For the second straight year, two-time All-American softball player Emily Keagbine has been selected as the female recipient of the Vern Marshall Award, saluting the Linfield student-athlete exhibiting the greatest tenacity. She received the honor after a vote of the Linfield coaching staff.
Keagbine has been a key member of the Wildcat softball club, which claimed its eighth consecutive Northwest Conference title, won the inaugural league tournament championship and is four wins away from realizing the program’s second national championship.
With 45 starts already under her belt this season, the senior shortstop enters the national championship tournament hitting .455 with 17 home runs, 13 doubles and 59 RBI. Keagbine leads the team in doubles and ranks third in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. On the conference level, she was a top-4 performer in five different statistical categories.
Her outstanding play landed her a spot on the conference all-star team for the fourth time, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-West Region team for the third straight year and the NFCA All-American squad twice.
“Over the course of her career Emily has established herself as one of the greatest all-around players to put on a Wildcat uniform,” said head coach Jackson Vaughan, noting that his fourth-year player has started and excelled at three different positions: catcher, third base and shortstop.
But at the same time that she has enjoyed success in uniform, Keagbine has also privately experienced heartache off the field. Her brother Danny, three years her elder, passed away in mid-March after nearly a two-year battle with cancer. Despite the tragedy, Emily played on.
“Even when Emily and her family were coping with the loss of her brother Danny she remained constantly positive and focused on giving her best to the team every day,” Vaughan said. “I truly admire the way Emily and the Keagbine family rallied together during a difficult time and pushed forward in their efforts to live life to the fullest as a terrific tribute to Danny and his fight against cancer.”
Whether one considers her skills or her passion, Keagbine has clearly left her mark on the Linfield softball program.
“She simply loves to play the game and compete in any spectrum possible,” Vaughan said. “We will certainly have a big hole to fill as a player, competitor, teammate and friend.”
Keagbine will graduate from Linfield May 29 with degrees in mathematics and finance.
The award was established in honor of Vern Marshall ’57, the former Linfield athlete and college and professional sports referee who passed away in 2002.
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