Softball camp keeps career alive for BLHS senior
Lady ‘Cats ace signs to pitch at Johnson County Community College
Erin Shore was ready for closure.
She was reasonably sure that she would attend the University of Kansas and leave the softball diamond behind forever.
A decision to attend a Johnson County Community College camp to get ready for the softball season changed all that.
The JCCC coaching staff invited the Basehor-Linwood senior pitcher back for a campus visit after watching her play.
"Oh my gosh you need to come back," Shore recalls an assistant telling her after the five-week camp concluded in early February.
Frank Barnes, JCCC's head softball coach, was home ill during Shore's return visit. He received a hurried call from an assistant. Would he approve a scholarship offer to Shore right there and then? He did, and Shore's future suddenly opened up. She was a Cavalier.
"Originally I wasn't going to play softball," Shore said. "This just kind of fell into my lap. I would have been OK if my career had ended. I had thought about what it would be like to play at the college level, and I wasn't sure about it. But then I met the girls of the team and I thought it would be fun to be able to do that."
Shore attended the once-a-week camp with teammate Laura Reed. She returned on February 22 to tour the campus. After lunch she was asked to pitch. It didn't take long for the scholarship offer via cell phone call.
"It was kind of overwhelming," Shore said. "It was right there (during the visit) which was surprising."
Shore decided over the weekend to accept the offer and called on Monday to inform the coaching staff.
The Lady Cavaliers finished 43-16 last season. Shore was able to work out with the team and talk to many current players during her visit.
"The campus was really nice and their softball team has done very well the last few years," Shore said. "The girls and the students were very welcoming. It was a nice campus to be at."
Shore had a signing party in the foyer area of BLHS last Wednesday. Amid cookies and drinks, Shore signed a blank piece of paper to signify her letter of intent. The real papers have already been signed and filed.
Athletic Director Joe Keeler, Principal Steve Blankenship, softball coach Susan Mayberry, friends and teammates took part in the festivities.
"It was exciting the fact that everyone was there to support and congratulate you," Shore said. "I don't usually like to be the center of attention, because I get embarrassed. All eyes were on me, but I am more of a team player than an individual."
Shore's scholarship will cover books and tuition. The two year financial package includes 64 credit hours.
"I think it was a good opportunity because I would get a free education and have fun playing softball," Shore said.
Shore's role has not yet been decided. She believes she will be used as a location pitcher as part of a two or three-girl staff.
"It will be fun to be able to play at that level, so I am just going to make sure I practice hard and am ready to play," Shore said.
Some decisions are easier than others. It took one unexpected twist and 48 hours for Shore to become a Cavalier. But she still can't decide what she wants to study.
"I am very undecided," Shore said.