Four players, coach to participate in Showcase

Four area softball standouts and an area coach will be competing in the 2014 Queen of Diamonds Showcase North at Kent State University on Jan. 4-5.

Buckeye Local’s Lauren Swiger and St. Clairsville’s Mackenzie Otto are back for their second year, while Martins Ferry’s Tyrah King and Shadyside Junior High product Kaitlyn Weaver will be making their first appearances.

Former St. John Central and Bethany College standout Ashley Marinacci serves as a coach.

“I took over Coach Ben’s (Taylor) team when he started getting sick,” Marinacci said over the telephone Friday morning. “I’ve had some pretty good teams, but it’s hard to say because of the situations who start in. You get assigned the players and they have certain positions that they play.”

The QDSN is part of the Queen of Diamond’s Showcase events which are the largest fastpitch softball showcases of their kind in the U.S. allowing players to showcase their skills to hundreds of college scouts and coaches.

This softball event continues to attract athletes from 30-plus states and two Canadian Provinces. Its little sister showcase, the Queen of Diamonds South, is in its 8th season. Both attract in excess of 2000-plus applicants in which 264-plus athletes are selected. This showcase is very unique as athletes actually “apply to” this event individually and are selected based on many criteria ranging from ability, potential, academics, grad year, coaches requests and referrals.

Being in the 8th grade, Weaver is one of the youngest players ever selected for the event. She will be playing second base for a team of players from Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Kaitlyn also plays middle infield and outfield in the summer for her travel softball team the 16U Road Runners.

Swiger and Otto just completed their sophomore seasons for the Panthers and Red Devils, respectively.

Swiger was co-OVAC Class 4A Player of the Year. King set a Purple Rider record for most home runs in a season last spring during her freshman campaign.

The event runs from 5-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 4, and on Jan. 5 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

North can be reached at