SAN TAN VALLEY — It’s been a similar path for Emma Kerr and Katelyn Westover when it comes to their softball journey.

Both began playing the sport in sixth grade, and have played on the same team since they were 12 years old, on Monday they signed their letter of intent to continue playing the game they love at the college level.

“It means a lot,” Kerr said. “It makes me feel good about myself because I did break my wrist last year, so knowing that I came back from that; it’s like a dream come true (to have the opportunity to play college ball). I thought I wasn’t going to be able to, I was scared that I wasn’t going to be able to get back where I was.”

Kerr, an outfielder, signed with McCook Community College in Nebraska and Westover, a pitcher and infielder, signed with Central Arizona College.

“I’m excited to continue my softball career,” Westover said. “Especially so close to home. I’ll be able to play with new teammates as well as stay close to other teammates and even play against them.”

Kerr’s decision to head to Nebraska started with wanting to go out of state and after looking into the softball program and talking with coach Kevin Kaalberg, she felt McCook was the best school for her.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll go here. Why not?’ Kerr said.

She added that her decision to go out of state is to grow as a person and to learn on her own with being dependent of her parents. She’s also really looking forward to seeing snow.

One of her biggest takeaways from her time at Poston Butte is learning how to be responsible and getting her work done on time, and balancing it all out with being an athlete.

Kerr intends to study criminal justice.

“It started when I was really young,” she said. “I loved to solve mysteries and I was really good at it. I’m in a CAVIT class for law enforcement and I’ve been loving that class very much, so I’m wanting to go into it to become a detective; that’s my dream goal and to do that I have to become a police officer first and do all that type of jazz but I’m willing to do it for the long run.”

Kerr’s introduction to softball came in the sixth grade when her dad told her that she was going to tryout, which truly caught her off guard.

“I was kind of nervous,” she said. “He threw me out on the first day of tryouts and I was like, ‘I’m going to screw this up.’ But I did really well and I fell in love with the sport.”

For Westover is the opposite when it came to picking CAC as she was looking for the opportunity to stay close to home.

“I liked how close it was and I liked the coaching style, and the players were super nice, I got to have a practice with them and meet all of them,” Westover said. “I think it’s super awesome that all my family and friends will be able to watch me and support me along the way.”

Additionally, Westover will have the opportunity to team up again with one of her former Poston Butte teammates in Kayla Lopez.

“That’s super fun, I’m so excited about that,” Westover said. “She’s so awesome.”

CAC is also the perfect fit for her as she wants to study nursing to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

Having the opportunity to continue playing softball is important to Westover, because it proves that she’s capable of achieving her goals. One of the biggest lessons she’s learned at Poston Butte is to stay focused on your goals, so you can achieve them.

“I’m achieving one of my goals and I’ll be able to go to school for what I’m wanting to do in the future as well as continuing to do what I love,” she said.

In her final season with the Broncos, Westover is looking forward to a lot of things but the one at the top is being able to play for her dad one last time.

“He’s been my coach my whole life,” she said. “Now that I’m going to have a different coach, I bet he’s still going to be at my games coaching me. That’s also what I like about being so close, I’ll still be able to hear his input of what he has to say. I make my own decisions of how I take that information, but it’ll be nice still having that direction.”

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Maria Vasquez is the Sports Editor for PinalCentral. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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