Kelly shares third place in state softball tournament

Monday, October 23, 2006

COLUMBIA -- Rain washed away Kelly's chance to finish its softball season on a winning note Saturday, as all four third-place games were canceled at the Rainbow Softball Complex.

Kelly finished its season 25-7. The Hawks and third-place opponent Marion C. Early each will be awarded third-place trophies and individual medals. This was the 10th trip to the state final four for Kelly, and the fifth time the Hawks have brought home third.

"It kind of hurts, ending it with rain," Kellly coach Rhonda Ratledge said. "You don't feel like you got closure because you weren't expecting yesterday to be your final game. The girls were saying they were going to go out with a win.

"But, on the bright side, we had an outstanding season. When you're in the top four out of 99 at the end of the season, I know a lot of girls and a lot of coaches wouldn't mind being in the rain."

The Hawks will lose five seniors from this year's squad. All five were starters, including starting pitcher Kalie Hughes.

Kelly does have a large sophomore group, including three regulars. Freshman second baseman Londyn Backfish led the Hawks in hitting this season.

"We had a lot of sophomores I brought along," Ratledge said. "Most of them weren't starters, but it will be a familiar place. I think getting to the final four brings your team closer. Hopefully, when you do get up here, the younger girls can get a feel and then can pass that on. We'll be back."

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