Leader Female AOY: BC’s Wilbur brings it on mound, plate, court

Published 8:19 am Friday, June 9, 2017

With her long-built frame and always wearing a big smile and constantly joking around and lifting her teammates up, there is nothing that intimidating looking about Bridge City Lady Cardinal senior to-be Kassidy Wilbur.

However, don’t tell that to opponents of hers’ on the softball diamond along with the basketball courts. They have found out the hard way.

Wilbur has simply been dominant, especially on the mound and at the plate. She has also been one of the scoring leaders for a basketball program that has played in the playoffs two out of the last three years and she is tenacious on defense.

For her outstanding run, not only this year but for the past three, Wilbur has been named the 2017 Orange Leader Female Athlete of the Year.

“I like to play hard and compete but I also like to have a lot of fun doing it,” said Wilbur. “I like to get my teammates involved in the game and enjoy it as much as I do.”

Wilbur has verbally committed to play softball at Stephen F. Austin University. She plays softball year-around, not only with the Lady Cardinals but with her elite team out of Houston as well.

There is no question, Wilbur stays busy for sure. Her summer schedule this year proves she will certainly be hopping.

“We’re fixing to play in Conroe then we’ll be off to Kansas City and then off a week,” said Wilbur. “After that, we’ll make a trip to Colorado to play in a tournament to see who will qualify for a huge tournament in California. I’ll probably get a little rest a couple weeks before school starts.”

Since Wilbur has joined the fray, the Lady Cardinal softball program has certainly been superb.

In her three years, Wilbur has been part of a program that has sported a 83-12 record and three straight district titles, including a 32-2 mark in district play.

The Lady Cardinals made it all the way to the Class 4A Region III semifinals this past season with a young team, led by head coach Kayla Gallardo.

“We’ve had a good run so far and I’ve been fortunate enough to have some excellent teammates going back to my freshman year when the older girls really accepted me,” said Wilbur. “We’ve had some good seasons but we’re still looking for that ultimate goal and that’s to get to the State Tournament and win it.”

Wilbur easily captured the Most Valuable Player honors on the All-Orange Leader Softball Team for the third straight season as she led the Lady Cardinals to a 28-6-1 mark, another District 22-4A title with a 9-1 mark and a trip all the way to the 4A Region III semifinals.

“We had a great season, one that a lot of people were not expecting because we were so young,” said Wilbur. “We only had three seniors this year and we’ll miss them, but we have so many people back and are looking for big things next year.”

Wilbur certainly has some other memories throughout the season, including bouncing back to beat Silsbee in the second half of District 22-4A play. Silsbee had defeated the Lady Cardinals a couple times early in the season.

“Winning at Silsbee was so huge for us and gave us a whole lot of confidence,” said Wilbur. “Getting past LC-M in district twice in close games was big too. LC-M has such a good team and are young like us. We were both young but we both made the regional semifinals this year so next season should be something.”

The Lady Cardinals got past Jasper, Liberty and Hardin-Jefferson in the first three rounds of the playoffs before falling to a stout Lorena team in three games in the regional semifinals.

However, one big highlight through the playoff run, Wilbur will remember forever.

“I’ll always remember before we played H-J that we went to Petco as a team and adopted a hamster and we named him Gerald and we all love it,” said Wilbur. “We just love to have fun with it and go out and play relaxed. We’re all keeping up with Gerald still, he hangs out at Kyndall Harrison’s house these days.”

In her junior campaign Wilbur was dominant both on the mound and at the plate.

Wilbur notched a 20-3 record on the mound with a earned run average of 0.57. She struck out 237 batters in 123 innings of work and allowed a mere 50 hits.

At the plate, she powered her way to a .435 batting average with nine home runs and 31 runs batted in. That was despite not seeing a great deal of good pitches due to opposing pitchers trying to pitch around her or not giving her anything “fat.”

As a sophomore in 2016, the Lady Cardinals went 29-4 and a perfect 12-0 in district play to advance to the area round of the postseason.

Wilbur certainly got it done then as well, not only on the hill but at the plate as well.

Wilbur notched a 20-3 mark on the mound. She posted a earned run average of 1.55 and had 208 strikeouts in 135 innings of work.

She did plenty of damage at the plate as she was one of the top hitters in the state. She batted a whopping .479 with 12 home runs and 44 runs batted in and also had 16 doubles.

She picked up Offensive Player of the Year honors and the Orange Leader MVP as a freshman as she helped power the Lady Cardinals to a 26-7 mark and a 11-1 district title run and a trip to the 4A Region III quarterfinals where they fell to eventual state champion Huffman.

In basketball, Wilbur came off the bench for a team that reached the regionals quarterfinals in 2015 and found herself back in the playoffs again this year as the Lady Cardinals struggled early in the season but had a strong district finish to make the postseason.

Wilbur averaged close to 15 points a game, was a big rebounder and usually guarded the opposing teams’ best player as she piled up a slew of steals throughout the season.

“We got better as the season went along with a new system,” said Wilbur. ‘We’ve had three head coaches in three seasons but Coach (JoLee) Kolander is coming back next year, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Basketball does give Wilbur a slight breathe of fresh air from softball.

“I do play softball year-around but basketball gives me a little break from it and it definitely helps keep me in shape with all the running that we do,” said Wilbur.

Wilbur will continue to hone her talents with the help of her parents Denise and Thomas.

“Those two means so much too me, it’s beyond words,” said Wilbur. “Mom, she’s the ‘loud’ one and pushes me hard. She still catches me just about every day and I’ve always loved that. Her and I, we can get wound up after games, especially if there is a tough loss involved. Dad, we like calling him “Mr. Chill.” Nothing phases him, yet he’s a huge fan. He’s our rock, when we come home and are upset, he usually calms us down and cooks a little something for us.”

Stay tune Orange County fans and just “chill” another year of Miss Wilbur is coming.