Emily Jost began her sports career as a gymnast.

She turned to softball when she was 11 years old after wrist injuries forced her to give up gymnastics.

“I went out for Vineland Pigtails, and the first time I ever picked up a softball was at tryouts,” she said. “The rest of the kids that I started playing with had already played together for years. It was a completely different experience for me.”

Jost, 18, had no problem catching up.

Now a St. Joseph High School senior shortstop, Jost is one of South Jersey’s top hitters.

She has sparked the Wildcats to a 12-0 start with a .382 batting average (13 for 34), four home runs, 17 runs scored and 15 RBIs. She will attend the University of New Haven on a softball scholarship.

“I was really upset I had to give up gymnastics,” she said. “That was my sport. I loved it so much. But I think I loved the challenge of softball. It was so different than what gymnastics was.”

A Vineland resident, Jost is the youngest of Brian and Karen Jost’s two children. Her older brother, Jack, is 20.

In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Jost discussed several topics, including the Wildcats trip next week to play games in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

On how she caught up after starting at a late age

I had a really good base (from gymnastics) of being athletic. That’s what made it easy for me to catch up. My first coach was Kevin Williams (president of the Vineland Pigtail League), and he basically taught me the whole game. I worked really hard. They got me to batting coach Buddy Treen. They said since I was so raw, I didn’t have any bad habits yet. I was quick to learn.

On playing shortstop

When I first started playing, I was at shortstop, and then they moved me to first base because I was good at picking throws (out of the dirt). When I got a new travel team, the New Jersey Gators, they put me back at shortstop, and that’s where I’ve been since.

On team’s undefeated start

Everybody is really happy about it. We work really hard. We practice every day, and it really shows. (St. Joe) Coach Les (Olson) pushes every single one of us as hard has he can to get the best out of us. He really is a great coach and he gets everyone to show their full potential when we play. I think we’re capable of winning a state championship.

On trip to Myrtle Beach

We’re all very excited. The ride is going to be a little tough. It’s really long. But I think it will be a good bonding experience for us too.

On her decision to attend New Haven

I really like the location. I didn’t want to play where it was hot. I like the cold weather better. They have a good academic program. They’re softball team is pretty good (25-11 heading into Friday). It’s the perfect fit for me.

On what she plans to study

I’m going to major in biology, pre-med. I’m going to be a speech pathologist.

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Contact: 609-272-7209 MMcGarry@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMcGarry

Staff Writer

I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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