Franklin Regional softball’s Ciara Camacho has baseball past, Division I future

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Thursday, December 14, 2023 | 11:01 AM


A college softball career at Kent State awaits Ciara Camacho, who two years ago was new to the game.

She didn’t know a slap hitter from a designated hitter, a courtesy runner from a pinch runner.

The Franklin Regional junior played baseball for most of her youth sports career, mixing it up with the guys as a gritty speedster with surprising power.

Imagine pit bull toughness and a no-nonsense approach in a 5-foot-4, pony-tailed outfielder who prefers eye black to eye liner.

She is Murrysville’s Macho Camacho.

“She was used to playing on a bigger field, so she had to adjust to that,” Franklin Regional softball coach Jim Armstrong said. “And to the size of the ball.”

The Panthers’ leadoff hitter who played catcher last season could change positions in the spring. She will join her brother, Colton, as a Division I athlete. He is a wrestler at Pitt.

“It has been my dream to play D-I softball,” Camacho said. “When I was younger, everyone asked me why I played baseball instead of softball. They also ask when I was going to switch over. I told everyone that I was a baseball player, and that I was never going to play softball. My parents, however, told people that it was not a matter of if but when.”

She made the eighth-grade baseball team and held her own.

“It wasn’t until coach Armstrong found me on the baseball field towards the end of my middle school season that he worked with me and helped transition over to softball,” Camacho said.

Camacho took what she knew from baseball and translated it to softball.

“She took to it,” Armstrong said. “She wants to be good. She works so hard in her game and cares about what she does.”

Camacho committed to Kent State earlier this week, giving Franklin Regional softball two high-level commits. The other is home run-bashing junior Toryn Fulton, who gave South Florida a verbal nod in October.

“It’s nice to see the two them make their commitments so they can focus on this season,” Armstrong said.

Camacho, a TribLive Westmoreland second-team all-star last season, hit .362 with eight home runs, 29 runs and 15 RBIs as the Panthers’ leadoff hitter. She has 14 career homers.

“She has a cannon, and her bat speed is tremendous,” Armstrong said. “Her exit velocity is very high.”

Camacho said she and her travel softball coach, Adam Acord, contacted several college programs to get her name on the radar.

Kent State was one of the first they reached out to and one of the first to show interest.

“From the first time I met the coaches, I loved how warm and welcoming they all were,” Camacho said. “I really like what the coaches have done for the program in just a short period of time. At (a recent) camp, I got the opportunity to talk to some of the Kent State players and they talked a lot about the culture and positive atmosphere that the coaches brought.

“The family component of Kent State was one of the major reasons why I chose it. I could see myself fitting in and excelling under the coaches’ leadership.”

Her time playing baseball intrigued college coaches, Camacho said.

“(Kent State assistant coach Jeff) Shaffer said they love it that I played baseball,” she said. “It’s a different perspective on how smooth baseball players are on ball transition and throwing.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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