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Heavener’s Kinley Brand – Tote-A-Poke Athlete Of The Month

As one converses with Heavener junior Kinley Brand you get the feeling that she is a goal-driven individual both on and off the athletic fields. One of those goals this year was to improve her hitting. “Hitting is by far her area of the biggest improvement this year,” said her coach Rodale Sanders. “She’s doubled her average from last year already.”

So how did that happen? “I used to hit right-handed but this year I’ve become a slapper and I’m getting on more,” said Brand.

Other goals she set for herself this year include getting more speed on her pitches and getting more strikeouts than last year. “I wanted to break 60mph on my pitches and I’ve already done that. Last year I had 99 strikeouts and right now I’m at 97 for the season,” smiled Kinley who is also a shooting guard on the Lady Wolves basketball team and is a member of the National Honor Society.

While a lot of softball players have role models from one of our state universities, Kinley grew up admiring the pitching of former Ole Miss player Kaitlin Lee who helped the Rebels to regionals and super-regionals during her days in college. “I watched her for a couple of years as they tried to get to the College World Series and I admired her pitching and attitude. We’re built a lot alike and I just admired how she came from a smaller town and got into a big university.”

  

Though she’s just a junior, Kinley already has a leadership role on the softball team. “She and our one senior are our leaders and if I need something done those are the ones who get after the others and do a lot of my dirty work for me,” laughed Sanders.

Kinley readily admits that she’s not afraid of being the vocal leader. “I try to push my teammates to be the best that they can be and I’ll let them know if I don’t think they’re giving 100 percent or push them to keep running during conditioning or to be vocal and cheering on the bench in a game.”

Another goal of Kinley’s is more future oriented as she’s taking nursing classes at Kiamichi Technical Center in addition to her regular class load.

Her parents, who both played ball in their youth, are her rocks according to Kinley. “My parents are teachers and they’ve always pushed me to be who I am today. They’ve inspired me since I was little, and they’ve worked hard for what they have. They’re amazing and I love them.”

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