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2011 All-SCV Softball Team: Not on her watch

Kelly wasn’t going to let Saugus come up short again

Posted: June 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Saugus senior Jenna Kelly led the Centurions to their first Foothill League title since 2004 and posted big numbers while doing so.

 

For three years, Saugus shortstop Jenna Kelly watched other teams ascend to the top of the Foothill League standings.

Kelly experienced the weight of high expectations and watched her team fall short of them.

Not this year.

Not in her senior year.

She had one season left to win a league title, and a .481 batting average, 12 home runs, 35 RBIs and 27 runs later, Kelly made sure her team delivered.

Each of those numbers was near the top of the league, and behind Kelly’s leadership, the senior-laden Centurions earned their first Foothill League championship since sharing it with Hart and Valencia in 2004, and their first outright title since 1999.

First, Kelly earned Foothill League Player of the Year honors, and now she is the The Signal’s 2011 All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year.

In league play alone, Kelly hit .543 with 15 RBIs, 12 runs and five home runs.

She hit a pair of homers in an 11-0 win over Canyon on April 19, and hit safely in every league game.

In all, Kelly ended the season on a 12-game hitting streak.

That level of offense was the missing piece.

Eight Centurions were four-year varsity players, but their careers had featured mixed results.

Kelly’s offensive career year helped turn the page from a team with potential to a team with a title.

Individually, she brought home a title of her own during preleague play.

In March at the Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz., Kelly drilled 24 home runs to win the home run derby.

Saugus head coach Julie Watson said the event helped bring the entire team together.

It’s also served as a turning point for Kelly as she grew from a defensive standout to an all-around star in the Foothill League.

The University of North Carolina-bound infielder was regarded highly around the league for her athleticism and give-it-all style of defense.

Kelly can’t remember a ground ball that she didn’t attack with 100 percent effort.

Her final season with the Centurions mirrored that sentiment, ending her championship drought — and the drought for Saugus.

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