CATEGORY: Baseball



By Bobby Pepper

Daily Journal

Saltillo’s Kendell Kimbrough likes the challenges of playing fast-pitch softball, from hitting an 60-mile-per-hour pitch to stealing bases.

Most of all, she’s looking forward to the challenge of being an original member of Mississippi State’s new fast-pitch softball team.

Kimbrough, a standout slow-pitch player at Saltillo High School, signed Wednesday a National Letter of Intent with MSU. The Lady Tiger outfielder was the first Mississippian signed by the Lady Bulldogs, who begin play next spring.

Kimbrough, who will play in this year’s high school all-star game, said her goal was to play fast-pitch college softball. She received offers from fast- and slow-pitch squads on the senior and junior college levels.

“I was scared that if I didn’t go ahead and sign with a four-year school, if I went to a junior college first, then they wouldn’t have but two years to get me ready for fast-pitch,” Kimbrough said. “So, I felt like I needed to go on (to a four-year school).”

Even though she’s never played fast-pitch, Kimbrough impressed college coaches with her performances at fast-pitch tryout camps.

“Kendell is an outstanding athlete, and we think she’s going to make a good transition from slow-pitch to fast-pitch,” MSU coach Kathryn Arendsen said. “We’re thrilled that Kendell is going to be a part of our program.”

Kimbrough, a four-sport athlete at Saltillo, said one aspect of fast-pitch she likes is stealing bases. In slow pitch, runners must stay on base until the ball is hit.

“Stealing the bases is a big thing,” she said. “In slow pitch, you have to stand on the bag. It wastes your speed.”

Kimbrough, who batted .686 with five home runs and 34 RBIs during her senior season at Saltillo, was Daily Journal All-Area and All-Lee County selection the past two years.

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