Sports

Sour grapes? Just the opposite for this CK senior

Central Kitsap senior Kendall Sours, the Cougars softball shortstop, signs her letter of intent while friends, family and supporters look on Thursday. - Photo by Aaron Managhan
Central Kitsap senior Kendall Sours, the Cougars softball shortstop, signs her letter of intent while friends, family and supporters look on Thursday.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan

Listening to Kendall Sours, Central Kitsap’s all-league shortstop, describe her new collegiate destination can be a little confusing.

“It’s a lot like Washington but it’s not green,” Sours said. “There’s a lot of hills and trees. The school itself isn’t as big as (Washington State University), but it’s bigger than Central (Washington University) or Western (Washington University).”

But give it time. When Sours graduates from CK this spring, she’ll have plenty of time to learn all about New Britain, Conn., after signing her letter of intent to continue her softball career for Central Connecticut State University.

“Yeah, I’m a little nervous but mostly excited,” a smiling Sours said before a large gathering of friends, family, coaches and teachers in a meeting room at the CKHS library Thursday.

But mostly, she’s relieved.

“It was not fun,” Sours said of the recruiting process. “As soon as I was done, I just got in my address book and just started hitting delete.”

But making the decision even easier was the offer CCSU made Sours, an offer that included both academic and athletic scholarships.

“It’s interesting,” Kendall’s dad David Sours said. “The colleges that want to come see you, some have athletic money and not academic money and some have academic money and not athletic money. Central Connecticut was one that did both parts of it. They’re rewarding her for both aspects.”

Sours, a senior at CK, has been an integral part of the Cougars softball success, with coach Bruce Welling putting her right up with Jessica Brown, CK’s standout shortstop who also went on to play collegiate ball in the early 1990s.

“Kendall is in the top two shortstops I’ve ever had,” Welling said. “Both had similar attributes.”

But what Welling said really makes Sours’ signing special is what she’s meant to the team and school.

“One of our players. Not mine, it’s ours,” Welling said. “The whole team’s, the school’s. She put a lot of time into this. (The team is) very, very happy for her. Kendall has been a very big part of our program. They look up to her, they listen to her, try to emulate her.”

Interested in studying journalism once she gets to CCSU, Sours said there were other incentives unique to New Britian.

“I was very impressed with their student-athlete center and the help you get there,” Sours said. “And I’m kind of interested in being a journalist and ESPN is right there.”

As for the center, Sours said the BlueDevils make it hard not to be successful in the classroom and on the field.

“They have a lot of support for student-athletes,” She said. “I’m pretty sure I’d have to work a lot harder to fail than to pass.”

Regardless of what Sours ultimately decides to pursue, Welling has no doubt she’ll be as successful in college as she has been as the stop gap of CK’s diamond.

“There’s always going to be a learning curve, but getting athletic and academic scholarships,” Welling said. “She’s an intelligent hard worker. She’ll be able to figure out the softball aspect no problem.”

Facing off against some of the nation’s top competition is a prospect that has Sours salivating as a hitter.

“I’m excited to get better,” she said. “I’m excited to see the growth from there. To face the pitchers. It’s gonna be a lot easier to just focus on the ball.”

She got the chance early too, as Welling said she’s already penciled in as Central Connecticut State’s starter at the shortstop spot next season.

Having been a life-long resident of the Northwest, Sours said she’s excited to see a new region of America.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” she said. “I want to see other parts of the country. To travel up and down the East Coast playing ball; that’s a good ticket to have.”

The academic scholarship suddenly gave Sours a new outlook on school work.

“I used to always complain about school work,” Sours said. “But when it makes you some money, it’s not as hard.”

As for the work she’s put in on the field, Sours said all of her coaches have played a big role in her development as a player and a person, from her first coach Dusty Anchors right on down to Welling.

“I started early with Dusty Anchors,” Sours said. “But as a group, all of us have kind of grown up together. I’m prepared. I’m excited.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s afraid to poke a little fun on the way.

“The coaching staff (at CCSU) is pretty laid back,” Sours said. “It’s not as intense as I expected. It reminds me of a Bruce practice.”

And for Welling, who said he will see his fifth or sixth player graduating to the highest recesses of the game, the sight never gets old.

“The day it gets old is the day I quit coaching,” Welling said. “This is my 34th year of coaching, so I don’t think it’ll get old any time soon.”

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