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Carlynton's Melko selected for elite event

| Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Jordan Melko was selected to compete in the Queen of Diamonds Showcase at Kent State University in Jan.

Carlynton's Jordan Melko's ability on the softball field hasn't been questioned in the WPIAL as she was an all-section selection as a freshman and sophomore.

Now she will get to show off her skills on the big stage.

The junior pitcher was selected to participate in the Queen of Diamonds Showcase, one of the premier softball showcases in the country.

“It is a really great accomplishment,” Melko said. “I will get to show all the hard work I have put in. It will show me where I stand with other pitchers.”

The Queens of Diamonds Showcase North is in its 19th season and will be held at Kent State University on Jan. 4 and 5. The event attracts athletes from 30 states and two Canadian provinces.

The participants are selected on criteria including ability, potential, academics, graduation year, coach requests and referrals.

The event attracts more than 2,000 applicants from which only 264 athletes are selected. Out of an estimated 1,000 pitchers who applied to the event, Melko is one of only 64 to be selected.

Jordan will be placed on a team with other players as they compete in numerous games. While it will be hard to build chemistry with a team made up of complete strangers, the experience alone will help Melko continue to improve her game.

“The girls come from all over the country and they make the teams up for us,” Melko said. “It will be different, obviously, but should be a really great experience.

“It will motivate me to work harder.”

The appearance at the event will also allow Melko to become better known to college coaches.

“Playing at the next level is my main goal,” Melko said. “To have that chance would be amazing.”

In her first two seasons of varsity softball, Melko – who also plays basketball and volleyball – has struck out 219 batters thanks to a 61 mile-per-hour fastball.

While the Cougars have struggled in softball in recent seasons – the team won a single game between the 2010 and 2011 seasons and has not made the playoffs since the 1990s – the team finished 7-8 last season and was one game away from a playoff berth.

If the softball team can continue the upward trend, it will be the next Carlynton girls varsity sport that ends a long playoff drought.

“We are definitely on the right track,” Melko said. “We went from winning nothing to winning games. We are competitive now. I think as long as we put the work in, we will continue to get better.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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