Heath taking her game to Bryan College
By Sparta Live | May 29, 2014 12:00 am
Kaitlyn Heath always knew that she wanted to play sports past her high school days, the only thing was, in her younger days she had no idea which sport it would be she pursued.
She has spent a lot of time playing softball, basketball and soccer. In high school, she concentrated on two sports, soccer and softball, but in the end, it would be softball that took her to the college ranks.
Heath hit the softball field as a freshman for the Warriorettes, took over a starting spot at shortstop and stayed there for all four years of her career. She earned district honors three of her four years. After garnering honorable mention as a sophomore, Heath received first team honors as a junior and moved that up another step in her senior season.
She was named to one of the District 6AAA superlatives snagging Offensive Player of the Year honors. After batting .337 as a junior, Heath hit .407 as a senior. She was voted the team MVP by her teammates in her final two seasons as a Warriorette.
To her soon-to-be college coach, Rocky Stinson, the offensive aspect of her game was an added bonus.
“Ultimately what drew me to Kaitlyn was her defensive ability,” noted Stinson. “She’s really solid at shortstop. I really didn’t know a lot about her bat until seeing the stats she put up this year. We kind of joked a little about that. The game I came to see she had a little bit of a rough day at the plate. Then I find out she put up phenomenal numbers and was named Offensive MVP. Her glove is what drew me to her. The offense has been a bonus.”
Bryan College is an NAIA school located in Dayton, Tennessee. They play in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The Lady Lions just completed their fourth year of softball competition. Stinson started the program and has remained at the helm. They finished 31-23 this past spring.
According to Stinson, “I am returning about half my starters. I lose my entire middle infield. My corner outfielders graduated as well. My corner infielders, pitcher, catcher and centerfielder are all coming back next season.”
Stinson added about Heath, “We will try her at shortstop and see how that plays out at our level. It will be a little faster than the high school game. She might play out more as a second baseman, but we definitely plan to keep her in the infield. We’ll just go from there. We hope to get her on the field some as a freshman. We’ll just have to see how she adapts.”
Heath plans to major in nursing with hopes of someday becoming a nurse practitioner.
As far as choosing Bryan, Heath stated, “At first, I looked at my major and chose a school that offered that. When I visited Bryan College I really liked it. It was kind of like home just not as close. I still get to go away, but am still pretty close to home. I also looked at Tennessee Temple and Vol State, but felt like Bryan was the place for me.”
Heath added that her goals for her college career are to “Make good grades and work hard on the softball field. I know I have to work this summer on hitting and get faster so I can be ready when we start practice.”
While at White County High School, Heath played for three different head coaches during her four-year career. Two of the three were on hand on signing day and commented on their shortstop.
Jason Wyatt, who coached her as a freshman and sophomore said, “I’m excited for Kaitlyn. She came in and earned a starting spot as a freshman for me. The raw ability was there from the beginning. It took her a little bit to adjust, but she has gotten better every year. She is a competitor and will adjust her game again at the college level. It may take some time, but she will transition quickly.
“She’s always been stellar defensively and now her offense has really come along. One thing I always really liked about Kaitlyn is that every single play, whether it is a good day or a bad day, she goes out and gives it everything she has no matter the situation. I look forward to seeing her do well at Bryan College.”
Erin Replogle, who has been a coach at teams that Kaitlyn played on since her eighth grade year and was the head coach of the Warriorettes this season said, “I am extremely proud of Kaitlyn and her decision. Today is a great day for her and her family. Over the past five years I have been able to watch her mature into a competitive softball player. She has a great work ethic and strives to be a competitor. Kaitlyn has been a big part of Warriorette softball the past four years both defensively and offensively. She has been the Warriorette shortstop all four years and has kept an aggressive bat in our lineup. We knew we could rely on her to get the job done on both sides of the ball. Kaitlyn is a natural leader and motivator. Her teammates have voted her team MVP the past two seasons, which shows the impact she has in the dugout. She had a great senior season, especially offensively. She was voted 2014 Offensive Player of the Year for District 6AAA.”
“Today is an example of how hard work plays off,” continued Replogle. “Bryan College is not only getting a great competitor in Kaitlyn, they are getting a great student in the classroom. I am proud of Kaitlyn for the hard work she has done in the classroom, as well as on the softball field. To continue her education and get the chance to play the game of softball while doing so is awesome. Bryan College will be a great fit for Kaitlyn.”
Heath gave credit to her coaches on signing day, “I want to thank Coach Wyatt, Coach Rep and Coach Sims for making my time here good. There are so many great memories. It definitely went by too quick.”