The four-year Cass High starting first baseman said family and others urged her to consider playing softball for the Lady Hawks and that started her to really consider the possibility.
“I was planning to attend Shorter because of its nursing program,” she said. “My whole family and [Cass softball coach] Greg Hight always wanted for me to play for them. They just kind of talked me into it.”
She said she went to the campus and liked what she saw.
“I toured it. The moment I toured it, I fell in love with it,” she said. “I wasn’t sure at first I was going to play softball, but I met the team and the coach and I absolutely fell in love with it.”
Holoway said the school was interested in her, too.
“I met Al Thomas, the coach at Shorter, and he decided to give me the opportunity to play and I was super stoked about all of it and of course I said yes.”
The Cass senior will start playing ball with the team in the fall.
“They play a couple of games in the fall to see where all their girls fall into, what positions fit them best, how the team glues together,” she said. “The actual season starts in the spring.”
Hight said he expects good things for his former first baseman, who had a .367 batting average as a senior with a batting average of .300 for her high school career. She also drove in 29 RBIs and accounted for eight doubles her final year.
“Kelsey will do fine at Shorter. Kelsey swings a bat and Al [Thomas] likes big hitters over there,” Hight said. “I think she’ll fit in fine. She’s got a good work ethic. I think he’ll probably work her some at first base.”
He said Holoway already is grounded in academics.
“She’s a good student,” he said. “She knows what she’s going to do in school so she’s got half the battle already.”
He said Holoway was a good player for the Lady Colonels.
“She played first base for us [and] batted in the three and four hole,” he said. “She’s got a lot of pop.”
He said she also was a leader on and off the field at Cass.
The coach said she has a good upside and will improve her game at the next level.
“I think she’s going to get better after she goes out and swings the bat every day for nine, 10 months out of the year,” he said. “She’s only going to get better.”
He said she already has good skills.
“She’s got decent speed, good height and good hands,” he said. “She has a passion for the game, and she’s tickled to death to be getting an opportunity to go there.”
He believes Shorter has a lot to offer a player wanting to improve her game.
“This is their second year in Division II,” Hight said. “They’ve been in a transition period and next year they’ll be eligible. Last year and this year they won the Gulf South Conference, so she’s going to a good program where she will join talented players.
“She’s going to have to work hard to get ready to play. He does have a good program. Al’s going to pull the best he can pull in every year.”
Thomas, in his fourth season as head coach of Shorter University’s softball program, led the Lady Hawks to the school’s first softball national championship in 2012.
The school is competing for the first time in NCAA Division II. It is now a Gulf South Conference member.
Holoway has a lot of softball memories.
“I played at Cass four years,” she said. “I’ve also played travel ball my whole life, from 10 years old to now, as well as recreation ball [with the Bartow County Recreation Department].”
Holoway said she has enjoyed her stay at Cass and will treasure those memories the rest of her life. “I wouldn’t trade this team and this family I’ve got at Cass for anything in the world.”
She said she also has learned a lot of lessons that go beyond hitting and catching the ball and believes they will help her continue playing the sport at the next level.
“I’ve learned a lot about character that will get you far in this sport,” she said. “I’ve learned about trying to be a great teammate, always being honest, always having each other’s back. They’ve taught me a lot at Cass to get me through to the next step.”
She said she’s also taking a special award with her, the Iron Spike.
“I received the Iron Spike award at Cass as a senior,” she said. “The award recognizes the many contributions made by players that benefit the team, including leadership.
“I was thrilled to get it. It felt like everything I have worked hard for has paid off.”