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The Scarlet & Black

Morrissey recognized nationally

Kayla Morrissey ’18 is helping to lead the Pioneer softball team to a historic season, earning national honors along the way.
Kayla Morrissey ’18 is helping to lead the Pioneer softball team to a historic season, earning national honors along the way.

By Quan Tran

Last week, Grinnell softball’s Kayla Morrissey ’18 was named on the “Top Performances” list released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Morrissey’s recognition caps off two back-to-back weeks in which two Pioneers softball members made the list, the first being Darcie Wheeler ’21.

One of the highlights that put Morrissey on the map was her performance during Grinnell’s win over nationally-ranked Central College. She hit .600 and went 12-of-20 at the plate with seven doubles and a triple. She also recorded five RBIs and 11 runs scored while finding success on both stolen base attempts. As a result, Morrissey now stands atop Grinnell’s record boards in career runs scored, hits, triples and total bases. She is also in the Midwest Conference’s top 10 for career hits and triples.

Nationally recognized for the first time in her softball career, Morrissey cannot help but feel excited, both for herself and for the team.

“It was definitely very cool to be nationally recognized because I never really thought that would happen. It [also] means good things for our team going forward. Now that we are succeeding and doing well it’s going to open up more opportunities for that recognition for players in the future,” Morrissey said.

It is important to remember that Morrissey plays both basketball and softball. The schedules for these sports overlap each other, making this feat even more impressive. Having wrapped up her no-less successful college basketball career two months ago, she wasted no time getting back into softball practice. Although there were some initial adversities, everything quickly fell into place for Morrissey.

“I think the transition has been pretty smooth this year. The first two games were a little bit rough for me, but then once we got to Florida [during spring break] I kind of got off all the rust. I think I’ve come back pretty strong through this transition this year,” Morrissey said.

Riding on a wave of wins and national recognition, the team is on track for its winningest season in Grinnell softball history. They have enjoyed the journey, playing together and for each other. Morrissey can feel the difference coming from the group this year. As they approach the most important stretch of the season, facing conference opponents, she is more confident than ever. With so many years of playing experience, she knows the exact mentality required.

“We learned in our first two conference games that a team that might not necessarily be better than us on paper can kind of take a game from us right underneath us that they shouldn’t have,” Morrissey said. “So it all comes down to taking it game by game.”

There are three more weeks until the end of softball season, which will also mark the end of Morrissey’s student-athlete career. As she prepares herself for the final act, she remains as committed to the game and as humble in her successes as usual.

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