VHS Standout Hawaii-bound

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

VIDALIA — Most letters from far-away softball camps or tournament teams find the bottom of Vidalia High School softball coach Jeannie Hall’s garbage can.

But when a letter from Club USA National Softball looking for players with “college softball potential” to participate in a tournament in Hawaii landed on Hall’s desk, her thoughts turned to one person.

Hall nominated rising junior first baseman Kassi Randall for the tournament, and a few weeks later, a letter arrived in the mail letting Randall know she had been selected to participate in the tournament, which will be run by college softball coaches from around the country and lasts from Dec. 28 to Jan. 5.

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“I think it’s awesome,” Hall said of Randall’s trip. “It’s a great opportunity for her. She has shown interest in playing softball in college so this will be good for her to be coached by college coaches at the tournament.”

Randall was happy to be nominated for the award, but was overjoyed when she received the letter that she had been selected.

“I was really excited when I found out,” Randall said. “I didn’t think I was going to get to go because of expenses, but I was just proud to be picked regardless.”

The trip isn’t cheap by any means. It will cost Randall $3,678 total. However, Vidalia coach Jeannie Hall said there will be fund-raisers between now and December to raise the money for Randall’s trip.

“We’re hoping the community will support her,” Hall said. “We need people to help send her. We have a lot of fundraisers in mind.”

Randall hit .468 this past season for the Lady Vikings with a slugging percentage of .597 and collected 18 RBIs. She also played an outstanding defensive first base.

“She caught anything that was hit on the right side of the field,” Hall said.

Randall has been playing softball since she was 4 years old and has dreamed of playing for the LSU Tigers since then.

“When she was smaller, she would always tell me her dream was to play softball for LSU,” Kassi’s mother Cindi Randall said. “I’ve never gone to Hawaii and now my 16-year-old daughter has the chance to go and play softball.”

In addition to playing in the tournament, players will tour the island of Oahu, making stops at Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, the Oahu North Shore and other tourist attractions.

But Kassi’s No. 1 priority on the island will be softball, something that her love cannot be questioned.

When asked about what she was looking forward to most in Hawaii, she prefaced her answer with “Besides softball?”

“I do love it,” she said. “I love everything about it. When I was younger I liked hitting better but now I like playing in the field better.”

The trip will also be quite a nice birthday present for Kassi, whose father Greg will be accompanying her to Hawaii.

Her 17th birthday is Jan. 4, and there really couldn’t be a better place for her to spend it than in paradise, doing something that she loves.