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Coleman leaves legacy for Pace softball

Brian Achatz
Pensacola News Journal

It’s challenging to find a student-athlete who put in more work than Pace’s Kennedy Coleman through her senior year.

Unfortunately, the senior’s season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coleman was leading the Patriots through nine games with eight RBIs and four doubles. She had a .310 batting average with one home run.

Coleman was a four-year varsity starter and a significant leader as a junior and senior. She shined just as brightly off the field, and finished with a 4.7 GPA while being involved in seven different clubs and organizations.

“Kennedy has always stood out as special; she’s a player I have the utmost respect for,” Pace head coach Enrique Eligio said. “She never misses a workout and has always been a leader.”

This year had the makings for a breakthrough season for Coleman and the Patriots, which ranked No. 9 in the state in Class 5A, according to MaxPreps.

“I thought we had a chance to go far this year,” Coleman said. “I thought we were pitching really well and starting to hit a lot better. I felt like I was a bit of a leader last year but knew I had to step up and do my best to lead on and off the field this year.”

Pace’s final game was a win March 13 against Gulf Breeze. The Patriots trailed for six innings before rallying with their final three outs to score 10 runs and win the game.

Emotions ran high during the comeback, much as they did before the game started.

“I talked to the girls before the game, and at about 4:00 they knew the season would be suspended after that night’s game and there was a chance their season could be done,” Eligio said. “They cried from about 4:30-5:00. But, I think by the time first pitch got there, they were ready to give it everything they had.”

Coleman said: “We always played hard, but the rest of the seniors and I kind of had a feeling that would be our last game. We kept pushing back in that game and played extremely hard and I think we will always remember it.”

Though it stung having her season come to an unexpected conclusion, Coleman found remedy in knowing it wouldn’t be the final game of her softball career.

She is signed to play at the NCAA Division II level at the Auburn University at Montgomery, where she has been recruited to play third and first base.

Coleman has heavy interest in a career in sports medicine or as a pediatrician and plans to major in premedical biology with the goal of attending medical school.

“I think the best memories from Pace that I will always remember are the times I spent with my teammates,” Coleman said. “The trips we took for softball tournaments were always a lot of fun. We didn’t get to travel for tournaments too often, so when we did, we made sure to make the most of them.”

Brian Achatz can be reached at bachatz@pnj.com