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Sam Emanuel

Created: 04/23/2014 10:46 PM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- "My dad is an umpire, and he started teaching me how to pitch in second grade or so, and I just loved it," Sam Emanuel said.

"She's been working really hard the last few years, and she put a lot of time and effort in this past offseason," Southland softball coach Greg Schulte said. "She went to a few hitting camps, and she's also been pitching once or twice a week all year round."

That dedication is paying dividends for Emanuel, who picked up two hits, and struck out six in Southland's 8-6 win over Dover-Eyota Tuesday.

"It was our first win of the season and we were really excited. We started off really strong, and I'm really proud of the girls. They've worked really hard and they've improved a lot," Emanuel said.

"She's shown a lot of good mental toughness this year," Schulte said. "She's a great leader on the team, and she's showing it on the field now."

The Rebels told me they value Emanuel's experience, because they only have two seniors.

"Me and the seniors are really close, too," Emanuel said. "I just try to motivate the team as best I can, and I can say that for the seniors, too. They definitely do their best, also."