By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — Not many softball players get to throw out the first pitch at a Kannapolis Cannon Ballers game, but A.L. Brown graduate Kaylyn Belfield has been pretty special for a while.
Not surprisingly, she threw a strike.
One of Belfield’s many claims to fame is being the school’s first female athlete to attain “Ultimate Barbarian” status. That level of performance was based partly on Belfield being able to excel in the weight room, but it also means she can run. She credits A.L. Brown coach Barry Merritt with pushing her to achieve her goals.
The Belfields relocated from Virginia to Kannapolis five years ago.
Kaylyn’s father, Philip, is a long-time coach and had his daughter playing against high-level competition by the time she was 9. She has continued to work at softball year-round with passion and purpose. A.L. Brown softball coach Scott Rodgers has high praise for her work ethic.
Belfield was committed early to N.C. State, but a coaching change there led to her recruiting being reopened. She signed with Lipscomb University, a Division I school in Nashville, Tenn., which has a stable, successful program, had the values and principles she was looking for and offered a strong biology program. Her preferred major is wildlife biology, so she may wind up saving giraffes and studying zebras after she’s through hitting softballs.
She enjoyed a monumental senior year for the Wonders, who were in their first season in a challenging 4A league that included — Mooresville, Lake Norman and Hickory Ridge — three of the state’s best.
Belfield handled that challenge, putting up some crazy numbers, including a .642 batting average. In a 25-game season, she had 52 hits, scored 42 runs and stole 32 bases.
She led the Wonders to a 9-6 upset of Mooresville in a Greater Metro Conference Tournament game, getting on base five straight times as the lead-off hitter and scoring three runs.
Belfield is a lefty hitter who can slap or drive the ball. Her skills combined with excellent grades made her recruitable.
She played shortstop for A.L. Brown, as the Wonders’ best option, but she will likely be a center fielder in college. That’s her best position.
Belfield has gotten a strong level of recognition recently. She has been named a first team All-America by Extra Inning.
Last weekend she helped her 18U Stars National team — her father is one of the coaches — win the Junior Olympic Cup at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma.