Camdenton senior Kristyn Carpenter has been playing the game of softball since she was nine years old. The senior will get to play the game a little longer after signing with Three Rivers Community College on Friday afternoon.
“To keep playing is just a blessing. I hurt my ankle at the end of the season so it is amazing how God is working right now and giving me another opportunity to keep playing and possibly go further,” Carpenter stated.
“I just love the intensity and the mental aspect of the game is amazing. When you do good things it is awesome and when you are not having the best day, it is good to just persevere and to keep doing it. I also love running the bases,” she added with a smile.
Camdenton coach Rick Calbert will be the first to attest to that aspect of her game and emphasized how nice it was to see another one of his players move on after all the hard work that has been put in.
“I think she’ll add a lot to their program. She is a great competitor and I always tell people that of all the kids I’ve ever coaches she always found a way to advance and score,” the coach noted of the school’s first All-State softball player. “We only had three games all year where she did not score at least one run and only five games all year where she did not score at least two runs so she finds a way to get home. She had a very, very good high school career as did all of our seniors and it brought a lot of recognition to Camdenton softball.”
One who certainly took notice was Three Rivers Head Coach Jeff Null who had watched Carpenter and the Lakers play at the Sullivan Tournament and and later brought in Carpenter for a workout at the campus in Poplar Bluff. Null said he liked what he saw from a Camdenton program that was successful as they were with the schedule they played and how Carpenter played a big role in making that happen.
“The first thing is her speed. She is little, but at the plate she took big hacks and could fly,” Null stated. “Obviously we liked that dynamic and when we brought her down for a workout she hit the ball even better than she did that day at Sullivan in my opinion… To finish off the year with some honors including All-State, all those things pointed to a good fit for us. We are very excited to get a player of her caliber this late in the year and we were just amazed she was still available so we’re very excited about it.”
Carpenter said there were a number of different things she liked about her new school including the campus being small and easy to get around, the family-friendly atmosphere and their facilities. She is looking forward to what lies ahead, but will not soon forget all the memories she made as a Laker over the past four years.
“I’m definitely going to miss my coaches because they were there for me through my bad games and my best games. I’m also going to miss my teammates because we’ve been playing together forever,” the senior said. “They are my crew and I’m going to miss them a lot and not being able to play with them. Possibly playing against them is going to be weird.”
Calbert will be missing her presence on the diamond as well as the rest of the efforts and contributions from this current group of seniors. He wishes Carpenter was able to be out there with her teammates for every single inning after her ankle injury during Camdenton’s district championship game, but what she brought to the program will not soon be forgotten.
“She knows how to play the game… All the runs she scored, her leadership, her ability to get on base and her fielding,” the coach said listing just a few of her qualities that will be missed. “She is a competitor. We were very lucky when we had all those seniors come in. They played a lot of ball, they were very polished, they understood the game and just continued to improve throughout their time because they worked so hard. They were tireless they loved the game and loved to compete. It was just a great group to get a chance to coach and I feel very blessed that I was lucky enough to get to coach them… She (Carpenter) did a fantastic job and gave everything she had to give to us for four years.”
As much as those contributions will be missed, Calbert said he is also excited for what the future has in store and that signings like these are a commemoration of the success they have enjoyed and make the program more attractive.
“Everybody loves to see the success carried on,” the coach remarked. “When you look at it if you are a younger player whether you are a junior, sophomore, freshman, seventh or eighth grader- you have to look at it and say, ‘Hey, that is a program I want to be a part of.’ We came off of being in a district final the year before last, winning a district and getting to play in a sectional.
“We’ve got some really nice players coming back and we are really excited about next year. We just hope to carry on that success and bring home another district title if we can next year and see if we can get back in that sectional game,” the coach added.
As for Carpenter, the senior said she plans to go into physical education and would also like to be a coach someday.
“I’m going to try to go somewhere where I can teach and be a coach at. Possibly Camdenton so look out,” she said laughingly.