Q&A: 10-Time WNT Alumni Anna Kimbrell Returns For Another Year at Women's National Open

Of all the 54 women that made the trek to Mesa, Arizona to participate in the 2023 Women's National Open this year, none have more experience in the game of baseball than Anna Kimbrell.

Over the span of her long and successful career, Kimbrell has seen and done pretty much everything there is to see and do. The South Carolina native has been a member of 10 different Women's National Teams, amassed 24 hits and 25 RBIs in international competition, and most importantly, won three gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games Qualifier and Pan American Games and the 2019 COPABE Pan-American Championships.

This resume would be impressive even if it ended there, but under the hot Arizona sun this week, Kimbrell will try to lengthen it even further by earning a spot on this year's team that will travel to the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup Group Stage in Canada next month. A selection to the team next Thursday would mark a very impressive milestone for her, as it would help tie her with her new coach, Malaika Underwood, for the most USA Baseball national team berths in a career with 11.

Even with all of that in mind, though, Kimbrell's main focus right now is to just enjoy being out on the diamond for another go-round. After the second day of the Women's National Open concluded, Kimbrell spoke with USA Baseball about her many years of experience with the organization, the competition she has faced at the event so far, and a potential return to international competition.

Q: This isn't your first rodeo here, but how does it feel to be back at the Women's National Open?

A: It's always fun to come out and just see the competition and watch the game grow. That's been the most important thing to me over the last couple years

Q: Speaking of competition, what have you thought of all the players out here so far?

A: It's been really good this year. A lot of young kids are coming up, which is really cool to see. There have been some very competitive games so far as well, so it's been great.

Q: You've been on 10 different national teams, and you can tie Malaika for the record with 11 if you make it this year. Has it dawned on you that you've been able to compete on that many?

A: Honestly, it hasn't really sunk in yet. Everyday I come out, and it's just like the first day for me. I don't even think about how many years I've been on the team at all, I just come out and compete and do my best.

Q: Since you've been here longer than everyone else, do you feel any responsibility to take on a leadership role with some of the new people that haven't been out here before?

A: Yeah, for sure. I usually just try to lead my example and kind of step up to show them the ropes and help them along the way. I try to have conversations like, 'Hey, how can we improve, what can we do better?' to try and help the younger kids up their game a little bit.

Q: You guys had the Friendship Series with Canada last year, but this year you're back at the World Cup for the first time since 2018. How excited are you for that, and what are you expecting when that time comes?

A: Oh, I'm super excited for it. It's been so long since we've had a big international competition, so I'm really looking forward to that, and I hope we're able to win gold. That's the whole goal.

Q: Since the last time you were out here, you were able to host the Homegrown Clinic in April with the kids from your home state of South Carolina. How special was it for you to get to be able to do that?

A: That was super cool. I really, really enjoyed getting to know the kids and getting the community involved. Fort Mill is where I'm from, and they've supported me a lot along the way and given me a lot of really good coaches that I'm grateful for. Just to be able to have the kids out and share my knowledge and show them that their dreams are just as achievable as anyone else's, that's the main goal, right? To give them that hope that you can come from a small town and still do big things and do whatever you hope to do.