Chad Kerr’s latest signing for his Central Christian College softball team is near and dear to his heart.
Kerr’s talented McPherson High senior daughter, Kiley, signed a letter of intent Friday morning in a ceremony in the MHS Library that was attended by family, classmates and other well-wishers.
Kiley made a splashy debut for the Bullpups last year as a junior transfer, providing much-needed speed at the top of the order and the ability to run down balls defensively as she can cover a lot of ground in center field.
She earned first-team AVCTL Division III honors and was honorable mention All-State by rivals.com. She’s expected to be one of the top players in Class 4A this year.
She batted a noisy .412 and drove opposing pitchers crazy on the basepaths by stealing 17 in 23 attempts.
This past summer she played for the McPherson U-16 Lady Express, coached by Tawny and Yale Hoffman, which had an incredible season. She batted a resounding .481 with 51 hits in 106 at-bats, fanning only seven times. She far and away led the team in runs with 48.
Chad Kerr said it was far from automatic that Kiley would join his team as she had several schools interested in her.
“I don’t think she felt any pressure (to sign with Central),” he said. “From the very beginning, I had her go through all the steps all college kids do. This was totally her decision. I think at the end of the day she wanted me to be able to see her play in college. If she had gone anywhere else, that would have been difficult.”
He is excited about the upcoming spring. He has virtually overhauled the Lady Tigers, signing 14 players to add to six holdovers. He has secured both a left- and right-handed pitcher and is hoping the team makes a major turnaround.
He also noted that Kiley isn’t assured being a regular from Day One in 2015.
“With her speed, her arm and her defense, she’s a true leadoff-type of hitter and center fielder,” Kerr said. “As a freshman, she’s got to earn a spot just like everybody else. But she’s probably the center fielder of the future. I love speed. Speed kills... on base-percentage — she’s a great tablesetter.”
The always smiling Kiley was pleased she’s made her decision and can concentrate on trying to help the Bullpups to their first-ever state appearance as they enter a new era under the tutelage of Danica Fitzmorris.
“It was really totally my decision,” she said. “He didn’t pressure me to go there at all. I had various options, but I chose Central.”
Kerr already is close to the program because of her father, so she won’t be stepping into an unknown situation.
“I know his class of freshmen he has brought in pretty well,” she said. “I’m excited.”
Kerr can’t wait to get started on her final year of high school softball.
“I’m really excited, especially with coach Fitzmorris being the new coach,” she said. “We know her pretty well. So it will be good.”
Kerr expects to major in sports management as she would someday like to be a coach — just like her father.