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Bullskin resident to compete in softball showcase

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
Connellsville's Emily Keslar will compete in a Queen of Diamonds Showcase event at Winthrop University on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2013 in Rock Hill, S.C.

Emily Keslar, a Bullskin resident and student at Connellsville, will be heading south this weekend for a softball experience of a lifetime.

She was recently selected to compete in the Queen of Diamonds Showcase (QDSS) on Saturday and Sunday at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.

The showcase is in its seventh season and is part of the Queen of Diamonds Showcase events which are the largest fast pitch softball showcases of their kind in the country. Keslar had heard of the showcase from fellow teammates who had attended the Queen of Diamonds North at Kent State, so she researched to find the showcase that would be held in the south.

“Kevin Biestel, my YMCA 14U coach, encouraged me to apply because of my wanting to go to college in the south,” Emily Keslar said. “I have always wanted to go south to play softball and go to college, so this was the perfect opportunity.”

The event attracts athletes from more than 30 states and Canada. The showcase is different, as athletes apply individually and are selected based on criteria ranging from ability, potential, academics, graduation year, coaches requests and referrals. Keslar had never applied to Queen of Diamonds before, so she was surprised and excited when she was chosen.

“I just couldn't believe I was one of the 48 picked out of the 400-plus pitchers that applied,” she said.

Her parents, Richard and Amy Keslar, said they were surprised their daughter was chosen and honored to have her recognized for her pitching talent.

“She has dedicated herself to pitching since she was 7 years old,” Amy Keslar said. “Being a pitcher is more than a weekly practice and game day. She conditions daily, pitches three days a week, plus works on her batting.”

Amy Keslar added that her daughter also takes pitching lessons once a week from Lauren Shaheen in addition to practicing twice a week with her YMCA Spirit Synergy 18U college showcase team.

“We know Emily will have the experience of a lifetime, and we hope that it will help her decide if she wishes to go south to play softball in college or stay north,” she added. “We also hope it shows her that hard work and dedication is paying off.”

Emily Keslar is a pitcher and plays summer ball for YMCA Spirit Synergy and high school ball for Connellsville.

Keslar, scheduled to graduate from Connellsville in 2015, carries a 3.94 GPA. She hopes to study physical therapy and nutrition and major in exercise science and play softball.

She also will participate in an advanced pitching camp on Saturday at Winthrop University.

“I'm nervous because there will be so many people and coaches there, but I am more excited than anything,” Emily Keslar said. “I'm looking forward to meeting my coach and teammates from all different states and playing with them in front of all the college coaches. This is an incredible opportunity.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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