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Lady Rebels dominate all-state softball picks

PARK HILLS – Numerous single-season and career program records fell during a year of unprecedented achievement by the Central softball team.

The Lady Rebels finished their inaugural spring campaign at 22-4 overall as state runner-up after losing to defending champion and undefeated Strafford 3-0 in Springfield, Mo.

A victory over Scott City in a highly anticipated district title game propelled Central toward three more playoff triumphs against Malden, Kennett and Adrian.

Five members of the Central squad were honored for their contributions as the spring softball all-state teams were released earlier this week.

Junior pitcher Kimmy Wallen secured her third consecutive all-state selection after going 21-4 from the circle with a 1.41 ERA. She compiled 159 strikeouts and walked 27 over 134 innings.

Wallen, a First Team choice, paced the lineup from the leadoff spot by batting .571 with a .648 on-base percentage. She did not strike out all season.

Her 48 hits, 43 singles and 37 stolen bases were new single-season marks along with her average and win total. She also produced three triples and 14 RBI with 44 runs scored.

Wallen already owns career records at Central with 99 stolen bases and 35 wins, and is second at 139 hits with another season remaining.

Senior shortstop Karissa Belfield batted second in the order for the Lady Rebels, and was especially productive during postseason action.

The First Team infielder posted a .579 average with 10 RBI and 10 runs scored over the final six games. Of her 38 hits during the spring, 16 accounted for extra bases.

Belfield registered a .481 season average with 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 32 RBI. She scored 35 runs and stole 19 bases.

She graduated as the program leader with 40 doubles and third all-time with 130 hits. Her 93 RBI, 212 total bases and 107 defensive assists all rank second.

Versatility epitomized the high school legacy of First Team outfielder Caitlyn Holmes, who participated in four sports and earned all-state distinction in two of them.

Holmes, who operated around the diamond from catcher to center field to the corner infield positions over the past three years, hit .333 with 34 RBI, 22 runs scored and 13 stolen bases as a senior.

She led the Lady Rebels with five home runs, including two in the same inning during a state sectional blowout against Malden. Holmes has collected the most career RBI at Central with 102, and is also first with 364 putouts and second with 31 doubles.

Senior left fielder Kerston Furry and freshman second baseman Jessica Hulsey are among the Second Team all-state selections for the Lady Rebels.

Furry ended with a .357 season average, and homered once among 25 hits. She tallied 20 runs scored with 14 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

Hulsey broke the Central single-season records for doubles with 18 and extra-base hits with 20 during her initial varsity campaign.

She compiled 36 hits overall, including two triples, while batting .444 with 58 total bases. Her shining numbers also include 31 RBI and 22 runs scored.

Strafford equaled Central with five all-state selections, and third-place winner Liberal had four.

Five players from the Central softball program were awarded all-state recognition from the spring season. Pictured from left to right are: second baseman Jessica Hulsey, shortstop Karissa Belfield, pitcher Kimmy Wallen, center fielder Caitlyn Holmes and left fielder Kerston Furry.

Five players from the Central softball program were awarded all-state recognition from the spring season. Pictured from left to right are: second baseman Jessica Hulsey, shortstop Karissa Belfield, pitcher Kimmy Wallen, center fielder Caitlyn Holmes and left fielder Kerston Furry.

Matt King is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Contact him at mking@dailyjournalonine.com

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