Innings Pitched: 146
Others Considered: Maddie Poole, Social Circle; Britney Ellis, Newton
Newton County softball fans from Newton High to Social Circle enjoyed some quality play in the pitcher’s circle from all four of our county teams. But the one who stood out the most to us was Eastside sophomore, Kailey Rusk. Rusk dominated her competition in just her first year as a starter, she seemed to get stronger as the year went on, and showed herself a clutch performer in high pressure moments.
In our Q&A with Rusk, she talks about the highlights of her sophomore season, the reason why big pressure moments don’t bother her and her greatest motivation to be the best player she can be.
The Covington News: Already as a sophomore, you’re starting to get a lot of accolades and attention coming your way. Has your early success been surprising to you? And what do you think has been the biggest key to your improvement from freshman to sophomore year?
Kailey Rusk: “Yes, it has definitely been surprising. But I think my biggest key to improvement from last year to this year is just working hard. If you want something, you have to work hard at it. It’s not just going to come to you automatically.”
TCN: What was the highlight of your sophomore season and why?
Rusk: “I think the highlight of my sophomore season would have to be in the last state playoff game (against Spalding) to get us to Columbus. I had not been hitting good at all the whole tournament, and at the end when, when we really needed it, everything came together perfectly with my pitching as well as my hitting.”
TCN: At Columbus, there were lots of college recruiters and scouts watching you all play. How did it feel to get the chance to perform in that kind of atmosphere and with that kind of pressure?
Rusk: “It felt good, but really it’s nothing new to me. I play a high level of travel ball, and we play in showcase tournaments all the time, and it’s something to where you just have to get used to it.”
TCN: What is your biggest motivation as a softball player?
Rusk: “My biggest motivation would have to be my parents, especially my dad. He is my biggest supporter. He has never missed one of my games, and he takes off work and makes sure he gets to every practice, camp and all of my lessons.”
TCN: What’s the next level or place of growth for you as a player, and what will you do differently in the offseason to get there?
Rusk: “Oh, I definitely want to play college softball at the next level, and to get there, I’m just going to keep working hard and going to all of my lessons.”