By Joseph Garcia
No sophomore slump here for Liberty Hill slugger Kallen Floyd.
The 16-year old has played like a seasoned veteran in her second year on varsity. In the field she made the move from second base to third. She also is the third batter in the lineup and has produced an MVP-type season for the Lady Panthers.
The Round Rock-born Floyd is batting a gaudy .527, driven in 41 runs (both leads team), racked up 48 hits and has scored 38 runs in 29 games this season. Oh, she also leads the team with seven home runs.
“She works hard in the weight room and uses her strength to create power,” said Liberty Hill Coach Charice Hankins of Floyd’s hitting prowess. “She is just a hard working player.
“She is focused, and determined to make a difference on the field, and holds herself to very high standards,” Hankins added. “She is coachable, and has a great healthy level of competition in her.”
Floyd said she hits a lot outside of practice with her father, Jerrod. She also attributes her successful season at the plate to being healthy for over a full year. She said she has “been working really hard to be the best” she can be.
Before every at-bat, the fearless batter always steps up to the plate, literally and figuratively, raises the head of her bat to the sky and has a moment of prayer. This is her routine – which has worked over 50 percent of the time and for seven roudtrippers – for the entire season.
“I raise my bat and say a prayer, then I measure myself off the plate and then get into rhythm and wait for the pitcher,” she said. “I go up to the plate telling myself that I have to hit the ball hard – that’s it. It doesn’t matter where it is hit as long as it is hard. If it goes over the fence, that’s just a bonus.”
When Floyd hits a home run it is “pretty awesome” for her knowing, the charming teammate she is, she has helped Sam Junkin out on the mound so she can relax.
“Also that we are one step closer to winning the game and sometimes when I’m tired it’s a relief that I don’t have to sprint around the bases,” Floyd said jokingly.
Floyd, already a playoff veteran, spoke of her experience, along with fellow second-year varsity players Junkin and Payton Walker.
“It’s great because we know what to expect, how we are supposed to (act) and how good we have to play to get back to state,” Floyd said. “This season we have to come into the playoffs with a vengeance because of our success last year. We just want to build off of what we did last year.”
When asked if the team will do anything different this postseason than last when it comes to team solidarity, she hinted that they may dye a strand of their hair like last season.
“I’m pretty sure we want to dye our hair again,” she admitted. “But I guess y’all will just have to wait and see.”