Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Duval Sports Spotlight: Sweet Tooth For Softball

Like a kid in a candy store,  Terry Parker’s softball left fielder Kaelyn Marler plays the game for the sheer pleasure and excitement it brings. Marler is a key contributor for the Braves softball team; A team hoping to gel at the right time in hopes of gaining a birth in the playoffs. Parker has had some ups and downs this season standing just 1-7 in district play, and 8-14 overall. But Marler knows the potential she and her team has, and that on any given day they can compete with anyone.  ” If we play hard, we know it’s going to be a good game” -Marler.

There’s no doubt that she has learned a lot about the sport since her playing days at the Green Cove Springs Athletic Association. Several games and valuable coaching lessons since the age of nine has prepared her for success on and off the field. For Kaelyn, no other coaching advice as been more valuable than that of Coach Robert Kelley of Green Cove Springs. ” He’s been like a father to me”.  Kaelyn sites Coach Kelley as an instrumental part in giving her the proper training and counsel in the game of softball on the field, and the game of hardball in life.IMG_7271

She is currently a sophomore at Terry Parker but has enough high school credit to take senior classes next fall. This means Kaelyn could possibly graduate early and pursue a career in culinary arts, medicine, or even softball. Credit for her academic drive is owed to her mother Marina Harrison. ” My parents pushed me to get good grades”. Marler is certainly soaring high after that inspirational academic push from her parents. Yet sometimes an athlete needs a push from a teammate to get over the hump. That push in the Braves clubhouse comes from her good friend Jessica Gardene. ” I recently moved from Texas and we hit it off right away. This is important for our team because its a new experience to play together and learn from one another”.  Kaelyn knows that a team’s camaraderie plays a major part in the trust that is forged amongst teammates.

This trust has allowed her to play several positions on the field in addition to left field, including pitcher. Marler’s versatility keeps her confidence high and her worries at bay. ” I like softball because I’m good at it, it’s a stress reliever, and when I’m playing everything else goes away”. Some athletes refer to these feelings as a zone, but for Marler its a thrill. The thrill of a close contest. The thrill of being up to bat down by one in the bottom of the last inning. The thrill of coming out on top as a winner on the field and a winner in life. How sweet… it is!

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