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Slippery Rock High grad Julia Hart branching out with Geneva College softball

Slippery Rock High School graduate and recent Geneva College graduate Julia Hart hit .394 with seven homers and 47 RBI in softball this past spring. Submitted Photo

GENEVA — As the starting first baseman for the Geneva College softball team, Julia Hart is touching all the bases.

Literally and figuratively.

The Slippery Rock High School graduate slugged seven home runs, collected 47 RBIs, hit 15 doubles and two triples while batting .394 for the Golden Tornadoes this spring.

She was also named Geneva’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, served as a student trainer, handled Game Day operations for basketball and volleyball, and served as an assistant to the athletic director while graduating with a degree in sports management.

“When I’m through with school, I definitely want to have a career connected to sports in some way,” Hart said. “I enjoy being involved in all aspects of it.”

Geneva’s athletic director, Van Zamic, is also the school’s head softball coach. Hart is returning to Geneva to pursue her master’s degree in higher education. She will be Zamic’s graduate assistant as well.

“Julia will only have one class a week, so she’ll have time on her hands,” Zamic said. “I know she’ll keep herself busy, though. She’ll continue to do what she’s been doing up here.

“On top of all that, she’s carrying a 3.91 grade point average. She’s just a great girl. She works in sports medicine with our football team during the fall. We’ll be playing some fall softball, too. She had 47 RBI in 50 games this spring. That’s very steady production.”

Hart’s mother, Glee, a devoted softball player in her day, died while Julia was playing high school ball for the Rockets. On the day the scoreboard at SRHS was dedicated in memory of her mother, Julia cracked her first-ever home run over the left field fence.

Glee Hart wore uniform No. 22 when she played. That’s been Julia’s number since late in her high school career.

Geneva College first baseman and Slippery Rock High School graduate Julia Hart was named the Golden Tornadoes’ Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Submitted Photo

“Every time I hit a home run, I think of her,” Hart said of her mother. “I know my mom’s been watching me.”

Julia’s game certainly bears watching these days — but it wasn’t always that way.

“I don’t think I ever hit above .300 in high school,” she said. “When I was younger, I was the flex player in our lineup and never even came to bat. Toward the end of my high school career, I started hitting the ball more solidly.”

She’s played a number of different positions — outfield, third base, second base — in travel ball and was originally a middle infielder at Geneva. The last two seasons, she’s settled in at first base.

“I didn’t even have a first baseman’s glove my junior year,” she said, laughing. “I didn’t know I’d be playing that position, so I just used my regular glove. When Coach told me I needed to get a first baseman’s glove after that season, I felt like, ‘Wow, I finally have a regular position.’”

Hart made first team All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference the past two seasons after being named honorable mention her sophomore season. Her freshman year, she was the goalkeeper for Geneva’s women’s soccer team and earned a PAC Rookie of the Week award that fall.

By not playing softball her freshman year, she will be able to complete her eligibility in the sport next spring.

A team captain, Hart was one of only two seniors on the Golden Tornadoes team that won the PAC regular season title with a 15-5 league mark. The team was 30-20 overall.

With Hart coming back, the team loses only one starter.

“We began last season with two seniors, two juniors, all the rest sophomores and freshmen,” Zamic said. “I anticipated this would be a rebuilding year, but this team far exceeded expectations. We had a bunch of sophomores step up to pay prominent roles.

“All of these girls look up to Julia. They admire her. She’s a leader in the truest sense of the word.”

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