Meant To Be: As the daughter of an SSHS coach, Evans was born to wear blue-and-gold

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 2, 2008 - Kelsey Evans was born to wear blue and gold. And right now, the Sulphur Springs senior is making the most of it.

Evans, whose father, Doug Evans, has been a coach and teacher at SSHS for almost 30 years, was born into the Wildcat legacy. She's lettered in four different sports and will be the starting center fielder for the Lady Cats when they take on Forney this weekend in the area softball playoffs.

"I think growing up a coach's kid and being born into the Wildcat tradition is something that's always been a big part of my life," said Evans. "Growing up, I wanted to be an athlete for Sulphur Springs and compete wearing blue and gold. It's been a great part of my life."

It hasn't been bad for the Lady Cats, either.

Evans has been a a two-time All-District outfielder, a three-year qualifier in cross country, a regional qualifier in track and a volleyball letterman. Plus, she is No. 2 academically in her class and is the Senior Class president.

SSHS head coach David Carrillo said you don't have to wonder where Evans' loyalties lie.

"Kelsey Evans is a Sulphur Springs Lady Cat through and through. Her body should be blue and gold," he said. "She does it all, she loves Sulphur Springs, she loves her school. This is a girl who has a lot of pride in her high school and in her town. She's involved in everything.

"She grew up wanting to be a Lady Cat."

It's been a well-documented journey as she usually has a large following of family members on hand.

"Our family's really close, and we're all involved in sports," she said. "We're all there for each other, cheering each other on."

They've seen Kelsey's batting average skyrocket the last few weeks. Slowed by an early-season slump, Evans broke out in a big way at the end of the season, batting .353 over the last five games, scoring five runs and knocking in four runs in the process.

In the two bi-district games against Marshall, she went 3-for-7 at the plate with three RBI.

A diligent hard worker, Evans shook her slump when she was able to relax at the plate.

"I just kept working hard and working hard, thinking it would eventually pay off, but I just stayed in this slump," she explained. "So, coach told me to lay off extra practice and just try to relax. Finally, my hitting just came around once I stopped worrying about it so much."

They never had to worry about her fielding. Evans started the last two years in left field, but was moved to center this year to take advantage of her experience and her speed.

"She's an awesome outfielder," Carrillo said. "At practice, I'll try to burn them, and she'll go get the ball because she can run like a deer.

"She asked me last year if she could play center. I was reluctant at first because I didn't want to have her change spots because she was so valuable in left field. But, I put there and she's excelled."

Evans has excelled so much that she will be playing softball for Hardin-Simmons University next year, majoring in biology and exercise science to become a physical therapist.

"It's all about commitment. What matters most is what you'll put her time and devotion into," Evans said. "My passion is to play and to work hard and to compete."

She will have her chance this weekend in the area playoffs. The Lady Cats host Forney at 7 p.m. today in the first game of the best-of-three series. Game 2 is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Forney, with Game 3 to follow, if necessary.

The winner of the series will take on the winner between Rockwall Heath and Hallsville in the Region II quarterfinals.

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