Kally Hanson

After playing softball at Eastern Oklahoma State College for the past two seasons, Kally Henson signed to continue her career with Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.

The former Angleton Ladycat had visited Southwestern College, an NAIA program, before joining Eastern Oklahoma.

“I visited there my senior year in high school and they didn’t offer,” Henson said. “So I went to Eastern because it was the only choice that I had. But this past fall, I got an email from the Southwestern coach and she asked me to go on a visit and I went and it was an amazing experience.”

Henson, a right-handed pitcher, grabbed the coach’s attention at a season-ending tournament last season.

“She liked that I had experience at the JUCO level and knew what the pace of the game is and just liked what she saw of me,” Henson said.

She signed the offer sheet Jan. 18, understanding there will be some adjustments at Southwestern College, which is about 4 1/2 hours away from her current school in Wilburton, Oklahoma.

“I know there are going to be a lot more wind chills in Kansas,” Henson said. “But it is a stress-reliever knowing that I am going somewhere else after this. I am excited to go to that level and see what I can do.”

As a freshman with the JUCO Lady Mountaineers in 2019, Henson played in 26 games, compiing an 11-9 record in 141 innings with a 4.47 ERA. She allowed 200 hits, 122 runs, 90 earned runs, 47 walks and struck out 54.

“My freshman season was definitely a learning experience, but I thought I blossomed,” Henson said. “We didn’t win much and I pitched a lot, and at times I would pitch up to 14 innings. It all depended on who we were playing and how cold it was.”

After not getting too many innings in Angleton in two seasons on varsity, Henson had to work harder than most of her teammates on the Mountaineers pitching staff.

“Some of the things I went through was trying to figure out how to adult some things, especially with pitching and how to fix myself without someone being there,” she said. “I had to recognize what was going on and how to do that on my own. I learned how to control a game with my attitude, and with that alone, it really helped me in some spots just by staying positive.

“Of course, I just had to grow up quickly, because I realized that they were paying me to go pitch there and that is how I saw it and it helped me. I needed to focus more and make sure I did that for every game.”

At times, there were tears, she said.

“I just tried to stay focused on my school which was main priority along with pitching,” Henson said. “But we did a lot of pitching, including spotting workouts, just precise things like what would work out for us in certain situations. I would say there were no tears, but at times there were a lot of tears.”

In the offseason, Henson concentrated on cardio and weight training with her teammates.

“I needed to boost my endurance,” Henson said. “So far this season, I can tell with the weight program that we did, it’s helping us out so far this year.”

Eastern Oklahoma State College is off to a 7-5 start, with Henson being 3-1 so far this season in the circle. In 15 innings of work, Henson has allowed 24 hits with 24 scored runs with seven strikeouts, five walks and four home runs. She is carrying a 9.33 ERA.

“I want to keep my team positive despite where we are in the game and just continue to stay positive throughout the game,” she said. “I’d like to make a name for myself here at Eastern and be on that memorial that they have here for great players.”

Henson has established herself as a good student. The accounting major has been on the 2018 fall dean’s honor roll; 2019 spring and fall president’s honor roll; 2019 Eastern All-Academic NJCAA Team; and the 2019 Eastern NFCA All-American-Scholar Athlete.

Joel Luna is sports editor for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0160 or at joel.luna@thefacts.com

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