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By GOOSE LINDSAY
Kim Hall has already rewritten the record books at Oliver Springs and now the Lady ‘Cat senior pitcher is hoping to do the same at Motlow State as Hall recently signed scholarship papers with the Lady Bucks.
“I am so happy; I have so much pressure off my chest right now,” Hall said of signing with the Lady Bucks before the start of her senior season. “I really like Motlow State. It’s a small school and it’s in the country. It’s like home.”
“I’m happy for Kim,” Lady Bobcat head coach Matt Headden added. “It’s great every time one of our players gets a chance to continue playing and get an education at the next level.”
Motlow State head coach Gary Barfield is also excited that Hall will be joining a Lady Buck Program that has averaged 40 wins a season during his tenure.
“I’m thrilled that we are getting Kim,” he said. “We all know what kind of a pitcher she is, but I’m also impressed with what she can give us as a hitter and a player in the field. I think she’ll fit in just fine here.”
A two-time all-state selection, Hall’s career has been phenomenal. Hall has averaged two strikeouts per inning during her career and she was at her best in the 2007 District 4-A Championship game when she tossed a perfect game past Oakdale.
Hall’s rise to one of the state’s best isn’t a surprise to those that have watched her over the past four years, but it is a surprise for those who might have watched her when she first started pitching nine years ago.
“I was really bad,” she said. “But I thought pitching was cool and my dad wanted me to pitch.”
Knowing she needed help, Hall’s father, Tom, took her to the Diamond Softball Academy in Rockwood to let her train under pitching instructor Darrell Williams. Even with his help, Hall wondered if she could do it at first.
“There’s a dent in the wall at the old diamond building from where I kept hitting it,” Hall joked. “I thought he (Williams) would give up on me, but he didn’t and then one day it just seemed to click.”
Williams, however, knows pitching and he knew Hall had what it took to be a good pitcher, no matter how many dents she put in the wall in perfecting her game.
“I saw in her what I saw in previous pitchers that had success,” Williams said. “The one that comes to mind is former Kingston and Furman star pitcher Rachel Henley. I saw speed in her that I could corral as long as she didn’t worry and would let it go. She had that power that only comes along so often in a pitcher.”
Williams also has no doubt that Hall has the work ethic to succeed at the college level.
“She works as hard as anybody I’ve had,” he said. “I actually have to limit her in the times she comes to the diamond to do both hitting and pitching. She's a perfectionist.”
Coach Barfield believes that work ethic will help her at the college level.
“I think she has a huge upside,” he said. “I believe her velocity will continue to increase and I think moving her back (college pitchers pitch from three feet farther back than high school pitchers) is going to help the movement of her pitches.
“We’ll have two sophomore pitchers returning next season, but you need three at this level and I have no doubt that she’ll come in and work hard next year.”
Hall, however, is just as effective on offense as she is among the top hitters in District 4-A.
“She has the pitching down,” Headden said. “Her speed just keeps improving and she throws a number of different pitches. But she can hit as well as anybody and she’s versatile enough to play any position. I’m pretty sure they can use her as a utility player at Motlow when she’s not pitching.”
“I’d love to do both,” Hall said of pitching and playing the field in college. “I know I’m going to pitch and hit, but it’s always good to have a utility player that can play a lot of positions.”
Like all freshmen, Hall knows there will be an adjustment period, but she believes the biggest adjustment she will have to make is leaving home and becoming a responsible adult.
“I know that nothing comes easy and I’m going to have to work hard,” she said. “I’m going to have to be mentally tough. I’m also going to have to get used to doing things on my own and not simply rely on my parents for everything.”