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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2021 Adult #25: KEYSTONE COMBINATION (Contemporary Romance – Trans & Gay #OwnVoices)
KT Hoffman
Mentored by:
Rosie Danan and Ruby Barrett
Book Title:
Contemporary Romance (Trans & Gay #OwnVoices)
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Brief descriptions of panic attacks (non-POV character)


Casey McQuiston’s voice/themes X PITCH (TV)

Gene’s season goals:
1. stay under the radar despite being the first openly trans player in professional baseball;
2. help his minor league team make the playoffs;
3. get the new shortstop—his former rival/current anxious wreck Luis—out of his hair;
4. don’t fall for Luis in the process.



Gene Ionescu has always loved every detail of baseball, but none quite so much as its near-complete indifference to the body. In few other sports can a five-foot, two-inch sprinter appear on the same roster as a six-foot, five-inch hurler. Bigness—muscle, height, maybe a few extra inches of reach, or lithe running legs—helps. But baseball also rewards the patient, the crafty, and, perhaps most of all, the optimistic.

This, more than anything else, is what makes Gene a good baseball player—he plays baseball because he is an optimist, and he is an optimist because he has to be.

Four days before a new season starts, in the most optimistic moment of the most optimistic sport, when every last thing feels possible, Gene sits on the floor of his apartment, wrestling with an Allen wrench.

“Did you see we’re playing your favorite person next week?”

Vince stands in the doorway, noticeably devoid of the snacks Gene asked him to bring.

Gene brandishes his Allen wrench in as threatening a manner as he can manage, limited severely by the half-built bookshelf on his lap and the listless growl of his stomach. He meant to eat hours ago. Just like he meant to set up his apartment as soon as Beaverton’s last season ended, before a new strength training regimen and his ADHD conspired against his best intentions.

“Don’t remind me,” Gene says.

Vince’s grin grows shit-eating. “You’re not looking forward to seeing him?”

20 responses to “PW2021 Adult #25: KEYSTONE COMBINATION (Contemporary Romance – Trans & Gay #OwnVoices)”

  1. Andrea Cascardi says:

    What a great opening! I’m hooked already and would love to read the full manuscript. I hope to see it in my in-box andrea@transatlanticagency.com as an attachment with Pitch Wars Adult request and the title in the subject line. I’m really looking forward to reading more! Thank you, Andrea.

  2. Sharon Pelletier says:

    Obsessed with this pitch (PUN?!)! I’d love to read. Could you please send the full (as a Word doc) and your query to spelletier@dystel.com? If you get more than one request from DG&B, please choose the agent you think is the best fit for you and note in your email the other requests.


  3. Eva Scalzo says:

    Hi KT,

    This sounds super fun and right up my alley. Despite being the least athletic person, I truly love sports romances! I’d love to see the full manuscript, if you are interested in sending it my way. You can submit the full here: QueryManager.com/evascalzo/PitchWars2022

    And if you want to know more about me, here’s a link to my website: http://www.evascalzo.com and my twitter handle is @evascalzo.

    Best of luck to you!

  4. Samantha Wekstein says:

    Hi KT,

    I love your first page, and was immediately caught by your comps! So bummed they cancelled PITCH. I’d love to see your query and first 50 pages. If you’re interested, please send them to QueryManager.com/SamanthaWekstein/PitchWars. Thank you!

    All the best,

    Samantha Wekstein

  5. Paige Wheeler says:

    This sounds amazing. I’d love to take a look at more of your work. Please email me the synopsis and first 100 pages to me at paige@cmalit.com. Please write “Pitch Wars Requested Material” in the subject heading. Thanks so much!

  6. Bonnie Swanson says:


    Hello! I would very much like to read your manuscript! Can you please send it to me in a word doc to querybonnies@gmail.com?



  7. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Love love love this rep. I would love to see the full manuscript. If you find us a match, please send query, synopsis, and pages to QueryManager.com/KaitlynJohnson/Contests

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  8. Sarah N. Fisk says:

    Some of my favorite things in this pitch & sample!

    Please submit the query, synopsis and first three chapters here: https://querymanager.com/query/sarahnfisk/PitchWars

    If multiple agents at Tobias request your materials, please submit to the one you think would be the best fit.

  9. Saritza Hernandez says:

    This sounds amazing and I’d love to see full manuscript! If you think we could be a good match, please send via my QueryManager form here: QueryManager.com/Saritza/PitchWars


  10. Haley Casey says:

    Hi, KT. There is not a single point on my romance wishlist that KEYSTONE COMBINATION doesn’t hit—LGBT+ voices, mental health, sports settings, former rivals, using an Allen wrench as a threat! (I’ll admit, I didn’t know I loved that last one until I saw it.) If you’re willing, I’d love if you sent your full manuscript, synopsis, and author bio to me at haley@cmalit.com! As a note, if another agent at Creative Media Agency requests your manuscript and you’re interested in working with us, please only send your materials to whoever you feel is the best fit. (Though I do hope it’s me, I hope even more sincerely that you make the choice that feels best for you and your writing.) Thanks! —Haley

  11. Penelope Burns says:

    I would love to see more of this! If you’d like, can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  12. Rebecca Podos says:

    YES PLEASE, this sounds amazing and I love the excerpt. I would love to see the query and full manuscript through the Pitch Wars event link on my QueryManager: QueryManager.com/BeccaPodos/PitchWars


  13. Maggie Cooper says:

    KT! I will admit that my baseball experience is limited to a very short stint on a university press softball team, but I so appreciate both a rivals-to-lovers situation and a gay trans romance. I would love it if you would send me your query and manuscript via email to mcooper@aevitascreative.com.

  14. Jessica Errera says:

    Hello KT–I confess I’m terrible at sports but love reading about them, especially coupled with romance! I’d love to see your synopsis and full manuscript, you can find me via email at jerrera@janerotrosen.com and please include PItchWars in your subject line!

  15. Michaela Whatnall says:

    I’m so excited to see a story that centers trans characters in sports! This sounds incredible and I would love the opportunity to consider it. Please send a query and the first 50 pages as a Word document to me via Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/michaelawhatnall/PitchWars2021 If you have any trouble using the link, you’re welcome to email me instead at mwhatnall@dystel.com.

    If you’ve received a request from more than one Dystel, Goderich & Bourret agent, please only submit to the agent here that you feel would be the best fit, and let that agent know about any other requests you received from our agency. Thank you!

  16. Analieze Cervantes says:


    I’m digging your pitch/excerpt and would love to request the query, synopsis, and the first 3 chapters of your manuscript!

    Submit here: QueryManager.com/AnaliezeCervantes/PitchWars

    Can’t wait to see this in my box soon! Have a great day!

    Analieze Cervantes

    Literary Agent
    Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

  17. Jessica Alvarez says:

    Hi KT. What a great start! Please send me the full and synopsis. You can upload them here as Word docs: http://www.QueryManager.com/JessicaAlvarez/PitchWars. If someone else at BookEnds has also requested, please choose whichever agent you think is the best fit and only submit to one of us. Looking forward to reading. Thanks!, Jessica Alvarez, BookEnds Literary

  18. Allison Hunter says:

    Great concept! Please send me a query via our submissions guidelines at http://www.trellisliterary.com and mention PITCH WARS. Thank you! xAllison Hunter

  19. Claire Draper says:

    I’d like to read the full manuscript. Can you send it and a query letter to claire@thebentagency.com. If you are submitting to multiple agents at our agency that’s more than okay, just let us know in your email. Thanks!

  20. Dana Murphy says:

    oh my gosh, THIS PITCH! Trying to contain myself from making one million “pitch” related puns so I’ll just say that I would love to read more. Per our submission guidelines, please send a query and your first ten pages in the body of an email to submissions@thebookgroup.com — with my name, the books title, and “Pitch Wars” in the email’s subject line. I’ll be in touch as soon as I see it to request the full. (If you’d like to review our full submission guidelines, please visit: http://www.thebookgroup.com/submissionguidelines)

    I don’t believe any of my colleagues at The Book Group are participating in Pitch Wars this year, but if you do get requests from others — or if you’ve already submitted to someone else on our team — don’t worry! We happily accept simultaneous submissions. If you wouldn’t mind flagging this in your query letter, it’s helpful to know up front.

    Thank you! I hope I make the list of agents you chose to submit to but, either way, huge congratulations on your Pitch Wars participation this year.


    Dana Murphy