Ramona senior Kailey Hill, who will play at USD next year, hit .425 last season with a 1.12 ERA in the circle. Also competing in golf and basketball, Hill has earned 12 varsity letters at Ramona.
Thanks to a flier for Ramona softball she saw while in elementary school, Kailey Hill signed up to play when she was just 5 years old.
She hated it and walked away.
A year later, she gave it another try.
Now more than a decade later, the Ramona High senior is about to begin her fourth and final season on the Bulldogs’ varsity before she drives down the mountain to play next year at the University of San Diego.
Not bad for a girl who hated the sport.
“She’s the best softball player to ever come out of Ramona,” Bulldogs coach Cori McDonald said. “Whether it’s on offense or defense, she’s the X factor, a triple threat.
“I will be crying the day she graduates. She’s been such a huge part of our program for a long time.”
From her first days on varsity, Hill has excelled.
• Freshman: Hit .343, slugged five home runs and drove in 23 runs while also pitching 72 innings with 52 strikeouts and 29 walks.
• Sophomore: Hit .425 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. In the circle, she was 14-9 with a 1.63 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 150 innings.
• Junior: Once again, hit .425 with seven homers and 32 RBIs, striking out four times in 117 plate appearances. Compiled an 8-11 pitching record with a microscopic 1.12 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 124 2/3 innings.
The 5-foot-8½ Hill did all that — hitting .387 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs — while also playing golf and basketball at Ramona as well as playing on a travel softball team.
“I enjoy being busy,” said Hill, who will earn 12 varsity letters as a Bulldog. “I’ve learned to manage my time right. At home, I don’t sit around and watch TV. I do homework or study or work on my pitching in the backyard.
“I’ll throw maybe an hour each night at home. My dad (Bob) catches for me, but I’ll also call a friend to take his place as he’s gotten older.”
Hill began playing golf with her dad and kept on playing in high school.
She joined a recreation league in Ramona after shooting hoops with her father for years.
“Golf is not hyped up like basketball and softball,” Hill said. “It’s so different than my other sports, but it’s definitely one of the hardest sports. You can be really good one day and terrible the next.”
Hill has managed to laugh at some of her adventures in sports.
“I trip a lot because people say I run funny,” she said. “I’ve tripped on a few bases over the years.
“One time I tripped over my own feet in basketball. It made a really loud thud.
“In golf, my ball landed between two palm trees and my shot out of there went about two feet.”
Thankfully, her softball career has gone a lot further.