They call her The Mom.
“All of my friends call me that,” Wilson High senior Kaysha Fox said with a laugh. “I’m disciplined I even make sure my friends do their homework.”
She’s only 18, but Fox already has a list of rules and habits that seem remarkably parent-like.
School comes first. She watches out for her classmates. And on the softball field, she’s all business.
Fox hopes her leadership will help take the Rams back to the Class 3A state tournament a year after placing third, a tie for the best finish in school history.
That team was led by a powerhouse trio of seniors, but Fox said their departure hasn’t deterred the Rams. Among the returning starters are junior shortstop Darian Grimm and senior pitcher Alex Flynn. All three were 2012 All-Narrows League first-team selections.
“We have some fire, because no one thinks we can do it again since we lost that group,” Fox said. “They were good, and we loved them, but we can do it, too.”
Wilson’s coach, Ron Balmer, expects Fox to be the key to the
“She throws the ball pretty well, and she steals bases, so she can run, too,” he said. “She’s a well-rounded player offensively and defensively.”
Balmer said Fox is unique because she does not play club softball and still is one of the most powerful players in the league.
“She’s always in good shape,” he said. “It’s just a matter of easing her into it until she’s in softball shape.”
Fox isn’t worried, though.
“Honestly, I hadn’t touched a ball since state last year,” she said. “And then I come in and I’m hitting bombs, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know where this is coming from, but I’m going to go with it!’’’
Her prowess is remarkable considering that softball isn’t even Fox’s main sport. Last month, she helped lead the Rams to a fourth-place finish in the state basketball tournament.
“It was rewarding that after four years, we were finally there,” said Fox, a four-year starter at point guard. “It was such a good way to go out.”
She said she sees some similarities between her two roles.
“At center (field), I see everything. If someone needs help in right or left, I have their back,” she said. “It’s like point guard. I have the best view and everybody counts on me.”
Fox, who has a 3.8 grade-point average, has a range of scholarship offers from five colleges. She plans to play basketball and study kinesiology with hopes of becoming a physical therapist and the owner of a youth recreation center with on-site medical services.
But first comes her final season on the softball field.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “Even if we don’t go to state, we’re creating this team. We finally get to see how it feels for the freshmen to look up to us, and we’re setting the basis for the next three years.”
prep FASTPITCH PREVIEW
Team to watch
The bigger the stakes, the better Rogers High plays. Despite not winning the SPSL South the past five seasons, the Rams have made it to the Class 4A West Central District title game four consecutive times – winning three titles. And this squad, led by pitcher Tess Dixon and catcher Rylee Whispel, can beat teams with speed and reliable hitting.
SPSL North – Jefferson. SPSL South – Rogers. Narrows 4A – Bellarmine Prep. SPSL 3A – Peninsula. Narrows 3A – Wilson. SPSL 2A – White River. Evergreen Conference – W.F. West. Nisqually 1A – Cedar Park Christian.
Player to watch
The latest menacing pitching presence comes from Emerald Ridge ace Meagan Hendrix, a Portland State signee who is durable with radar-like location on multiple pitches. She also fields her position exceptionally well. The reigning SPSL South pitcher of the year also hit .640 last season.
Other top players
Class 4A: OF Halle Elliott, Tahoma, jr.; C Katie Jackson, Jefferson, sr.; 3B Regan Rudisill, Kentlake, jr.; C/1B/P Nikki Schroeder, Olympia, sr.; P Courtney Schwan, Bellarmine Prep, jr.; C Rylee Whispel, Rogers, jr.
Class 3A: 1B Quierra Bradford, Auburn Mountainview, sr.; P Alex Flynn, Wilson, sr.; OF/IF Kaysha Fox, Wilson, sr.; P Aspen Ison, Peninsula, sr.; SS Sarah Morrow, Enumclaw, jr.; Kali Patterson, Bonney Lake, sr.; 3B Krystalani Yockman, Lakes, sr.
Class 2A: OF Mackenzie Bourbanis, Fife, sr.; OF Marissa Reynolds, W.F. West, sr.; P Allie Sims, Sumner, sr.; P Kayla Smith, White River, email@example.com