Kailey Wilson knocked it out of the park as a teammate last season, but she’s more than ready to get back on the field.
Torn knee ligaments suffered in a tournament with the Colorado Styxx Gold last summer put her out of commission for Eaglecrest’s 2016 softball season and somewhat clouded her future prospects after two phenomenal seasons.
Wilson watched and supported her Raptors’ teammates last season as they made a run all the way to the Class 5A state semifinals and she did it as gladly as she could give the circumstances.
“It was really hard last season, all my friends were out there having fun and all I could do was sit on the bench and watch,” Wilson recalled. “I still cheered them on, but it was tough sitting there.”
Wilson — who also served as a manager for Eaglecrest’s girls basketball team while she was out of commission — is healthy again and won’t do any sitting in the upcoming season for coach Yvette Hendrian’s Raptors, which bring back nearly the entire roster from a team that went 19-5 and made it to the cusp of the state championship game before losing to Cherokee Trail.
Eaglecrest gets to add back Wilson, a left-handed slugger with lightning-quick hands who hit .519 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in her first two varsity seasons. She appears to be returning to form after a strong summer playing elite national competition with coach Pablo Severtson’s Styxx, during which she committed to Division I Creighton.
Since he first met Wilson, Severtson has noted the different sound the ball makes coming off her bat because of her power. He heard plenty of sweet noises during a summer in which she homered 15 times and drove in 70 runs in 60 games. Wilson was picked for a Home Run Derby during the Colorado Fireworks tournament in Aurora.
When high school season arrives in a few weeks, she’ll join another emerging powderkeg in junior shortstop Rachel Sabourin — a University of Hawaii commitment — to give Eaglecrest potentially the most prolific power duo in the state.
Sabourin hit double-digit homers last season and continues to get better all the time. The two Raptors hit their homers differently, but the power punch will be a problem for the opposition.
“Rachel hits more line drives and I hit them more high and far,” Wilson said. “But she can hit them high and far, also.”
Wilson’s sweet swing is even more unburdened this season, as she can play her senior year with her future secured.
Her father, Clint — a scholarship basketball player with Division II Regis University in the 1980s — urged her to make a decision before her the beginning of her senior year. She gladly heeded that advice.
Some schools’ interest in her cooled with her injury, but Wilson still had offers from Louisiana Tech, Houston, Northern Colorado, Central Arkansas, Buffalo, Colorado Mesa, Metro State and Central Methodist to chose from according to her mother, Karen.
There were perks to several of them, but none could match the full ride offer of Creighton, a Big East program which plays in a beautiful facility in Omaha, Nebraska, and offers a nationally recognized program in her desired field of physical therapy.
Since it was with the Styxx that she suffered her injury, it was fitting that Wilson committed to Creighton while with the team. Her pledge meant the entire Styxx roster is headed to play in college.
During the club’s recent trip to the Austin Nationals in Austin, Texas, Wilson picked up the phone and called Bluejays coach Brent Vigness to give him the good news.
“They said I was a really good hitter, so I would hit all the time and they said I was a very good first baseman so I’d play a lot in the field as well,” Wilson said. “Their ultimate goal is for me to help them win a Big East championship.”
Creighton — which finished 16-32 last season, but won 25 games the previous season — has another former Aurora prep standout on its roster in former Grandview catcher Kelsey Biaggi.
Wilson now has her eyes fixed on closing her prep career by winning a state championship ring, something Eaglecrest has seen happen recently with Centennial League rivals Cherokee Trail and Grandview.
“I know we’re going to work really, really hard for it,” Wilson said. “They made it pretty close without me last season, so hopefully we can get to that state championship game. Anything’s possible.”
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel