It’s hurricane season now in the southeastern United States, but for one Verona middle-schooler it’s hurricane season almost 11 months a year. Kelsey Oh plays for the Hudson Valley Hurricanes, a fastpitch softball team based in Rockland County, New York, that plays year-round. And yes, we do mean fast: Oh’s throws have been clocked at 58 mph.
Oh, who will enter the 7th grade at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School in the fall, started as so many Verona girls do, in the T-ball program with the Verona Baseball & Softball League. She played baseball through second grade, made the switch to softball, and when it became apparent that she had more than a bit of skill in the sport, her dad Ken Oh went looking for a travel team. She played for a season with the Fairfield Tsunami and then made her way to the Hurricanes. This past July 24, she did what many ball players–in and out of the pros–only dream about: She pitched a perfect game, and did it at the Softball Nationals in North Carolina, no less, with all eyes on her.
“I knew that I was doing good, but I didn’t know that I was pitching a perfect game,” says Oh. “I think my coach didn’t tell me so I wouldn’t mess up at the end. I’ve had no hitters, but not a perfect game,” she adds. “A perfect game is so much better.”
It was hardly an accident. Oh plays softball just about every weekend from New Jersey to Connecticut and works on her pitching three or four days a week back in Verona, with her dad and with pitching coaches. She also works on her batting and fielding, since when she’s not on the mound, she plays first, third and outfield. Oh played up on a 12U team last season, and this fall will moving into an even more demanding group–a 14U team. The Hurricanes program, which this year sent two players to the Little League World Series in Oregon, goes through 18U.
“It takes a lot for a 12-year-old to do it,” says her mother, Jennifer Giordano. “But she’s mature enough to know that she has to put work into it.” Oh, an honor roll student, tackles her homework immediately upon getting home, and doesn’t watch television during the week. But she does make time for her friends and, in winter, will also take in a bit of Recreation Department basketball.
Ask Oh what her softball future holds and she gives a confident answer. “I see myself going far,” she says. “I would love to go to college for softball. And hopefully they’ll put softball back in the Olympics.”
Photos courtesy Mico Guevarra.
She’s a great pitcher – and a great kid. Go, Kelsey, go!