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Shirley signs with IU-Southeast to continue softball career

Feb. 23—DOVER — Emma Shirley has put a lot of time into making herself the best softball player she can be, and has been a key part of Western Boone's success the past three seasons.

Her hard work and dedication to the sport has given her the opportunity to compete at the next level, and Shirley is heading to IU-Southeast to continue her academic and softball careers.

Shirley said she was happy to get the decision down with before the season started this spring.

"I am really excited to get the season started for WeBo and then to work toward my goals for IU-Southeast also," Shirley said.

IU-Southeast is an NAIA program located in New Albany.

Shirley said a lot about the school stood out to her when she was making her decision.

"They have a good pre-pharmacy program that I was interested in," Shirley said. "I really liked the location, it wasn't too far from home and felt just right. It felt like home."

The Grenadiers went 34-19 a season ago, making the NAIA Tournament under the direction of Tiffany Buckmaster.

Shirley said she created a good rapport with Buckmaster during the recruiting process.

"Coach Buckmaster is a great leader and she is really vocal," Shirley said. "I really like everything she does and her values in coaching and her morals."

Shirley hit .500 for the Stars last year, with 41 runs scored, 16 RBIs, five doubles and five triples.

For her career she has been a .372 hitter with 105 hits, 92 runs scored, 56 RBIs, 21 doubles, nine triples and two home runs.

She has helped the Stars win two sectional titles and a regional title.

Looking ahead to her final year at Western Boone, Shirley has some goals for herself and the team.

"I just want to be the best team captain I can and hopefully lead our team to a lot of wins and fond memories," Shirley said. "I want to get even more consistent with my hitting and maybe get a little stronger with some of my hits and keep rolling."

When she looks back at her time at Western Boone, Shirley said she is going to rememberthe opportunities the school has given her that will set her up for the future.

"All the opportunities Western Boone gives you is what I will remember," Shirley said. "The Athletic Ambassadors, that has been really impactful for me and has helped me become the person I am today."

Shirley plans on studying pre-pharmacy at IU-Southeast.

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.