As the Keller softball team headed into the Region I semifinals against Lubbock Coronado last weekend, much of the senior leadership was taking a low profile.
Not that she isn’t visible, but rather, she’s crouched behind the plate.
Kaylee Grant, the senior catcher for Keller, is working well with younger players, including a junior on the mound. The battery of Grant and Kaylee Rogers in the circle is proving effective.
Keller beat Coronado with yet another walk-off win, 3-1, on Thursday night.
Shelby Henderson hit her third home run of the playoffs to break a seventh-inning 1-1 tie for Keller.
The Lady Indians were in San Angelo taking on Coronado for the right to advance to the regional finals. Final results of the series were unavailable at the press deadline due to the holiday. Results will be posted at www.dfwvarsity.com.
The teams played Thursday night and then on Saturday, as Coronado was headed back to Lubbock for graduation ceremonies on Friday.
Helping get the Lady Indians to this stage of the season, Grant along the way has set the school record for most home runs in a season (eight).
She said that although she hasn’t been hitting the ball out of the park as often this year, she’s getting on base more frequently, which is setting up others for RBI opportunities. “I’ve been more selective with my pitches,” Grant said.
Grant has been a catcher for several years, although she has seen some time at third base.
It’s a bit of a family thing, as Grant’s older sister was also a catcher.
“I watched her play and wanted to be her,” Grant said. “I stuck with it because I like being involved on every single pitch. There are some positions where you can go a whole game and there’s no action.”
The “Kaylee Battery” has propelled Keller thus far this season and gives the team a strong chance to move forward in the playoffs – even if the two ends of the battery sometimes feel a little confused.
“I feel like I’m talking to myself when I call out her name in a game,” Grant said. “But we’ve really been in sync this season.”
To help alleviate confusion, Grant said she’s referred to as “KG.”
The win over Flower Mound in the previous series was a good indication of how the offense is working in tandem with the defense. The straight-game victories gave even more confidence to the surging Lady Indians.
And Keller will want that if it was going to win the grudge match against Coronado, which ushered Keller out of the playoffs last year.
“It should be a pretty evenly matched series and if we continue to hit the way we have, we should be OK,” Grant said. “The strength of our team is the offense. We’ve been able to back up Kaylee with the way we’ve been hitting the ball. And, if one person isn’t performing, someone is there to pick up the slack. It sound cliché but it’s true.”
Grant will play next year at Princeton, as her intelligence behind the plate is also seen in the classroom.
With a win over Coronado, Keller would take on the winner of Arlington Martin and Lewisville for an opportunity to go to the state tournament as one of the final four teams.