The Den Leader: St. Pius X's Emily Dear
Emily Dear is a natural.
As an only child, she was raised around sports with all of her boy cousins.
"I really only played softball growing up because all of my cousins played baseball," Dear said. "So, growing up around that, I knew early that softball was what I wanted to do."
It was the right path and it didn't take her, or college programs, long to figure out that she was pretty good.
"In middle school all my friends started playing select ball, so I just went with them," she said. "I started getting noticed by colleges early. It was kind of scary at first. Like, I was a freshman getting offers. I didn't think I had to plan my life out that early."
The junior outfielder verbally committed to UTSA in ninth grade, so her path was sort of set.
"I really love the school," Dear said. "The field is in the center of campus, so everyone kind of congregates around the program. The whole city of San Antonio supports UTSA. It's their go-to school."
Dear has some unfinished business, however, at St. Pius X. New coach Rocki Tello will lean on the Panthers' versatile star in 2020.
"When I first met her, I could tell she was a natural leader," Tello said. "She came to me and asked, 'what do you expect of me as a leader and how can I set the standard you want for the rest of the team?' I was like, okay, we can build around her. What I love is that you can put her anywhere on the field. I can put her at third base and she would look like a natural doing it."
Tello also loves her on the mound, but Dear's versatility is what makes her an elite prospect and an invaluable asset on a roster.
"I'm really confident," Dear said. "That kind of makes whatever I'm asked to do on the field just easier."
The two-time, all-state selection works on her craft, even when she's not on the field.
"I do a lot of yoga – I love it," she said. "It helps with my flexibility and I'm not afraid to dive around in the outfield because of it."