Whether it’s softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball or even tennis, Lambrick Park Secondary senior Emma Entzminger has a golden touch with the ball. The 2013 Sport B.C. female high school athlete of the year, Entzminger likely had a shot at a scholarship in any one of those sports. What she loves best, though, is being at the ballpark.
On Friday, the 18-year-old signed a letter of intent to play in California next year with the NCAA Division 1 San Jose State Spartans.
“She’s a good athlete, and with a good athlete, you can do a lot of things,” said San Jose coach Pete Turner, appreciating the fact Entzminger can move around to other positions besides her usual catcher or shortstop. “She gives us a lot of versatility. We’re pretty excited about her.”
Entzminger, who plays for the Victoria Devils softball team, is enrolled in the Lambrick Park Diamond for Excellence baseball and softball academy. Last year, she was a member of Team Canada, along with current Spartan Chelsea Jenner of Abbotsford at the International Softball Federation World Junior Championship, and won gold with Team B.C. at the Canada Summer Games. Former Lambrick grad Chelsea Strandlund, now at North Carolina, was also a member of Team Canada.
“Emma loves it, she’s skilled, and she doesn’t like to lose,” said academy director Rocky Vitale. “She’s strong, she’s physical and she’s determined.”
Entzminger showed that toughness in scoring 12 goals, including five in one game, over two days to power Lambrick Park to the Island senior girls soccer title last week. Barring a teachers’ strike or lockout, she’ll be with the Pride in Penticton May 29 to 31 for the B.C. championship, where they finished fifth last season. Entzminger received the Golden Boot Award for her seven goals in the 2013 provincial tournament.
Soon, however, the high school days will be over.
“It’s all becoming real now,” Entzminger said, admitting to a few jitters as the reality of what was once just a dream is coming true. “You pick a school, and you go out into the real world.”
As far as this summer, Entzminger is attending the junior and senior Team Canada camp at the end of June, and hopes to get to provincials and nationals with the Devils. Then it will be moving south, with the encouragement of national teammate Jenner.
“She had nothing but good things to say about [San Jose],” Entzminger said. “She loves the team, loves the hot weather. It’s a good location, and a good school.”
Apart from swinging the bat this summer, Entzminger will also be spending plenty of time in the gym — one aspect of elite sport that’s been drummed into the student athletes during academy training.
“When I go away to college — they hit the ball harder and throw faster.”
The connection that led Entzminger to San Jose came through Vitale, who played with and against Turner in their younger days back in the States. Turner has been a guest coach at the academy, and has players from both Canada and Australia on his roster. Season after next, he expects to add two more, including another, as yet unnamed, Lambrick Park grad.
“If they’re great athletes, it doesn’t matter where they come from,” Turner said.