It was no surprise that Soclaina van Gurp, or “Suka” as her teammates call her, excelled in her first year on the Palm Beach State College softball team. A year earlier, she was named Most Valuable Player as a senior at Trinity Christian Academy in Lake Worth.
That honor would be the first of several she’s garnered since moving from her hometown of Willemstad, Curaçao, in 2012 to play softball in the United States.
In early 2014, she was named to the Florida College System Activities Association’s First Team All-Southern Conference for her success in the shortstop position and was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. She was also named to the First Team All State.
These honors earned her a spot on the National Junior College Athletic Association’s All American Second Team. Van Gurp, now a sophomore, is the College’s first softball All American in more than a decade and is the first in Martha McCall’s seven years as head coach. The NJCAA also ranked her as the 29th leading hitter in the country (.460 batting average), contributing 10 home runs, 41 runs batted in, 14 doubles and an incredible .853 slugging percentage.
“It’s been a privilege coaching Suka,” said McCall. “Not only does she have incredible talent, but her passion and dedication for the game has made her a great team player and leader on the field.”
Growing up in an athletic family, van Gurp started playing baseball at age 5 and softball at age 11. Her father, Raymond, or “Mompie” as he is called, is the manager of the Santa Maria Pirates in Curaçao, and her brother, Ray, was a professional minor league baseball player with the New York Mets organization.
After she completes her sophomore year, van Gurp plans to transfer to the University of North Florida to continue playing softball and to study sports management.