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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Player of the year: Moore battles through adversity

Sunday, November 16, 2008

(Photo)
Kelly senior Katee Moore has been named the Standard Democrat's Softball Player of the Year. Moore, a second baseman, helped lead the Lady Hawks to a second place finish in Class 2.
(Josh Mills, Staff)
BENTON -- Four years, a few position changes, a few injuries and a few awards have proven quite a successful career for Kelly High School senior Katee Moore. The 2008 Standard Democrat Player of the Year has compiled an impressive stat line while on the diamond for head coach Rhonda Ratledge's Lady Hawks, but Moore is quick to point towards teammates and not shine in the spotlight.

"This season, I think we did a real good job," Moore said of the 2008 Kelly squad, which finished second in Class 2. "The biggest thing about this year I think, was team. It wasn't just one person. I think we were solid throughout the whole thing."

"And, our batting lineup -- I don't think we've ever had a team that hit this well. It was one-through-nine, we were always getting hits."

Moore's stat line included a .453 average, 34 hits (16 extra-base hits and six triples), 31 RBIs and 24 runs scored for the season. She had an average of .609 with runners in scoring position.

Ratledge had nothing but praise for her senior athlete, and recalled the first time she saw Moore take the field.

"When she first stepped out there you didn't know that she was a freshman out there on the field," said Ratledge. "She looked like a senior out there playing shortstop. I knew immediately, there was no doubt, no question about it, that she would be my starting varsity shortstop as a freshman."

Moore was the everyday shortstop until an arm injury nearly held her out of softball altogether. She battled the injury, rehabbed the arm and made the move to second base her senior season. Ratledge said that the injury may have made her senior leader more hungry for the game after having to fight to get back onto the field. She added that Moore put in time and effort to help the Lady Hawks achieve their recent success.

"From her freshman year to what she's added to the team in the last four years, you can only imagine," said Ratledge. "From a freshman and looking like a varsity player, then stepping up and being a leader, then she's an all-stater this year and had the highest batting average."

As for the injury timeframe, Ratledge said that it worried her quite a lot.

"I was scared to death," she said. "To have a player who had done what she had done in the last three years, then to come back and to tell your coach 'hey, i may not be able to play and i can't throw,' I was scared to death."

From that point, Ratledge said that Moore worked extra hard on her hitting because she figured that was all she would be able to contribute to the team, and that in the 2008 season it really paid off as she led the team in average.

"In years past I would always have her bunt to help move over runners because she was a good bunter," said Ratledge. "This year, with her batting second, she didn't have to bunt because she always put it in play."

As for her approach at the plate, Moore said that relaxation was a big part of her success.

"I was thinking 'please get a hit, please God help me get a hit,'" said Moore. "Getting up there, I'd try to be relaxed as possible, but most of the times I think I just got lucky. There's not any certain thing to it other than just be relaxed. Other than that, I think I got lucky sometimes too."

Luck or skill, it got the job done well enough to earn her a spot on the All-State first team. Moore said she considered it 'a great honor' to be named to the squad and said that there weren't really words that could explain how grateful she was of the award.

She also contributed much of her success to her family as well as former coaches along the way, including her grandfather Tony Young and coaches Eric Urhahn and Ratledge.

"I've said it time and time again, I have great family support," Moore said. "All of my family is very supportive of me, and they've all, always been there from day one. When I was eight years old when I started sports, they've all, always been there. As far as my motivation goes, they've all, always been big into sports too, and you always want to do well for yourself but for them too. Everybody else has put just as much time into it as much as I have and I think as far as that goes, it's just been for everybody."

Speaking on the coach that's mentored her for the past four years, Moore said that Ratledge provided a friend as well as a coach.

"She has a lot that others don't," said Moore. "As far as pushing us, it's always one game at a time and we'll get there. She's not just any coach. I know people say there's a line in between a friend and a coach, but she's more of a friend too. She can joke around with us and then she knows when to be serious. I think she has that effect on all of us."

Moore now plans on attending the University of Missouri in Columbia, but says she's keeping her options open as far as sports at the collegiate level are concerned. As for her last four years as a Lady Hawk, she said that she felt grateful for her encounters along the way.

"As far as the last four years go, it was a blessing to be able to contribute to a team that's always done this well and has such a good reputation," said Moore. "It's been great playing for Coach Rat (Ratledge) and I'm sad it's come to an end."

Ratledge had a few final words for her senior as well.

"She's been more than words can say."