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Freshman Kildow piling up Ks for Gravette

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Photographs by Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/RANDY MOLL

Cally Kildow of Gravette pitched a perfect game and struck out 13 during a win over Huntsville. Kildow, a freshman, has already committed to the Arkansas women's softball team.

GRAVETTE -- The Arkansas women's softball team has a long wait after recently receiving a verbal commitment from a promising young star.

Cally Kildow of Gravette is only a freshman in high school. That's bad news for opponents of the Lady Lions, but good news for Gravette coach Taos Jones.

At a glance

Cally Kildow

SCHOOL Gravette

CLASS Freshman

HEIGHT 5-6

NOTABLE Pitched a perfect game and struck out 13 during an 11-0 victory at Huntsville. … Has a 9-1 record as a pitcher and leads the team with a .463 batting average, five doubles, four triples and 29 RBIs. … A starting guard on the Gravette basketball team and a sprinter on the Gravette track and field team when she’s not playing softball. … Committed earlier this month to the Arkansas women’s softball team.

"We were chomping at the bit to get her here for varsity, and she's certainly a difference-maker on a team with a good group of young kids," Gravette coach Taos Jones said. "I'm an Arkansas alum and a Hog fan and I'll get to go watch her play some day. But we have her for three more years and I'm certainly happy about that."

Kildow has been dominant as a freshman with a 9-1 record and a 0.69 earned run average. Huntsville got an eyeful of the young star when she pitched a perfect game and struck out 13 of the 18 batters she faced. Kildow added two hits and two RBIs in the 11-0 victory for the Lady Lions.

"She put on a great performance," Huntsville coach Greg Sone said. "She had great control with good movement on her fastball. She's very impressive, especially for a freshman."

Kildow entered the weekend with 201 strikeouts and only 20 walks allowed in 111 innings.

"I have a curve ball and a rise ball that I like to throw a lot," said Kildow, who is also hitting .463 at the plate. "Those are my strikeout pitches. But, as a pitcher, it doesn't matter how many pitches you throw. It's a matter of having a couple of really good ones that sets you apart."

Kildow didn't arrive at Gravette straight off the farm. Her mother, Jill Kildow, was a standout athlete in high school, and Cally has plenty of experience with travel teams, where the competition is better than the high school level. She'll play this summer for a team in Kansas City, Mo., and sharpen her skills against elite competition throughout the country.

"She's played against some of the elite teams in the United States, so I'm not surprised she doesn't get shaken by anything around here," Jones said. "She has a variety of pitches and she can locate. As a coach, that's most important. Every high school kid in the state has a hole in their swing and we look to exploit that. She can mix up her pitches and still hit that spot."

Kildow struck out 12 during a 16-0 victory over Berryville on Friday. Her only loss in the circle came in a 5-0 defeat to Cabot in the finals of the Farmington/Fayetteville Invitational on March 19. Still, Cabot coach Chris Cope was impressed with Kildow, who threw 303 pitches in five games during the tournament.

"Their pitcher, she mixes it up real good and got us to chase some balls," Cope said after the game. "I think we got her when she was tired after pitching two games in a row, so we got lucky on that one."

Kildow is a 4.0 student who still finds time to play other sports besides softball. She's a starting guard on the Gravette basketball team and competes in the sprints on the track and field squad when she's not with her softball team.

"Stay on top of it," Kildow said of her time management. "Do your homework before the game or on the bus."

Kildow is confident Gravette (15-6, 10-1 conference) is good enough to make a run in postseason play. She's also sure her early commitment to Arkansas will enable her to focus more on games involving the Lady lions.

"I've always wanted to be a Razorback, and that's going to happen," said Kildow, who took a recruiting visit to Arkansas during basketball season. "They recruited me as a pitcher but said I'll get a chance to play every day as a middle infielder or in the outfield. It's still a long ways off, but I'm not going to change my mind about my commitment. I'm going to be a Razorback."

Sports on 04/16/2017

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