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Powell to play for Union University

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chris Pobst, Staff Kelly senior Kristen Powell signed a letter of intent to play softball at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., earlier this week at Kelly High School. Pictured with Powell are, top row, from left, Kelly assistant coach Melanie Heuring, Union University assistant coach Ashton Strode, Kelly head coach Rhonda Ratledge and Mike Riley. Sitting with Powell, from left, is her mother Cindy Powell, Powell and her father Tony Powell.
BENTON -- She took trips to other colleges but when Kelly High School's Kristen Powell visited Union, she knew it was the place for her.

The senior further solidified her like for the school by signing a letter of intent to play softball for Union University in Jackson, Tenn., earlier this week.

"I went to some other colleges and I liked the teams but didn't really like the college," Powell said. "When I visited Union, I really liked everything about it. I felt like that was where I needed to go.

"Everyone -- the team, the coaches -- were very welcoming. It made me feel really comfortable."

Powell is wrapping up a stellar career with the storied Kelly Lady Hawks softball program. She has been to the Class 2 state championship three times in the last four years and was used primarily as a pitcher and a first baseman.

The Lady Hawks ended last season with a 19-11 record.

Powell hit .361 with 19 RBIs, 21 stolen bases and a .495 slugging percentage. She had a pitching record of 19-13 with an era of 2.39. Powell also struck out 131 batters in 211 innings.

"She visited a few places and talked about how she really liked Union," Kelly softball coach Rhonda Ratledge said. "She liked the atmosphere, the team and the coaches. I'm glad to see that's where she picked.

"It doesn't matter where we put her, she'll play. She'll be a good asset to the team."

The Union Lady Bulldogs compete in the TranSouth Conference and are part of the NAIA. They finished with a 41-15 overall record last season and ended with a second-place finish within their conference.

They are currently waiting for a vote to determine whether or not they are part of the NAIA National Softball Tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala.

"She came to one our camps and she looked really well," Union assistant coach Ashton Strode said about Powell. "We feel like she can add to our pitching and play first base for us. I feel like she could be apart of the leadership even as a freshman."

Union has handpicked some of Southeast Missouri's top softball players for their upcoming freshman class.

Along with Powell, the Lady Bulldogs have signed New Madrid County Central ace Kelly Robey -- a hurler who regularly tosses no-hitters and flirts with perfect games.

"I've played against her a few times, but as far as I know, she's a nice girl," Powell said about Robey. "It's nice to know that there will be someone from around here there too."

Powell plans to major in nursing with intentions of becoming a nurse anesthetist while at Union.