BY DEAN HOCKNEY
At almost every gathering of elite high school players, one theme is always prevalent – hard work pays off. That was the theme once again as Kokomo High School senior Christine Skaggs signed a national letter of intent to continue her student-athlete softball career at Marian University in Indianapolis.
“She is one of the hardest workers I know,” said Wildkat softball coach Lisa Tate. “She is a bright student who exceeds expectations placed on her. Christine will no doubt continue to achieve more than could be asked of her in the next few years. She is so deserving of all the accolades giver to her – and more.”
The first three years of Skaggs career at Kokomo have been staggering and record-breaking. From hitting a home run as a freshman off the very first varsity pitch crossed her strike zone to batting .556 as a sophomore to breaking the school career home run record of 19 as a junior, Skaggs has been a dominant force for the Lady Kats. And with another season left in the Red and Blue before she departs for Marian, expectations are high for Kat leader.
“Christine is an incredible team leader and one of the hardest working players I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Tate. “I believe Marian College is getting a great player, teammate, student, and a wonderful person. But I still get her for one more season.”
With the two-time All-North Central Conference performer in the lineup, Kokomo is 48-28. Those kinds of numbers match-up well with a successful Marian program that is 242-109 under head coach Scott Fleming. In Mid-Central College Conference play, the Knights are 93-33 and have advanced to the NAIA regionals three times in Flemings eight years as head of the program.
“Now that I know that she hit a home run in her first pitch, I know what to expect out of her,” joked Fleming. “I am very excited that she is coming to Marian as a student and softball player. I could tell how interested she was in our school and our program. Obviously, the hard work stands out and will fit in very well with our group. Our team likes to hit the ball and score runs, and that has stood out with her.”
Skaggs also owns the Kokomo single-season RBI record with 39, the single-season walk record with 23, single-season home run record with nine, and a piece of the single-season slugging percentage record of 1.028. She led the NCC in hitting last year with a batting average of .471. And as a pitcher, she had 129 strikeouts last year while recording one no-hitter and a pair of shut-outs in 2010.
“I am pretty excited,” said Skaggs, who will study biology at Marian. “I really like Coach Fleming and he communicated with me a lot. He was easy to get along with and said I have a good chance of early playing time. I know my parents are pretty excited as well, and we travel a lot. It was a lot of hard work, and I thank my Dad for all of the training and hitting we did – we used to go out every day and hit and pitch. It was tiring but worth it – I love the game and am glad I did it.”
Skaggs said she is happy she chose a school the size of Marian to continue her studies.
“I am glad it is a small school,” said the record-breaking athlete. “I will be able to relate with the teachers better and they can help me get adjusted. And I love the campus and the training facilities. It was a good fit.”
Once again, hard work pays off. Tate said Skaggs, “has left a footprint at KHS that will be recognized for a long time.” With the dominance she has produced as a Wildkat softball player, chances are she is going to leave the same kind of footprint as a Knight of Marian.