KU-bound catcher earns top recognition
McLouth High's Kendall Patterson became the first Bulldog in school history to be named to the 2007 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-region team.
The NFCA named only four Kansans to the team. Patterson joined Olathe East's Eranne Daugharthy, Kristen Rock and Ashley Guile on the south central region team.
Patterson had a monstrous 2007 season, hitting .700 (35-for-50), with 32 RBI in 21 games. The sophomore catcher led the Bulldogs to a 20-1 season. Patterson has a career high school average of .697.
Patterson is such a valued prospect she's already given a verbal commitment to Kansas University. She won't even play at Arrocha Ballpark in Lawrence until 2010.
Despite the casual connotation of a verbal commitment, it doesn't appear as though Patterson would consider other options in the future.
"I shook coach's hand and said, 'I want to play at KU,'" Patterson said of her meeting with KU softball coach Tracy Bunge. "I don't think anything would change my mind."
Patterson recently attended a KU softball skills camp, which helped her analyze her defense, hitting and baserunning. The camp videotaped Patterson's technique at the plate as well.
"It broke it down and told us what we need to work on," Patterson said. "I need to widen my stance."
It's rather obvious why Patterson has an opportunity to play in the Big 12 Conference. She has a great arm and possesses quick bat speed from the leadoff position at MHS. Plus, how many high school athletes say their favorite pitch to hit is on the outside portion of the plate?
"Kendall is an opposite field, line-drive hitter," said Ballard Patterson, MHS softball coach and Kendall's father. "She tries to hit that gap in right-center and gets a lot of doubles that way. Being a catcher helps her. She knows what the pitcher's usually trying to do."
Patterson said her father has coached her for a long time. Patterson has learned a lot from her father, especially on defense.
"It's a lot of fun to throw people out on throw downs to second (base)," Patterson said. "I have to work on it every day. You have to have really quick feet, not necessarily a good arm. You have to pop out of your stance quickly and get the ball down there."
Patterson said among the victims she's had trying to steal second, her father hasn't been one of them.
"I don't even think he's ever tried," Patterson said, laughing. "The next time he yells at me, I might say, 'Why don't you try to beat me on the basepaths?'"
Ballard Patterson doesn't have any plans to test his daughter's arm any time soon.
"There's no way I could steal on her," he said.