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Hard work pushed Kaady to success

Franklin softball star leaves with plenty of good memories


by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Christina Kaady of Franklin High fires a pitch to the plate during a 2014 game against Reynolds. Kaady,  a senior, earned PIL 5A co-player of the year honors.As memories of her time at Franklin High sweep through the consciousness of Christina Kaady, she realizes the gravity of each moment.

“I feel like memories are very important,” Kaady says.

The Portland Interscholastic League 5A softball co-player of the year remembers her starry-eyed freshman self, who was just happy to grace the field for the Franklin varsity softball team.

However, that year a thoughtful pep talk from 2011 PIL co-player of the year Kayla George, also with the Quakers, boosted Kaady’s confidence and steered her focus.

“She just told me she saw a lot of potential to me, that if I kept working hard she could see me going somewhere,” Kaady says.

From that point forward, Kaady has done her due diligence to prove George

correct.

Though Kaady’s father, Paull, recalls watching Kaady pull off multiple three-home run games in her career, strength didn’t come naturally for her.

“My freshman year, I wasn’t half as strong as I am now, partially because my teammates pushed me and my coaches pushed me,” she says.

After working hard for four years, playing softball in the spring and every summer, she became an elite Oregon softball player. This prep season, she achieved a sizzling .557 batting average and reached base on 71 percent of her trips to the batter’s box.

Kaady complemented her hitting prowess with a chameleon-like presence in the field.

“Her biggest skill was versatility. She did everything she could to contribute to the program,” Franklin softball coach Gina Aman says.

Kaady was named first team all-PIL as a utility player for her work at shortstop, third base, in the outfield and on the mound.

Aman says Kaady’s thirst for improvement has been her greatest quality.

“She never felt like there wasn’t something she needed to learn. That sets her apart from a lot of other kids,” Aman said.

Her father says Kaady has grown up a lot since her freshman year.

“She was a little girl in a big house coming in as a freshman, trying to make the squad and trying to fit in,” Paull Kaady says. “This year, coaches knew that when they were playing Franklin, they had to think, ‘How do we pitch around Christina?’ ”

Paull Kaddy fondly reminisces about his daughter’s first at-bat, first playoff game as a freshman and her first state playoff home run as a sophomore.

But he says the little things stand out just as bright.

“Whenever I see her smile or wink at her friends, that’s memorable,” he says.

In her final game for Franklin, Kaady had to say good-bye to Clinton Park, her home field for many years. But she will hold on to the memories.

“My last game at Clinton Park was bittersweet. I had so many memories, not just in high school, but also in Little League. It was kind of eerie,” she says. “It was a great place for me to grow.”

by: COURTESY OF CHRISTINA KAADY - Christina Kaady of Franklin High.But Kaady doesn’t only like to think about her own experiences, she enjoys hearing others stories, as well.

In fact, she says her favorite day of high school came earlier this year, when students of Franklin’s past and present congregated on the day of the Wilson-Franklin football game.

“There were people who graduated in the 1940s. It was really cool to see them come back to the school and talk to people from different classes and hear them share their memories,” she says.

One man especially fascinated Kaady with his story about a hidden attic he would crawl into in the upper confines of the high school.

“He told me about a spot where no one can find you and you can watch people in the street,” she says.

Next year, Kaady will play for Mt. Hood Community College and likely play third base and outfield.

She is excited for the opportunity.

“It’s a very welcoming community. The coach is very nice. Every day is a day where you work hard, and I’m excited for that,” Kaady says.

During spring break, Kaady and her friends took their first trip together without parental supervision to the beach.

“It was freeing,” she says.

However, her favorite activity is climbing the hills of Willamette Falls. At the end of the hike, she looks down, reflecting on her upward ascension.

Like her softball career, Kaady likes thinking about her climb from the valley to the peak.

“It’s really rewarding,” she says, “seeing your starting point and how far you’ve gone up.”