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Woodward’s Kaleigh Mills – Softball Spotlight – Presented by Stock Exchange Bank

Kaleigh Mills adds a lot of value to the Woodward softball program, and she’s just a freshman.

Mills, who also plays basketball and competes in track, played a big part in helping the Boomers win eight of their first nine games.

Mills is already looking at the bigger picture.

“My goal is for our team to make it to the playoffs and go all the way to state,” she said.

She’s doing her part as the team’s primary pitcher.

Mills delivered a clutch walk-off hit to carry Woodward in a marathon 5-4 win over Elk City on Aug. 15. In the pitcher’s circle, she threw 200 pitches, 147 of which were strikes, across 15 innings.

“My team and I battled hard and came back to win. It was an amazing feeling when my teammates rushed the field in celebration,” she said. Definitely will be one of the most memorable moments in my HS career…and I’m just starting.”

Getting through 15 innings showed an area of improvement for Mills, who has also gained more confidence.

“My stamina and my confidence on the mound. Up until this year my travel ball games have been limited to 60 to 75 minute games so I have never had to pitch a full seven inning game until now,” she said. “So it’s been a big adjustment throwing that many pitches and a huge improvement in my stamina because this time last year I’m not sure I would have been able to pitch a full seven innings and keep pitching well. 

“But, I’ve been able to stay hooked up and confident on the mound this season and continue to stay consistent and throw strikes for a full seven innings now, as well as several games that we’ve gone into extra innings, including the 15 inning game against Elk City. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my teammates and great defense behind me.”

Through the first 13 games, Mills was hitting .438 with a .523 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage. As a pitcher, she recorded 50 strikeouts in 46 innings and had an earned run average of 1.36, while opposing hitters were hitting just .207 off her.

Her biggest influence has come from within her family.

“My dad,” she said. “He helped me fall in love with the game at a young age. I remember playing catch for hours in the front yard those first years of T-ball, and then spending hours in the cage down in our barn pitching and pitching….and then watching YouTube videos on pitching and then watching college softball for hours on TV just learning the game and the strategies of pitching and watching different pitchers and their mechanics. 

“We’ve just spent a ton of time together learning the game. He has always believed in me and is always pushing me to get better. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

Mills was selected to the 14U All-Star All-American game over the summer at the Colorado Sparkler and was also named MVP at the 16U Southern Nationals where her travel team, the Enid Bruins, claimed a championship.

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