to make yet another run at a state title.
"I'm really excited for the high school season to start now," she said with a laugh.