STROHECKER: West York's Weaver closing door on stellar high school softball career
Time is quickly running out on Kelsie Weaver's softball career at West York High School.
With postseason play out of the question for the Bulldogs, the senior will play in her final high school game on Monday night against Northeastern, fittingly, on Senior Night. She and seven others, who grew up together over the past four years, will be honored for their commitment to the Bulldogs program.
"We all grew up as seniors," Weaver said. "There's eight seniors on our team and when we grew up it was like a family, so it's definitely going to be sad. When I say they're my family, they're really my family."
But, for Weaver, in particular, Monday will be a final curtain call for a four-year varsity starter whose achievements rank her among the best softball players to don a Bulldogs uniform.
As a catcher, she already had more than most on her plate when it came to calling games in the field. While her impact behind the plate was instrumental in helping organize fielders and work with the pitchers, her biggest contribution to the team came at the plate.
A tough act to follow: With one game remaining this season, she's hitting well over .500 and has 30 hits on the season. It's an impressive season, to say the least, but not the first time she's torched the stat sheets.
Her entire 2015 performance comes on the heels of a fantastic junior campaign in 2014. Last season, she earned the York-Adams League Division III Player of the Year honor and was named first team all-state. As a junior, she batted .450 and scored 19 runs. She also had just one passed ball and no errors in 21 games.
Weaver was fully aware of the standards she set for herself entering her final high school season.
"It was definitely special and it was hard to come back as a senior and try to match that," Weaver said. "I'm glad I didn't let the pressure go to my head as much, but it was definitely hard to match."
Since her freshman year in 2012, all Weaver has done is improve. After posting only 12 hits in her first year at the varsity level, her hits continued to increase over the course of the last three seasons. Despite missing half of her sophomore year with a broken finger, she sits at 88 career hits with one game to go in her high school career.
College choice: Her strong play, both, offensively and defensively, got her noticed by colleges. Ultimately, she settled on Wheeling Jesuit University, a small NCAA Division II school in Wheeling, West Virginia.
There was a feeling of comfort when Weaver visited the campus on several occasions, including one with the coaching staff. She said one of the reasons she chose the school was because of the similarities she saw between Cardinals coach Kelli Williams and West York coach Chris Ilyes, who she said had the greatest impact on her development as a player.
On top of that, Weaver had a chance to meet many of the players who will become her new teammates next year. She's excited at the prospect of playing college softball, even though her high school career is coming to a close.
"The (Wheeling Jesuit) girls are so positive," she said. "I'm just really excited to get up there and work with them. ... They're like a family up there and I'm just excited to get into that family."
Fond farewell: But, before Weaver can become a part of her new family at college, she has one last task at hand with her high school one. The 2015 season hasn't exactly gone to plan, with the Bulldogs sitting at 7-10 overall and 6-7 within the Y-A Division II. That's surely a major letdown after West York went 13-8 overall last year and finished second in Division III at 11-3.
It'll be a bittersweet moment on Monday when Weaver and the other seniors play their final game for the school. But, she at least knows that her softball career is going to continue at the next level, while for many of the other seniors, Monday will be it.
The relationships Weaver developed with the girls in her class will be what she remembers most about her time at West York. It's a major reason why she's prepared for the next chapter in her life.
"I fell in love with (softball) and they're definitely the reason why," Weaver said. "They've made it so easy for me to get the accomplishments that I've had, like for all-state and stuff. They were always there for me."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org