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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Four Lady Hawks named to All-State team

Sunday, November 12, 2006

From left: Sarah Ruff, Katie Hughes and Summer Proctor.
BENTON -- Another dominating season for the Kelly Lady Hawks softball program was topped off with four players making the Class 2 All-State team.

Seniors Kalie Hughes, Brittany Ponder and Summer Proctor along with junior Sarah Ruff were the Lady Hawks chosen for the Class 2 first-team honors.

"Just to have six girls nominated for all-state and to have four come out as all-state players is just phenomenal," said Kelly head coach Rhonda Ratledge. "It just tops off our season especially for the seniors, because we did not get a chance to play our last game of the season due to rain."

Kelly ended a stellar season with a third-place finish at state and a 25-7 overall record.

Hughes was a hard-hitting first baseman for the Lady Hawks, leading Kelly on the year in batting average at .455, runs batted in with 33, hits with 45, triples with 13, and led with 13 walks.

Brittany Ponder
Not only was Hughes a force at the plate, she was the main pitcher for Kelly with a 19-6 performance on the mound. In 145 innings pitched Hughes allowed 73 hits, walked 53 and struck out 167 with a 1.69 ERA.

The three Kelly seniors have had offers to play softball in college and Hughes for one wants to take advantage of her great senior campaign.

"All my four year's in high school I set out to achieve this goal," said Hughes. "I put everything I had into the season and it paid off for me in the end. I hope to take what I have accomplished here at Kelly to the next level."

Ratledge believes Hughes has what it takes to succeed in college.

"Hughes is very dedicated and a die-hard softball player," said Ratledge. "We will definitely miss her on the mound next year."

Hughes' battery mate all season was Proctor. In addition to a rocket arm behind the plate, Proctor had more than a solid bat for a catcher in the Lady Hawks lineup.

Proctor batted .333 on the year and was fifth on the team with 22 RBIs. "It is exciting because you work as hard as you can to get there and you finally make it," said Proctor. "It feels like you have actually accomplished something."

Ratledge believes you couldn't find a more fundamentally sound catcher this year than Proctor.

"Summer caught for me last year so she had a good year of experience coming back," said Ratledge. "She did an outstanding job behind the plate and is a leader, which we will miss next season."

Ponder was stellar for Kelly at third base. Besides having the fourth best batting average on the squad at .370, Ponder led the Lady Hawks with 37 runs, 26 stolen bases and two home runs. Ponder was second on the club with 44 hits, 25 RBIs, 10 doubles and nine triples.

"Ponder has played on varsity the last three years and is a very strong player," said Ratledge. "All three of the seniors are excellent on defense, as well as at the plate. They were just dominant players on the softball field."

Kelly will miss the production of the senior all-staters, but Ruff will return and will be expected to lead a youthful Lady Hawks team next year.

"Sarah will be my only senior next year and we will expect her to lead the younger players," said Ratledge. "We are going to be young next year but hopefully we can come out with some power. Sarah is going to be a key player for us and she is ready."

Ruff is a human vacuum out in center field for Kelly. With excellent speed and quickness, not too many balls got past her this year. Ruff hit .348 this season with 31 hits, 20 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

"It feels pretty good to make the first team in my junior year," said Ruff. "I worked hard all year to be on my toes in the outfield and to be ready for anything that might come my way. I had to be ready to back up my left and right fielders."

Ratledge hopes the girls understand what an honor all-state actually is.

"It is amazing the stats some of the girls had they were up against," said Ratledge. "I helped select the team and the (Kelly) girls were up against hundreds of other girls. Only six infielders were selected, only two catchers and the outfield positions had several deserving candidates. The girls should feel proud of what they accomplished. It is quite an honor."

The Kelly softball program keeps right on rolling.