DEARBORN, Mo. — North Platte senior Kaycee Hodgson had a bit of nerves after verbally committing to play softball Missouri Southern early last fall. A coaching change at the Joplin, Mo. school left a few questions in the standout shortstop’s mind. “It was stressful because the coach that got me (to commit), he was done coaching,” Hodgson said. “We got a new coach, and she’s done really well, is what I hear, from the girls. The girls were really comforting and the college campus was really beautiful. It took my breath away.”
Hodgson erased any doubt about her decision, signing her national letter of intent to play at Missouri Southern during a ceremony held Monday, Nov. 16 at North Platte High School. North Platte went 90-13 and made two trips to the playoffs during Hodgson’s four-year tenure with the Panthers. She also played summer fastpitch for the Kansas City Monarchs travelling team.
“As long as I work hard and do what the coaches ask for I can help on the field (right away),” Hodgson said. “Signing day is making my dreams closer to reality.”
Hodgson hit a career best .506 this past fall, collecting 43 hits in 85 at bats while adding 17 walks to produce a .577 on base percentage. Her power numbers were even more spectacular earning spots on the state’s all-time top-10 lists in extra base hits (29, fourth all-time) total bases (101, seventh) and home runs (12, 10th).
Hodgson also led North Platte with 49 RBIs. She was the only player to record multiple hits in the Panthers Class 2 sectional loss at Sherwood in October.
North Platte finished 25-3 this season and earned a share of a second consecutive KCI Conference championship. The Panthers reached the Class 2 state semifinals in 2014 with Hodgson at shortstop, finishing fourth.