Youth will be served at the Queen of Diamonds Showcase next month.
St. Clairsville freshman catcher Jolyn Shunk will have her chance to impress numerous collegiate coaches at the event scheduled for Jan. 5-6 at Kent State University.
Shunk, who is the youngest player chosen for the event, applied to attend the showcase, but really never thought about being chosen.
"I never dreamt I would be selected," Shunk said. "I was just trying to get the experience in filling out the application in hopes that I would have been selected by the time I am a junior in high school."
She learned of her selection via email last month after submitting numerous stats, including her pop time, overhand throw speed. She also had to submit answers to several essay-style questions dealing with her abilities and reasons for wanting to play softball at the collegiate level and the sport in general.
The Queen of Diamonds Showcase is in its 19th year and is the largest of its kind in the United States. More than 20 states and Canada will be represented at the event.
Shunk is preparing for the event with an open mind.
"This is the first showcase I've ever attended, so I really hope to be able to hold my own," Shunk said. "I just plan on giving 110 percent and hopefully get noticed as a college recruit. And, I want to have fun."
Along with the softball skills' showcase, the Queen of Diamonds also holds informative sessions on the recruiting process and the importance of academics.
Shunk, who will be entering her first varsity season with the Lady Red Devils in the spring, has played with the Road Runners travel team for four years. She actually begin playing sports as a baseball player.
"I began playing softball at the age of eight," Shunk recalled. "My mom has coached me a lot through the years and my dad has always practiced with me and helped, too."
While Shunk was chosen as a catcher, she's also played some second base, but is willing to play any position with the exception of pitcher.
Shunk, whose brother Derek was a standout player for the Red Devils' state runnerup football team, has been playing on Sundays in Akron for her travel ball coaches Joe Weaver and Rick Sherman.
However, she's anxious for her first season in the Lady Devils' uniform this spring.
"Wearing the red and gray for the Devils will be exciting, and I hope to lead them as a catcher," Shunk said.
"My goals are to continue to work on my hitting, arm speed and to have a winning season and eventually play college softball."
Shunk is certainly on the right path to achieving her long-range goals.
Jolyn is the daughter of Dave and Jennifer Shunk of St. Clairsville.