Dominique Emmett was glad to return to her longtime position of catcher for the 2014 softball season for Abington Heights.

As a sophomore, Emmett exploded for a remarkable season that ended with her being selected as a first-team designated hitter/designated player on the Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches All-State team.

“It’s incredible,” Emmett said. “I’m really honored and grateful.”

All she did in her recently-completed sophomore season was bat .590 for the Lady Comets and belt nine home runs. She was so on-target during the season that Emmett struck out just one time all year.

Believe it or not, defense played a big role in Emmett’s offensive prowess this year. That wasn’t the way it was in 2013.

“Last year, when I played third base, I had to get used to a new position because it was the only open position on the field,” Emmett said. “That was tough and I didn’t focus on my hitting because I was overwhelmed by my new position.”

Having been a catcher all her life, the change to third required a lot of effort trying to be a solid defender at third base.

But when the 2014 season rolled around, Emmett was back home as catcher, comfortable with her defensive ability behind the plate, leaving her more time to work on her batting skills.

“I was able to focus on my hitting this year — most of my focus went there,” Emmett said. “I put so much time on my hitting; I let my defense take care of itself.”

Being a veteran at hitting fourth, Emmett drew on that experience and manufactured a remarkable season for the Lady Comets.

“I’ve always been strong, and have been the cleanup hitter. I was always bigger than the other kids,” Emmett said. “It’s always been part of my job, but I’ve never had a year like this one. My swing is natural, but all the hard work in the off-season helped with my consistency. I’ve always hit with power, but the hard work gave me consistency.”

It also gave her added patience, according to Lady Comets coach John Kelly.

“She’s a real good all-around player,” Kelly said. “She became a much more patient hitter. She’s always had a good eye, but didn’t always have the patience. I felt she had a lot of potential as a freshman, but I never expected a year like she had.”

Kelly liked the work ethic she brought to her workouts and saw that Emmett understood what it was going to take to reach her goals.

“She’s aimed high. Her goal is to play Division I softball, and she’s always worked toward that,” Kelly said. “She’s always been a hard worker.”

Still, despite all the work she put into her softball and for how well her statistics were, Emmett was surprised to receive such an honor.

“When they told me I did [make all-state], it didn’t occur to me [that I’d be picked for the all-state team],” Emmett said. “That usually goes to seniors and juniors, and I didn’t think I’d be considered. I’m glad to be recognized. The fact is that I thought I had some time to make that a goal. Making [Times-Tribune] all-region was a goal. I didn’t worry about it [the all-state team], because they usually pick older kids.”

But now, she has set herself apart from many of the others, as few sophomores nab any sort of all-state accolades, let alone being chosen for the first team. It is an advantage that Emmett hopes works in her favor.

“I think this is going to help a lot, to be talked about, anything that puts my name out there,” Emmett said. “It’s good to be recognized somewhere where they [college coaches] are already looking at. It’s there for them to see.”

The honor and the statistics that led to the all-state recognition will get Emmett on just about any Division I coach’s recruiting list. She understands that when any coach pays a visit to one of her games, she’ll have to prove herself all over again.

Armed with self confidence, it’s where Emmett has wanted to be all along – in position to attract a Division I scholarship offer.

Sports experience:

• Abington Heights HS Varsity 2014 (catcher)- starter sophomore year- Awarded 2014 team MVP. Was the division I league leader in batting average .590 and 9 HR. Had 27 hits, 20 RBI,and a slugging percentage of 1.308. Also, led all 3 league divisions in batting avg and homeruns. Chosen for Division I All-star Team. Selected as 2014 Division I All Region Catcher. 2014 All-State Hitter/ Designated Player.

• Abington Heights HS Varsity 2013 (third base/catcher) – starter freshman year – Awarded Rookie of the Year. Batting average .368, RBI-14, Triples -3.

• Abington Heights Jr. High – 2012-2011 (catcher/ third Base) #1 in Division both years. Won League and Division Championships both years. Grade 8 batting average: 438 grade 7 batting average: 720

• Impact Panthers 16U-2013 Travel (catcher/third base/shortstop) Awarded MVP (6) for tournament play. Team placed second in two tournaments. Batting average 500; on-base percentage .529

• Carbino Club, Little League 2013- (Third Base/ Catcher)

• Olyphant Girls (recreational) Softball 2013- batting average 600, HR-1, current record 5-1.

• Abington Wildcats 16U-2012 travel (catcher/third base) Awarded MVP (5) for tournament play.

• Endless Mountain Blast 14U-2012 Travel (shortstop/catcher) Awarded MVP (6) for tournament play.

• Pocono Pride 14U-2011 Travel (catcher/third base) Awarded MVP (7) for tournament play.

• Frozen Ropes – Angels Travel 12U-2010 (catcher/third base/shortstop) awarded MVP (5)

• Abington Recreational Softball: Ages 6-14 (shortstop/ catcher/ third base), batting average 650-700 each year

Accomplishments:

2014 Led Division I league as well as all league divisions in batting average (.590) and home runs (9)

2014 Awarded team varsity MVP

2013 Rookie of the Year in ninth grade, Lead team in hits

2012 Catching skills evaluated by former Olympic catcher, Ann Jarvis, director of operations for the Softball Factory. Invited to tournament play in Houston, Texas

2011 Competed in the USSSA World Series in Orlando, Florida - Placed ninth in 14B

35 MVP Medals awarded for travel softball tournaments

Lead team in HR, RBI and batting average (.400) in eighth grade

Lead team in HR, RBI and batting avg. (.700) in seventh grade