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Diamond Cutter

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Cambridge City Lincoln third baseman Emmie Pugh prepares to make a throw following a ground ballat the IHSAA semistate contest at Frankfort High School on June 1. Pugh will step into the college ranks this year, playing for Bethel University. The freshman-to-be says that she plans to play either shortstop of third base for the Lady Pilots.
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Cambridge City Lincoln’s Emmie Pugh puts the ball in play in this photo from the 2018-19 season. Pugh has signed a letter of intent to continue her playing career at Bethel University.
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Surrounded by her parents and coaches, Cambridge City Lincoln’s Emmie Pugh, center, signs her letter-of-intent to play softball of Bethel University.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

CAMBRIDGE CITY — Emmie Pugh is coming off a season that most high school softball players only dream of.

Playing third base for Cambridge City Lincoln High School, Pugh and her teammates advanced all the way to the Class 2A Semistate, a feat that she says is perhaps her best memory in all the years she has played the game.

That’s understandable, considering that reaching the Final Four in the high school ranks is no small chore.

Individually, Pugh had plenty to do with the success enjoyed by the Lady Golden Eagles in 2019.

Batting an amazing .575 throughout the spring, she was easily the most dangerous hitter in a Lincoln line-up that had plenty more to offer in the batter’s box.

She also had five home runs, showing she had a little pop in that bat. Following the 2019 campaign, Pugh was a First Team All-State selection.

So, it was no wonder that she got notice from schools on the next level.

While success like Pugh’s tends to draw plenty of attention from college recruiters, the daughter of Tami and James Pugh said she was laser focused on one school.

“Bethel University was the school that I wanted,” she said. “They gave me such a good offer, that I really didn’t look any further at other schools.”

Following that initial decision to play in Mishawaka, Indiana, the Cambridge City senior made a visit to the school ... and that only re-inforced her choice.

“They’ve got a small campus, something that I really liked, and their softball facilities were amazing,” she said. “While I was there, I stayed with one of the other players from the team, and we really hit it off.”

Knowing what makes her happy has never been difficult for the 18-year-old.

That’s particularly true when it comes to the game of softball.

“I fell in love with the game right away,” she said, recalling her first experience wearing a softball glove as a six-year-old. “I knew even then that I was always going to continue to play softball.”

She started playing the slow-pitch game, but soon moved into the more difficult fast-pitch ranks.

“It was a little difficult at first,” she said of facing the faster pitching. “It was something that I had to get used to.”

And boy, did she ever.

By her sophomore year, she was hitting .422 for the Golden Eagles, trailing only one other player on the team that had as many at-bats as she did.

In spite of that, she was not having college softball aspirations ... not yet, anyway.

“In my sophomore year, I didn’t really think about that. I wasn’t really sure if that was what I wanted to do,” she said.

One year later, however, she eclipsed the .500 mark, leading the team with a .517 batting average. For her efforts, Pugh was honored as an Second Team All-State player.

Between her successful year at the plate, and some very valuable input she was getting, college finally seemed more within her reach.

“I was playing travel ball with the Indy Rebels, and I was being told by them that I had the talent to go on,” she said.

Looking back, she gives thanks to those who believed in her and helped steer her toward what she hopes will be a big college softball career.

But there were others to thank as well.

“First and foremost, I want to thank my family most of all,” she said. “I also have to thank all of my travel and high school coaches, as well.”

And then there were those who played closest to her.

“I am very thankful for all of my teammates,” she said. “They weren’t all that surprised that I was going to play in college, as they knew that many who play travel ball wind up doing that.”

Looking forward to the college game, Pugh says she is excited about some things coming up on the Bethel schedule.

“The team has a spring trip to Florida and that’s going to be nice,” she said. “After that, we’re going on a missions trip during next summer, so I am really looking forward to that as well.”

If it sounds like she’s getting ready to live one of her dreams, that’s because she is.

Her advice for others who are hoping to follow her and reach theirs is really quite simple.

“Always continue to work toward your dream and never stop, even when others try to tell you that you can’t,” she said.