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Pitchers earn spots in European tournament

| Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Most travelers dream of Paris in the springtime, but local softball pitchers Anne Marie Brnardic of Deer Lakes and Casey Moses of Burrell are willing to see the Eiffel Tower in January.

Brnardic and Moses have been selected to represent the United States next January in the Indoor Cup 2010 international softball tournament, which will be played in Paris and the Netherlands.

Teams of high school-age players from the United States will take on European squads, consisting mainly of women in their 20s.

"I feel extremely blessed," said Moses, a sophomore. "It's a great opportunity. I can't wait. It will be so much fun, playing softball and getting to visit Europe."

While both pitchers are accustomed to foul weather during the WPIAL softball season, the time of year will not be a concern in Paris because the games will be played indoors.

Brnardic, a Deer Lakes junior, attended the Queen of Diamonds Showcase at Kent State University last summer and was approached about the international tournament after her workout.

"When I was done, Kurt Whiteside of Kent asked me if I wanted to try out for the U.S. team," Brnardic said. "We'll be traveling with other players from all over the country."

Moses said she learned about the overseas opportunity about two years ago.

Up to now, the farthest Brnardic and Moses have traveled for a tournament is South Carolina. They will begin fundraising soon to help defray the cost of the trip. Players are expected to raise about $5,000 to cover the costs.

Brnardic and Moses have been crossing paths or playing on the same team since they were about 8 years old. Moses said she probably will room with her Section 3-AA rival during the overseas trip.

On Tuesday, Brnardic and Valley sophomore Caitlin Nealer were hooked up in an outstanding pitchers' duel at Valley. The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the eighth inning when the game was called because of rain. The teams hope to resume play sometime next week.

The game is crucial because Deer Lakes (10-4, 8-2) is one-half game behind first-place Burrell (11-2, 9-2) in Section 3-AA. Deer Lakes is a half-game ahead of Valley (11-4, 8-3).

The WPIAL has told schools they must have their schedules completed by May 7. The WPIAL playoffs are due to start the week of May 11.

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