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West Ranch's Kylie Sorenson: Responsible party

Wildcats junior is mature beyond her years — and a big reason for West Ranch’s success

Posted: April 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch’s Kylie Sorenson is verbally committed to Stanford, where she’ll likely be among the most mature players on the team even as a freshman.

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West Ranch shortstop Kylie Sorenson has wanted to play softball at Stanford University nearly her entire life.

So when she found out scouts from the prestigious college had just watched her play for her travel ball team the summer after freshman year, naturally, she got a little nervous.

She had popped up at the plate and didn’t have as much as a grounder hit to her in the field — needless to say, it was an underwhelming performance.

Or so you’d think.

Turns out, the Cardinal coaches were impressed with her work ethic — she was standing on second base when her pop-up was caught by the defense.

Now a junior, Sorenson has been verbally committed to play softball at Stanford since Sept. 2010.

“(West Ranch head coach Bob Shults) was always telling me that’s what coaches are looking for,” Sorenson says. “They don’t want to see how you do when you succeed, but how you handle things when you fail, and that’s always stuck with me ... It’s nice to know that’s what they saw in me.”

It was an example that epitomizes who Sorenson is, and what she stands for.

Goal-oriented, uber-motivated and always willing to give something her all, Sorenson has shown an ability to thrive on responsibility.

“She has a drive that is, it’s indescribable,” says her father, Skip. “She’s never satisfied. She’s always wanted to tweak this or that. She has worked very hard for what she’s done, both athletically and scholastically.”

Her accomplishments — and the hard work it took to achieve them — extend far beyond the diamond.

The 17-year-old is enrolled in four AP classes, and carries a 4.6 GPA.

And while she can usually be found on the practice field, it’s far from her only priority.

Sorenson looks after her twin 6-year-old sisters when her parents are working, often taking them to softball practice, or having them accompany her to West Ranch practices. She also participates in softball clinics with her SoCal Choppers club team teaching younger girls how to play the game.

Needless to say, free time isn’t exactly common for Sorenson. And when she does have it, she’s usually just trying to relax.

“A lot of people say, ‘You should come out and hang out with us more, why don’t you go out more?’” she says. “But it’s just hard for them to understand, I think. My parents both work. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t resent my parents. And my two twin sisters, they’re 6, they’re the (most fun), (most awesome), best things in the world.”

That motherly demeanor has helped Sorenson on the field as well, where she is described by Shults as an on-the-field coach.

“It’s huge having her and (teammate Janelle) Lindvall, they’re like coaches out there,” Shults says. “She’s always working with the players in the infield. It’s like having another coach out there.”

There was a time, though, when Sorenson was the one that needed coaching.

Prior to high school, Sorenson was more of a contact hitter who rarely hit for power, and that was something she desperately wanted to change.

“I think I’ve come really far, actually,” she says. “Thinking back as an eighth-grader, I was this skinny, little, barely-getting-by hitter. I didn’t start at a position. I switched off with another girl.”

So when she decided she wanted to play softball for Shults, who was also her club coach, at West Ranch, she did what she does best — dedicated herself to doing whatever it took to succeed.

She started working with Shults and her current Choppers coaches Dean and Gary Fausett to improve her hitting.

“I was one of those hitters that had ground balls or dinkers up the middle,” she says. “But working with Bob and Dean Fausett, my hitting coach, ever since I was a freshman I told him more than anything I was someone who wanted to have power.”

And as usual, Sorenson got what she wanted.

“I don’t know about other people that are satisfied having things handed to them,” she says. “But at the end of the day ... I feel like I did something worth something. It wasn’t just another day. I like the things that push me. It feels good.”

Only a few years removed from being that hitter that desperately wanted to hit for power, Sorenson is now one of the most productive players in the Foothill League this season, and leads the Wildcats in RBIs (31), hits (33) and home runs (six).

And now, with West Ranch sitting in a second-place tie and facing first-place Saugus today, the Wildcats are in possibly their best position in school history to succeed as a team.

“I want to be the first team in West Ranch to win league,” Sorenson says. “The pressure, I don’t feel the pressure. Yes, I think about it outside, but once the game starts I’m here for these other 13 girls. And I want to win it for them and for me so we can say we were the first team to win for West Ranch. The pressure’s more of a motivation.”

When push comes to shove, there’s no one the Wildcats would rather have leading the way.

“I think she’s probably the smartest hitter in the league,” Shults says. “You have Lindvall, who’s one of the most feared hitters. At Hart, you have Tracy (Chandless). But when the game’s on the line, I’ll take Sorenson over anybody in the league if I’ve got the game on the line and I want to win.”

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