Pistora gives Royals her best shot
Immediately after Ali Pistora threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday at the Kansas City Royals game, the catcher had a question for her.
"He told me, 'Hey, you're from Tonganoxie, aren't you?'" Pistora said about Royals third base coach Brian Poldberg, who had caught the pitch. "He knew Coach J (Tonganoxie Middle School athletic director Phil Jeannin)."
The Kansas City Star, which had selected Pistora as its girls Scholar-Athlete of the Year, had arranged for her to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. She also received a $2,000 scholarship from the Star.
An honor student and standout in volleyball, basketball and track, Pistora will attend Kansas State University in the fall and compete in track for the Wildcats. She recently placed second in the javelin at the Class 4A state track and field championships in Wichita. She medaled all four years at the state track meet.
Pistora had some pitching experience before she stepped onto the mound at Kauffman Stadium. She was a softball pitcher until the seventh grade. But she had never thrown in front of 28,015 people on Buck Night.
"I just went out there and thought I'd have more strength," Pistora said. "My arm went dead. It was nerve-racking. It barely made it to the plate."
She may not have delivered the pitch with as much velocity as she hoped, but Pistora located well.
"It was a strike," she said.
Pistora's parents, Peggy and Joe, accompanied her to the field, along with her brother, Zack. Afterward, Kansas City defeated Florida, 6-2.
This summer, Pistora has been lifting weights in preparation for her first season at Kansas State. She's also coaching a freshman and sophomore basketball team, along with a junior and senior volleyball team.
"It will be pretty fun, but different," Pistora said. "I hope I don't get too sad that I'm away from home."