With only two seniors on its 7A state championship team, it is fitting they both represented North Little Rock on the East team in Tuesday’s all-star softball game.
Kaylie Roberts and Katy Kinnison played one last game together before going to their separate colleges. Roberts was a leftfielder for the Charging Lady Wildcats while Kinnison played first base.
Roberts is a four-year starter who will play softball and run cross country at Ouachita Baptist. She emerged as a leader for Coach Anthony Cantrell even after playing with an injury her junior year.
"She injured her calf four weeks before the regular season and ended up as the courtesy player," Cantrell said. "She was an unbelievable leader and lead by example. After she was hurt, she understood the other kids playing in the lineup would be hard to get out and was still encouraging."
Roberts started running cross country to stay in shape for softball and since the same coach at Ouachita mentors both sports she’ll compete in cross country and softball. She is also excels in academics with a 4.2 GPA and a 31 on her ACT.
"She likes to play defense and is an outstanding kid," Cantrell said. "She is an outgoing, mature 18-year-old."
Though she was originally chosen as the first alternate, Kinnison, who played first base this past season, was able to notch a spot on the team. Cantrell is proud both of his senior played in the game, but just wishes he could be the coach this year instead of last year.
"She is versatile and played four positions for us," Cantrell said. "Her sophomore year she had to pitch which put her in a tough predicament."
Regardless of what position she played, the best thing about Kinnison is she could hit. Cantrell said she hit five home runs this season and four to five last year. She also cranked out 15 doubles her junior year.
"She does a lot of work outside of practice," Cantrell said. "She turned into a pretty good hitter."
Kinnison will go to Arkansas Tech but on a band scholarship. Right now, her intentions are to not play softball.
"That’s one thing about them is they are versatile and don’t get caught up in being a one-sport athlete," Cantrell said. "All our kids participate in multiple activities. I’m very proud of both of them."