By Brian Freiberger
“She was just born with it,” said Leslie Kudary, mother of Vicksburg high school softball standout Carlie Kudary about her daughter’s athletic achievements while playing at Vicksburg.
Early in May, senior softball center fielder for Vicksburg, Kudary signed her letter of intent to play softball, and study biology and psychology at NCAA-Division II, University of Missouri-Saint Louis (UMSL) enrolling in the fall of 2017.
Kudary verbally committed to the university earlier this year. “It’s a pretty big relief for me, finding the right fit … I love the coaches and its perfect for me.“
Kudary is a four-year starter (2014-17), two-time district champion (2015- 16) and a state finalist in 2016. She was also named to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) softball first-team all-state, Division two in 2016. The list of achievements keep growing for Kudary as she prepares for another deep run in the MHSAA softball playoffs in 2017. Kudary has been also a part of Vicksburg softball academic all-state team all four years in high school while being seventh out of 10 academically in the 2017 class at Vicksburg high school.
Kudary has had three primary coaches throughout her softball career: Dave Smiley, Ted Zimmerman and Paul Gephert.
Kudary’s first coach, Dave Smiley, coached Kudary from ages 11-16. “Speed kills, you can’t teach speed,” said Smiley describing Kudary’s attributes. “Her speed around the bases makes it a lot easier on the coach.” And, he said, “She’s really smart!”
All three of the coaches agreed the Kudary’s speed is outstanding.
“All the tools for a left-handed slapper,” said Ted Zimmerman, Kudary’s travel softball coach from ages 16-18, about what she brings to her team. Kudary is currently fourth in the Softball MHSAA record book with 88 hits in 45 games during the 2016 season.
A left-handed slapper is a batter who pressures the opposing team’s defense to field the ball when hit, and throw it under pressure of the player’s speed. “The failure for a slapper is up, she has to be resilient and tough,” said coach Smiley.
The three coaches agreed that Kudary is a “true outfielder. She runs balls down that are triples, she covers so much ground,” said Paul Gephert, Kudary’s high school softball coach, about her effectiveness on the field.
Kudary is one of five seniors on the team that have been on the varsity team all four years. Three of the five, Kudary included, have been starters all four years. Gephert said of the five, “They’re driving each other.”
The Bulldogs lost in the state championship game in 2016 to Richmond, 2-0. “They felt let down to get that far. Last year was learning and this year is their time,” Gephert added.