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Softball Player of the Year: TJ's Kiyohara is the complete package
Hannah Kiyohara can pretty much do it all on the softball field.
The Thomas Jefferson High School junior shortstop can hit, field and is a terror on the base paths. About the only thing Kiyohara can’t do is pitch.
“I’ve actually never pitched a day,” Kiyohara said with a laugh. “I’ve just always played shortstop since I can remember.”
But Kiyohara has proved during her three-year career at TJ that she is one of the best all-around infielders around and is the Mirror’s 2009 All-City Fastpitch Player of the Year.
“Hannah Kiyohara is the real deal,” said TJ head coach Chad Fahnlander. “She flat out won us numerous games this year with her versatility and work ethic.”
Kiyohara led the Thomas Jefferson softball team to the school’s second appearance at the Class 4A State Fastpitch Tournament in the last three years. Jefferson finished 12-4 in the SPSL North, which was good for third place in the rugged league, and an 18-8 record overall. The Raiders qualified for state after winning three-straight loser-out games at the West Central District Tournament.
At state, Jefferson finished 1-2, with their lone win coming in the bottom of the seventh inning against Kamiakin.
“This year’s team was so mentally tough,” Kiyohara said. “We worked so hard in practice.”
Kiyohara had a very impressive season at the plate for the Raiders. The junior led TJ in basically every offensive category during the regular season, which is impressive enough. But Kiyohara did it while hitting mostly from the leadoff position.
Kiyohara finished with a .508 batting average, 33 hits, two triples, one home run, scored 21 times, knocked in 22 runs and stole eight bases — all of which led the Raiders. She also led the SPSL North Division with 14 runs scored and a .744 slugging percentage.
But offense isn’t the only thing that Kiyohara can do on the softball field. She is also one of the best defensive shortstops around and gets to balls that other players can’t.
“I would describe myself as a player that just always goes in there and gets the job done,” Kiyohara said. “I’m not flashy or anything like that. But I make a lot of plays that other people don’t.”
Despite still having another year at Jefferson, Kiyohara already knows where she will be playing softball in college. She made a verbal commitment earlier this year to the University of Louisville. The Cardinals finished the 2009 season with a 48-11 before losing at the NCAA regionals. Kiyohara will sign a national letter of intent during the early-signing period in November.
Kiyohara visited the Louisville campus last summer while her summer league team, the Washington Sidewinders, were in Kentucky playing at a national tournament.
“I was thinking that I didn’t really want to go there,” Kiyohara said. “But I really fell in love. Someone told me that you are going to know where you want to go right away and I did. I was kind of looking to get away from home and experience some new things.”
Kiyohara also visited Portland State and Seattle University, but hasn’t wavered in her commitment to play at Louisville.
“People here were thinking that I was crazy when I told them I was going there,” Kiyohara said. “I verballed pretty early compared to other people, so I didn’t get a chance to see a lot of the other schools.”