Lorain County’s proud tradition of softball excellence was on display Thursday as three area players signed Division I national letters of intent.
At Keystone, seniors Madi Nunez and Valeri Broschk signed their letters to Wright State University and Cleveland State University, respectively.
Meanwhile, at Midview, senior Gabby Shackelford signed to play at Cleveland State.
“This is what I’ve been working for since I was 5,” Shackelford said.
“It always feels good to strive for your goals and accomplish them.”
Shackelford is a career .434 hitter with 15 home runs and 77 RBIs. In her three years as the Middies’ starting shortstop, the team has averaged 18 wins. She also earned a spot on last year’s Division I All-Ohio team.
“I just started out playing softball because it was a fun thing to do,” Shackelford said. “It’s still a fun thing to do and a place I can go to take my mind off of everything. When I’m stressed and overwhelmed, softball just gets my mind off of everything. To be able to do it for four more years, it’s great.”
“I knew Gabby was something special when I saw her play summer ball in sixth or seventh grade,” Midview coach Mike Ives said. “She has the love for the game. Whatever we do she is the first one there and the last one to leave. Gabby is always leading by example. She has the charisma about her that people just cling too.”
Broschk, a second baseman, had her best season as a sophomore when she hit .343 with 14 runs scored.
“I’ve always looked up to my sister a lot and she also went to Cleveland State so that’s always been one of my goals, to follow her and make it to the collegiate level.” Broschk said. “I never thought it was something I would be able to do, so to be able to accomplish it, I’m really proud of myself.”
Broschk’s sister, Alyson, was a member of Keystone’s 2012 state championship and MaxPreps national championship team.
Nunez has been one of the most consistent players in the Wildcats’ lineup the last three years. She batted .349 last year, the same average she recorded as a freshman. As a sophomore she hit .357. Nunez had 24 RBIs as a freshman, 22 as a sophomore and 26 last year.
Broschk and Nunez were members of Wildcats teams that advanced to the Division II state tournament each of the past three years.
“I’m just really excited to further my academic and athletic career at Wright State,” Nunez said. “I didn’t see myself going this far but this opportunity came along and I’m so proud and so happy. I felt a wave of relief over me (signing). I’m done with all of the recruiting and now I can relax,”
Also signing at Keystone was Ashley Buttolph, who will play for Division II Ursuline College. Brooke Piazza and Summer Metcalf were also recognized. They’ll continue their careers at Division III Muskingum University.
Keystone will have six players on its roster this spring who have committed to a Division I school.
Wildcats coach Jim Piazza has sent two dozen players off to Division I programs so signing ceremonies are nothing new to him, except for the fact that Thursday his daughter, Brooke, was one of the honorees.
“This one was a little different,” Jim Piazza said. “Being on the other side you’re excited for all of the kids and their families. Now to have a daughter involved it means a little bit more. I know she had to go through a lot and make a lot of sacrifices, so it’s pretty cool to see her reach this goal. I’m a proud coach and a proud parent today.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.