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Kiski Area 3-sport star Antone picks Winthrop

Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch - Leechburg's Kenzie Young prepares to catch the ball as Kiski Area's Maddie Antone slides safely into second base during a softball game in Gilpin on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Erica Hilliard  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Leechburg's Kenzie Young prepares to catch the ball as Kiski Area's Maddie Antone slides safely into second base during a softball game in Gilpin on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch - Kiski Area's Maddie Antone (33) goes up for a shot during a game against Plum earlier this season.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Erica Hilliard  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Kiski Area's Maddie Antone (33) goes up for a shot during a game against Plum earlier this season.
Steven Dietz | for The Valley News Dispatch - VND Basketball Allstars-Kiski Area's Madelynn Antone.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Steven Dietz  |  for The Valley News Dispatch   </em></div>VND Basketball Allstars-Kiski Area's Madelynn Antone.

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Maddie Antone seems to enjoy interviews. She gladly entertains the most complex inquiries.

But she loves the softball questions.

The Kiski Area senior sent a lob over the fence when she was asked which sport she'll play in college and the school at which she'll do so.

Antone has committed to play softball at Division I Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.

“Softball comes natural to me; I love it,” she said. “Winthrop is perfect for me. I wanted to go south. The coach there is awesome, the team is awesome and the location is awesome.”

A 5-foot-10 three-sport standout at Kiski Area, Antone will give up basketball and volleyball. She started for four years in all three sports and is the reigning Valley News Dispatch Girls Athlete of the Year.

“I'll have the highest non-pitcher scholarship, which is nice,” said Antone, who will sign a letter of intent on April 17. “It will be a 50 percent scholarship. One of the big reasons I wanted to go there was for my major. Their sports management program is solid.”

Antone, a power-hitting shortstop who hit seven home runs as a junior, doesn't expect the transition to college softball to come with entitlement.

“I remember them saying the shortstop they have is graduating, so obviously, I hope to go in and fill that spot,” she said. “But I can play wherever they need me. I've played catcher, pitcher, first base, third base, all over. I don't like third base very much.

“From Day One, I will bust my butt; nothing is guaranteed. I plan to earn a spot and keep it.”

She also considered Tennessee Tech and Allegheny for softball. Cleveland State, Wheeling Jesuit, Doane (Neb.) and Defiance (Ohio) were among the basketball schools interested.

“I've been around a lot of basketball players, but never have I coached one quite like her,” Kiski Area girls basketball coach Nick Ionadi said.

Antone scored 1,630 points and grabbed 979 rebounds, averaging a double-double for her career.

“I had other opportunities, but I think if you have a (Division I) shot, you take it,” she said.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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