It was at a college softball tournament in San Diego this past March where Texas A&M’s Kaitlyn Alderink felt a little more mature by doing something immature with her Aggie teammates.
With the threat of a rainout looming against Pittsburgh, the Aggies and Panthers staged a mini food fight, then took turns sliding on the tarp before the game was canceled.
Alderink will bring stories of her freshman season and a wealth of local softball knowledge to Grapevine Faith’s June 20-23 softball camp at the Worth St. Batting Cages.
But what she’ll take into her sophomore season is a load of momentum.
“That rainout in San Diego was one of a few times where I started to get comfortable with the college game,” Alderink said. “Just going down there last fall, I was hoping to get a spot in the lineup and just see the field some, so I feel pretty privileged to have worked my way into a regular role.”
That role was as the Aggies No. 2 hitter in the lineup and starting second baseman in her just-completed freshman season.
Alderink hit .361, starting all 58 A&M games with 38 RBI and a .506 slugging percentage.
The latter stat is something new to Alderink’s previous efforts.
“When I got down here, our hitting coach told me he was going to convert me into a power hitter,” Alderink said. “I did every single thing he asked me and my swing is totally different than what it was in high school.”
Alderink said she’ll bring that message with her as a guest instructor at Grapevine Faith’s camp.
She spent one season, her freshman year, on Faith’s state title-winning team in 2012 before transferring to Keller for her final three years of eligibility.
“What those years taught me is almost more than I can explain,” Alderink said. “There are two high school memories that always come up for me and both of them are not good ones.
“In both instances, we lost games and playoff chances because of what happened and immediately after, you know, I’m not thinking about what it will all mean down the road, but for me, it’s meant taking each moment to appreciate my teammates. We don’t win or lose solely because of me.”
Those on-field setbacks occurred in her sophomore and junior seasons when a misplayed fly ball led to a game-winning run in one game and then a strikeout against Lewisville ended another playoff run.
By the time February rolled around this year, though, Alderink said she her high school experience was behind her and she thought she was all set for game No. 1 of the regular season.
“It was against UCLA and I was really nervous,” she said. “In my first collegiate at bat, I was trying too hard.
“Luckily, I got hit by a pitch and while I was standing on first base, I was laughing because it was such a painful relief. I settled down after that.”