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Kelley’s sport is softball

Pleasant Home’s Abigail Kelley was selected to the Class 1A All-State softball team as a sophomore. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

For incoming Pleasant Home junior Abigail Kelley softball is more than just a sport — it’s in her blood.

Kelley was selected to the 2011 Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 1A All-State softball team as an outfielder, and joins teammate Brentin Fuller on the first team.

Kelley has been playing softball since she was 4 years old, starting in the Covington County recreation league, and comes from a family of softball players. Her mother, Kathi and father, Butch and her sisters, Erica and Hannah Averill played softball.

“Softball’s in the blood,” Kelley said.

She said the big “key” to her success this year and being selected to the All-State team was her “God-given talents.”

“I really think God had help with it because he gave me the talent to play sports,” Kelley said. “Without the talent, I wouldn’t be able to play. My parents supported me through it all.”

Behind the plate, Kelley finished the season with a .465 batting average. She drove in 11 runs; had 14 doubles, six triples; scored 44 runs; had 59 hits and stole 23 bases for the Lady Eagles. Additionally, her on base percentage was .521, which means she got on base 1-of-2 times at bat.

At the beginning of the season, Kelley started at the No. 7 position in the line up, and quickly moved up to the No. 5 position before ending up in the No. 2 position behind leading hitter Caitlin Jernigan.

“I was like, ‘OK, maybe he (Stephens) has some confidence in me to do this,'” she said.

When she’s not getting clutch hits for the Lady Eagles, Kelley is manning right field, where she said she’s the most “comfortable.”

“I’m really competitive so I like being able to test myself, reaching out for the ball,” she said. “I love it.”

During the Class 1A, Area 3 tournament at PHS, Kelley passed a “test” that proved to be a key out for her team.

Against Brantley, Kelley launched a shot to home plate, where catcher Ashley Copeland caught Eisha Persons in a run-down in the first inning.

Kelley said she felt like this was her best year playing softball, and the only thing she can do now is “improve.”

“I honestly think that this year, as a softball team, we had the greatest chemistry,” she said. “Next year, we’ve just got to pick right back up from there, and I think we can. We hope to be 2012 state champions. That’s my goal for the future, and I think we can get there, too.”

Kelley is the daughter of Kathi and Butch Kelley.