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Centerfielder Landers helped lead Redskins to another state title

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By Nick Brockman

Putnam Review

CHRIS DORST | Gazette-Mail Hurricane Coach Josh Caldwell talks strategy to base runner Kiersten Landers on third base during a game this past season. Landers, who has already verbally committed to play at Florida State, played a big role leading the Redskins to their fourth state title in five seasons after transferring from South Charleston last summer.

Hurricane again captured the Class AAA softball state championship this season for the fourth time in five years, with junior standout Kiersten Landers among the new class of Redskins champions.

Landers, a two-time Class AAA first-team All-State player with South Charleston, transferred following her sophomore season to Hurricane, where she continued to provide high caliber results as the team’s lead-off hitting center fielder.

“She just blended in and fit in with our team from the get-go, from the beginning,” Redskins coach Josh Caldwell said. “She’s an incredible athlete, maybe one of the best in the state. She really jump-starts our offense in so many ways and she can do so many things offensively, from getting on base to hitting for power to stealing bases. She makes a lot of things happen.”

A left-handed hitter, Landers said she enjoys the advantage starting her at-bat one step closer to first base. That, combined with her natural speed and continued improvement in slap-hitting, provides her with a multitude of offensive skills.

“It helps a lot,” Landers said. “I just learned to slap the summer of my freshman year. I’ve come a long way and I’ve had a lot of help with my hitting coaches. Josh, he’ll always give me extra batting practice and [assistant coach] Meghan [Stevens] always helps me a lot, and they tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I need to correct.”

Once Landers reaches base, it doesn’t take much to bring her around to score, Caldwell said.

“There have been many times we score her without a hit,” he said. “She got on with her speed, steal a base, move her over on a ground ball. She can score in so many ways. She’s an amazing talent and that speed is pretty unparalleled. She can score at any time, if she’s on base.”

Defensively, Landers makes a great impact, too, with her quickness.

“She’s an incredible outfielder,” Caldwell said. “She can play a lot of different positions, but you hate to not have her out there in the outfield. She just has so much range and a great arm.”

With such speed and skills, Landers has garnered plenty of attention from colleges, but she made her decision to verbally commit to Florida State as a freshman.

“The recruiting process is very difficult and stressful,” Landers said. “With softball, a lot of girls are committing eighth- and ninth- and 10th-grade year, so you have to make your decision early, but I’m very glad with my decision.”

Before joining the Seminoles, though, Landers will continue to hone her skills and lead the Redskins, Caldwell said, and perhaps another state title is within reach next season.

“She leads by example by playing hard, giving everything she has at all times,” he said. “She’ll continue to strive to get better. She’s a competitor who wants to be good, so she’s always going to look to improve.”


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