By Sue Moore
“Playing softball if your dad is the coach can be challenging,” said Vicksburg High senior Keegan Kelley. But it didn’t deter her from signing a letter of intent to play at Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville. Her dad, Brian Kelley, has been her coach since she was nine years old and for the last two and a half years she played on the junior varsity team in Vicksburg.
She came up to the varsity half-way through the season last year and had an immediate impact, according to Paul Gephart, the Bulldog’s varsity coach. Starting in left field against Portage Central, she got a homer, made an amazing catch and threw out a runner attempting to come home. The game ended in a 5-4 victory. “She is very quick and can play multiple positions for us this year. The team graduated five starters in 2017.”
“Sometimes it’s real quiet on the ride home from a game,” Keegan’s dad said. “I might have to get on her for not hustling, and her reply is ‘I’m trying, Dad!’” Kelley admits he has been tough on both his daughters as JV coach for eight years at Vicksburg. Jessica, Keegan’s older sister, played for him, played one season at Glen Oaks and is now at KVCC. “They don’t understand when they are so young, but now they get it and have thanked me for insisting they play hard.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dad’s help,” Keegan said. “I always had fun playing and love the game. My dad was against my playing travel ball but after he let me try it at age nine, then he came along as the team coach of the Hurricanes. That was after two years of my playing in Little League with him coaching.”
Keegan’s plan is to put in her two years at Glen Oaks in medical studies, transfer to Western Michigan University to study medicine and then work toward a psychology degree in post-graduate work. She also helps feed the five horses her mom, Annette, houses and has been a member of Vicksburg’s equestrian team for four years.
Kelley’s coach at Glen Oaks, Grace Muller, said she recruited Kelley for her versatility, speed and ability to play most any position on the field. The second-year coach is going through a rebuilding year with eight offers that she can extend to fill out the roster. The school is a member of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association and competes against community college teams from Lansing, Muskegon, Grand Rapids and KVCC.