Early senior-to-be Kayla Dickerson can add playing softball in Hawaii to her impressive resumé. The Lady Horns’ first-team all-district center fielder was one of dozens of girls from across the country selected to compete in the Elite Sports International King Kamehameha Softball Classic June 17-24 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Dickerson stated she was chosen for the event based on her performance at a Baylor University softball camp.
“When I first got the offer, I felt like there was no way I could go,” said Dickerson, who added two other local girls opted not to make the trip. “But my parents told me this was a good chance to see Hawaii and play softball, and that there would also be college coaches coaching me and that might help me get a scholarship. It would just be a good experience.”
Dickerson’s team - which consisted of players from North Texas and two from Louisiana - was coached by Texas Wesleyan assistant Maddie Williams and finished fifth overall in the tournament.
“We went 3-1,” Dickerson said. “We beat Tennessee, lost to Hawaii, beat another Hawaii team and then beat an East Coast team.
“I don’t think it was my best, but under the conditions I think I did pretty good. It’s really different playing with a bunch of girls you don’t know.”
Despite the lack of familiarity with each other, the team members not only performed well as a unit, but also developed lasting friendships.
“I made some really good friends that I keep in touch with a lot, and I really didn’t think we would,” Dickerson said.
Along with playing softball, there were plenty of tourist destinations for the players to explore.
“I went snorkeling and got to see all the different colored fish which was really cool, and the beach and the clear water were amazing,” said Dickerson. “We also went to a luau, an aloha flea market - which is a lot like a Texas flea market, just with different things - and the North Shore, which was really neat. It was cool to interact with the Hawaiian people.”
Even the field of play could provide a distraction at times, according to Dickerson.
“One field we played at there wasn’t an outfield fence,” Dickerson said. “In order to get a home run you just had to hit the ball really far and run really fast. There were also palm trees in the background and that was a really neat, different atmosphere. There were also some birds flying around, but other than that it was really the same.”
As for what Dickerson will take from the experience softball-wise, she hopes blending in with an entirely new team will help make her a better leader as the Lady Horns pursue a state championship in the spring of 2009.
“It was fun to do and it gave me a better idea of how to accept new teammates,” Dickerson said. “We’re going to have a lot of freshmen on the varsity this year. I was playing with a lot of girls that didn’t know each other but you just have to open up and be friends whether we liked it each other or not. We didn’t really have a choice.”
With the majority of the roster returning for a team that was state-ranked most of the season and advanced to the regional quarterfinals in 2008, Dickerson believes the Lady Horns can indeed claim a state championship in her final high school season.
“It’s really possible this year, but it was also possible last year,” Dickerson said. “We feel like this is the team to do it.”