Kelly Gordon expected big things when she chose to continue her softball career at Valdosta State University in Georgia.
Those big things came quickly as the 2013 Geneva graduate’s team advanced to the championship game of the Division II Softball World Series in Salem, Virginia, this spring.
“I knew they had been real successful in the past and had won the conference for a while,” Gordon said. “I was hoping to go there and help them continue that streak and then we did that, and made it all the way to the national championship.”
Gordon saw action in 20 of the team’s 63 games, hitting .238 with eight RBIs while also catching for a team that produced a 2.95 ERA.
“In college, the game is a lot faster than high school, and you have to know what you’re going to do in every situation,” she said. “You have to be on your toes at all times, and the pitching is a lot better.”
Valdosta State won the Gulf South Conference for the sixth straight year and qualified for its fourth World Series in five years, having won it all in 2012.
The team was swept in a three-game series by Alabama-Hunstville during the regular season, but went 4-1 against them during the conference tournament and the NCAA South Super Regional.
“We had a really good season and I was proud with how I played,” Gordon said. “It was really exciting, especially after we lost three straight to Alabama-Hunstville. We went out to prove everyone wrong, and then made it all the way to the title.”
The Blazers fell to West Texas A&M, 3-2, in the national title game, played May 26 in Salem, Virginia.
Gordon was a three-year starter at Geneva, finishing her career with a strong senior campaign, hitting .433 with 22 RBIs and earning all-Upstate Eight Conference River honors.
She now heads into the weight room to prepare for next spring where she anticipates playing an even bigger role.
“We’re losing five seniors, including our top pitcher and our shortstop and third baseman,” she said. “They obviously had a huge impact on the team, but we’re excited about who we have coming back, as well as the new freshmen class.”
A small percentage of high school athletes are talented enough to play in college. Even fewer get to play on the ultimate stage – for a national title – and Gordon still has three more years to play.
“Every athlete dreams of playing the sport they love in college and on a team that all works so hard,” Gordon said. “I was a little homesick and stressful when I first got to school, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I had a great experience with my teammates.”