CEDAR RAPIDS — Sophomore Kaylin Kinney was a dominant force for the Cedar Rapids Kennedy softball team all season.
The Cougars finished the campaign 33-6, losing to Linn-Mar in a regional semifinal.
But it didn’t take away from Kinney’s — of Kennedy’s — outstanding season.
Kinney started her high school softball career as an eighth-grader and her pride of playing for Kennedy shows.
“It’s amazing, the support from the student body is amazing,” she said after a game earlier this season.
“She’s awesome, in all aspects of the game, an amazing hitter, great pitcher and an even better teammate,” Coach Maddison LeClere said.
Kinney led the Cougars with a .563 batting average and also had a team-high 41 RBIs and 13 home runs. As a pitcher, she went 15-3 with a 0.46 ERA.
“She’s been the person we look to to get stuff started and to finish it, too,” LeClere said.
In recent years, outside of high school softball, Kinney has played for Nebraska Gold, an elite club team that helps prepare future collegiate players. Her talent has not gone unnoticed. In the fall of 2016, as a ninth-grader awaiting her second season of summer softball, Kinney visited multiple schools and received a few scholarship offers.
In February of 2017, she committed to play for the University of Nebraska. Some wondered, Kinney said, if she made the right decision.
”I took a couple months to really think about it and lay out my options,” she said.
Kinney chose Nebraska because it had the qualities she wanted. The atmosphere, the academic programs and Nebraska’s quality overall athletics programs was everything she was looking for.
“It just felt right, felt like home, there’s no better place than Nebraska,” she said. “The support from the school for the student athletes is incredible.”
Kinney is focused on continuing her high school career.
“Since I’ve committed, I haven’t done a lot of club because I’m putting all my effort into high school softball,” she said.
Kinney has a bright future ahead, but she is humble and dedicated to the Cougars.
“I want to do anything I can to help the team win.” she said
“She’s a great leader and everyone takes to her really well,” LeClere said.