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Penn-Trafford's Nedley commits to Penn for softball

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Monday, July 10, 2017, 6:57 p.m.
Penn Trafford's Emma Nedley, fields a fly ball against Kiski Area, Tuesday April 11, 2017, at Kiski Area High School.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Penn Trafford's Emma Nedley, fields a fly ball against Kiski Area, Tuesday April 11, 2017, at Kiski Area High School.

Travel softball can take high school players all over the country during the summer months. And college coaches will be sure to tag along, no matter the mileage.

Emma Nedley of Penn-Trafford is a gleaming example of how today's frequent-flying recruiting process works. Her story goes like this: Pennsylvania player gets recruited by a Pennsylvania college — in Colorado?

Sure thing. It's the travel-ball effect and the new gateway to college ball.

Nedley always wanted to play in college, but the rising senior outfielder never imagined she would make a connection with her future school more than 1,400 miles from home.

Nedley verbally committed to Penn, whose coaches became interested in her game during a travel all-star tournament in Boulder, Colo.

Nedley, who plays for the Pittsburgh Spirit, was picked for the Boulder Independence Day Tournament from June 26 to July 2. While there, she caught the attention of Penn coaches with a couple of stellar defensive plays.

“Two diving catches,” Nedley said.

Then, like a line-out double play, it all happened fast for Nedley. Bang, bang.

She flew to Penn on July 3 for a visit, and the school offered her a spot on the team July 6. Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships, but Nedley will get financial help through academics. She wants to get into the medical field.

“Medical or dental, I'm not sure yet,” she said. “I just fell in love with the campus when I visited. Everything is right there, even the hospitals.”

She left campus smiling.

While Nedley is a standout at Penn-Trafford, it's likely few colleges scouted her during the spring high school season, or even saw her in her school's colors. Travel ball is the new recruiting stage and a magnet for colleges.

“It's crazy,” Nedley said. “There were 375 schools (in Colorado). I didn't feel any pressure. I just wanted to have fun and find the right fit.”

Nedley hit .509 with 22 runs scored, 21 RBIs, three home runs and seven doubles for the Warriors (14-6), who averaged more than 10 runs per game.

“Everything about her makes her a Division I player,” Penn-Trafford coach Denny Little said. “She has the arm, the bat, the speed and especially the smarts to make it anywhere.”

Nedley also had interest from Georgetown, Manhattan, Carnegie Mellon, Alfred and Canisius.

“I have always wanted to play in college,” Nedley said. “I started playing when I was 8. I think the first thing (colleges) see is my energy. I am very passionate about the game, and I am a very optimistic person. I love talking out there. I hate a quiet field.”

A switch-hitting rightfielder, Nedley also can play catcher.

“I caught some in Boulder,” she said. “I hadn't caught since I was a freshman at P-T. I am versatile, and I can play wherever the team needs me to. I love to be all over the field.”

And the map.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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