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This week's Peak Performer: Kaylene Ross, Palmer softball
FOOTBALL, Morris Gilbert, Mesa Ridge
Gilbert totaled 97 yards of offense and scored three touchdowns in a 48-3 win over Air Academy. He also added nine tackles on defense to help the Grizzlies improve to 2-1.
The Palmer softball team is already one win away from its total count from the 2011 season. Much of the credit has to go to pitcher Kaylene Ross.
The senior has won five consecutive starts and the Terrors have won six in a row and sit at 9-3.
“Kaylene is on a roll; she has been a starter for four years and she understands the game and is mentally strong,” Palmer coach Steve DeFelice said. “I feel that when she pitches we can take on anybody.”
The biggest highlight of Ross’ current streak came when she shut out Cheyenne Mountain 9-0 on Sept. 13. The win included seven innings of five-hit ball with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“That game is definitely up there as one of my best ever,” Ross said of finally beating the Indians.
In her last five starts Ross has 25 strikeouts, five walks and a 2.36 ERA. She is also batting .382 with a .647 slugging percentage on the season.
“It’s been a great time and this team has no weak spots in the lineup; knowing the team has my back when I’m on the mound is big,” said Ross, who hopes to play college softball somewhere in-state and study to be a nurse. “We are a playoff-level team and I think we are one of the top contenders in our league right now.”
DeFelice noted that his star hurler’s improvement has come through experience.
“She has matured and she is able to separate parts of the game,” he said. “When Kaylene is on the mound she isn’t worried about what happened the last time she hit or anything else; she’s only thinking about pitching.”
But just because she’s focused while she’s on the mound she still loves picking up the bat as well.
“Hitting is one of my favorite parts of the game,” she said. “There’s this stigma that pitchers can’t hit, which is ridiculous. You have to do whatever you can to help your team win.”