Hundley signs letter of intent in softball with Central Methodist University

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
New Franklin senior Kayce Hundley recently signed a letter of intent to play softball at Central Methodist University in Fayette. On hand during the signing last week in the New Franklin High School Commons were (left to right) Matthew Wilkerson, Kayce Hundley, Samuel Wilkerson and Tammie-Hundley Wilkerson. (back row, left to right) Justin Hundley, Heaven-Lee Hundley, Kimberly Hundley, Mark Hundley, Jayna Matthews and New Franklin softball coach Ross Dowell.

New Franklin senior Kayce Hundley said she knew right away because of the career she wanted to go into that Central Methodist University in Fayette was also a good fit to play softball the next four years.

While excelling on the playing field the last four years in New Franklin, Hundley made it official with a signing ceremony last week in the high school commons.

“I chose CMU because it offers good opportunities for the career field I wanted to go into, and it also had a good softball program,” Hundley said.

New Franklin softball coach Ross Dowell said it’s always a fun day when one of your players wants to go on and play somewhere else. “I’m happy for Kayce,” Dowell said. “She’s going to stay local and is a person who really loves softball and gets to play it a few more years. She was a catcher here for us, but she has also played both corner positions. The thing about Kayce is that she improved ever year. We’re definitely going to miss her next year driving in runs and the extra base hits. I know talking to Coach Reardon that they’re looking at Kayce to play catcher or third.”

During the fall season, Hundley hit .394 with 26 hits in 66 at bats with 15 singles, eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 28 RBIs. Meanwhile, in 80 games for the Lady Bulldogs, Hundley finished her career with a .327 average with 68 hits in 208 at bats with 40 singles, 20 doubles, five triples, three home runs and 56 RBIs. She also had a career slugging percentage of .514 and an on-base percentage of .424.

Hundley said to be able to play at the next level, she has to improve on her defense and offense. “I can always use the improvement that anyone will offer to me,” Hundley said. 

As for short term goals at CMU, Hundley said she would like to contribute to her team the way she contributed at New Franklin. However, Hundley knows it’s going to be a new experience for her. “I hope to do my very best everyday and to work for what I get,” Hundley said. “As for my long term goals, I would like to be NAIA Champions. My goal in high school was always to win district, and since that didn’t happen I hope to win the NAIA Championship at CMU.”

As for the highlight of her career, Hundley said in high school it was being able to play with and for the most supportive people ever. “I worked hard for them and for myself,” Hundley said. “I have grove as an individual and a player just getting the chance to play at New Franklin all four years of high school.”

In addition to looking at CMU to further her career in softball, Hundley said she also had interest in Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, State Fair Community College in Sedalia and Westminster University in Fulton. 

However, Hundley said she kept coming back to CMU after filling out the recruiting survey.

“CMU looked at a few of my teams as well as me since our sophomore year,” Hundley said. “They never approached me in person, so I went and filled out a recruiting survey. Once I sent that to CMU’s coach, Pat (Reardon) told me that they would love to have me join their team.”

Playing the sport of softball since she was little, Hundley said just getting the opportunity to play is a big deal for her. She said she always told herself and others told her that if she worked hard, she could be good. 

Hundley, however, said she has her parents to thank for being really big in her softball career. “They pushed me everyday to play a sport until I found my sport,” Hundley said. “I knew from the first time they had me play softball that it was my sport.”

While earning all-conference and all-district as a sophomore and senior, Hundley was also named to the All-Region Team in only her second season of high school softball.

As for the biggest game of her career, Hundley said it was being able to play in the district championship game against Harrisburg. She said the Lady Bulldogs lost by like two or three, but they played hard and that was the furthest the team has ever gotten to play. 

“This year’s team was a good one,” Hundley said. “I wish I could play with them next year, but as coach Dowell says, it’s the circle of softball-we come and go.”

As for the biggest influence on her softball career, Hundley said it’s her grandpa and Coach Dowell. She said her grandpa loves baseball so when his granddaughter decided to play softball, he was always there.

“He pushed me really far in the idea of getting better,” Hundley said. “Coach Dowell has pushed me to play to my full potential. He saw something in me and went for it. I couldn’t ask for a better coach to have played for.”

As a good-bye to her teammates, Hundley said she wants to tell her past softball teams and coaches thank you for not only pushing her but for making her a better person.

“It was a good four years with you all,” Hundley said of her teammates and coaches. “I am proud to say that I finished as a Bulldog. A special shout out to all of the parents and students that came to cheer us on. You guys never disappointed us. Even with COVID, you all still came to support us. I am grateful to have been a part of such a great community. I know I’m not going that far away but it’s still good to feel like I have people behind me at all times. So another thank you to everyone who has told me good job and how good of a player I am. I am the person I am today because of every single one of you guys.”