A fielding comic anchors Keller squad

04/28/2014 3:59 PM

04/28/2014 4:01 PM

A free-spirited senior seems to have helped create the just-right chemistry for the Keller softball team.

Katie “Bob” Laws, a senior outfielder on the Keller softball team, has helped the Lady Indians stay focused when needed.

Laws, who the team refers to as just “Bob,” said the story she tells people as to how she’s come to be known by the boy’s name is that her parents really wanted a male child.

“That’s the story I tell people,” Laws said. “The truth is that I had a German friend who just wanted to call me by the most American name he could. It was on Facebook and someone from the softball team caught wind of it. Now, even my parents call me Bob,” she said.

All joking aside – which is hard to do when speaking with Laws – the senior has made great contributions for the team in her years on the varsity squad.

Laws was initially a catcher and third basemen in her sophomore and junior seasons.

Then, during a “grudge-match” game against Carroll, Laws was inserted into right field.

“I made one diving catch, and here I am,” Laws said.

Laws joked that she is often making dives for the ball in the field because, “I’m not an Olympic sprinter. But I can read the ball pretty well and if the wind is going in, it’s easier to dive for it,” she said. “I hate giving up extra bases.”

Asked if she was ready to take to the outfield last year, she replied simply, “not at all. But it’s fun, and I like getting high-fives.”

Keller head coach Bryan Poehler said Laws is the “team goofball,” but has a special knack of getting the team to relax when things get tense.

“She has way of loosening everyone up and getting them relaxed,” Poehler said.

But the coach said Laws is also likely the most improved player from her previous seasons.

“She’s been more of a surprise and shocking more than anything,” Poehler said.

He recalls last season in a playoff game in Midland, Laws had a highlight-reel diving catch over the foul line.

“It was the same thing against the wall,” Poehler said of another play by Laws. “It’s been that way ever since. She’s had spectacular catches every game and consistently does it over and over and over again. She gets the job done. She’s been a fantastic surprise and a big asset.”

Laws is also the instigator and creator of the team’s pregame ritual of “tumble time.”

“Tumble time is a sacred event,” Laws explained jokingly. “We go to center field, but I can’t disclose what happens. What people see is us rolling around, doing yoga and rolling on top of our (ball) buckets. It’s a basic ritual what we talk about, and how we tumble is based on how we’re feeling at the time.”

So, how long does “tumble time” last?

“It lasts about 10 minutes if we’re being rushed, or whenever coach tells us to take it off the field,” she said.

With such dialogue from the senior, it would be easy to assume she’s not taking softball too seriously.

“I don’t take too much seriously and softball is just a game,” Laws said. “I can get serious when needed.”

That easy-going attitude is helping the Lady Indians play above their experience, as Laws is one of just three senior players on the team.

“We expect to get the team to the playoffs,” Laws said seriously, even with plenty of underclassmen. “They’re good at learning and they wouldn’t be on varsity if they weren’t good enough.”

Keller travels to Midland this week to take on El Paso Montwood.

“We’re looking forward to the travel,” Laws said. “In the off-time, we gather in someone’s room and have Mario Kart games, play Catch Phrase and eat.

“What motivates Keller softball is food,” Laws said. “I think if they’d stick Thin Mints in front of our face masks, we’d run faster,” the senior joked.

That’s all fine, but what happens if you have to slide?

“Five-second rule,” Laws retorted without hesitation.

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