IRONTON — Keegan Moore may be changing colors, and the dominant ace pitcher for the Ironton Fighting Tigers will now be a different kind of cat.
As in an Ohio University Bobcat, as Moore —the two-time Division III all-Ohio first-team pitcher and the reigning Southeast District Division III Player of the Year —made it official on Thursday, putting pen to paper on a National Letter-of-Intent to play college softball at the Athens-based school.
That’s correct, as Moore makes the move to the Mid-American Conference of the NCAA Division I —starting in the 2023 campaign.
She was flanked at her signing ceremony inside Ironton High School’s Conley Center by her parents, Scott and Barb Moore; brother Tatum Moore; and several Fighting Tigers teammates and friends.
Moore moved to the Ironton City Schools District from nearby Coal Grove before her freshman season —and has had her way with opposing batters one thru nine in her two seasons since.
Her sophomore season, like everybody else’s 2020 spring, was canceled by the Ohio High School Athletic Association because of the coronavirus threat.
Already with over 500 career strikeouts, Moore has one more year at Ironton —as the Fighting Tigers are the defending Division III Region 11 runner-up.
But her college recruiting began early on, and it involved some serious suitors —including academic strongholds Yale of the Ivy League on the East Coast and Stanford of the Pacific-12 on the West Coast.
She also had contact with the University of Kentucky of the Southeastern Conference, and Ohio’s MAC rivals Miami (Ohio) University and Kent State.
Moore said, in an interview on Thursday via social media, that her official visit to Ohio University made her “fall in love” with the Athens campus.
“I decided on OU because when I visited, I fell in love with it. It has a true college town feel and it wasn’t too far from home, but far enough to be away from home,” she said. “Yes, there were other schools interested, but OU was by far my favorite and the coaches sealed the deal for me. The recruiting was very hard to go through. I wouldn’t want to go through it again. It was super-stressful and I was happy to have it over with.”
Those Bobcat coaches, you ask, are head coach Kenzie Roark and assistants Ashley Taylor and Andrew Stover.
Moore will continue to pitch for the Bobcats, but whether as a starter, reliever or even closer remains to be seen.
“My goals are really to just be a leader on the field, make a name for myself there, and to continue to develop my skills and obviously start as a freshman,” she said.
In her first two seasons at Ironton, she has made all-Ohio Valley Conference first team, all-Southeast District Division III first team, and Division III all-Ohio first team —plus district POY as a junior.
In all likelihood, she would have garnered those same accolades —had her sophomore season taken place.
Moore mentioned motivation from a lost year when discussing the Fighting Tigers’ regional runner-up run.
“I hated losing my sophomore season, but I looked at it as a challenge to prove everyone wrong. When we lost all of those talented seniors, a lot people counted us out. I took the freshmen under my wing and we went and had a great season,” she said. “I am really looking forward to my senior season, because everyone has experienced what it is like to play at the stage we played at.”
She said she has enjoyed her time at Ironton, and has lofty goals for her senior spring.
“I have really enjoyed playing for Ironton, the atmosphere is amazing. They made it super-easy moving my freshman year, they welcomed me in with open arms. I have loved every second of playing here. I am also very relieved to have this (recruiting) process over with going into my senior season. Definitely going to make my life a little easier,” said Moore. “My goal for my senior season is to take my team to state and make history at Ironton one last time.”
Of course, that’s all before she changes colors from Fighting Tiger Orange and Black to the Bobcats’ Kelly Green —and becomes a different kind of cat.
Moore said she plans on majoring in Chemical Engineering at Ohio University.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved