Believe it

Published 9:30 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

The letters “BIY” are inscribed onto Kala Moore’s glove.

They stand for “Believe In Yourself,” which Moore said she struggles with sometimes as a Troy softball player. But then how would you explain her ascension from an unrecruited player at Verbena High School to a stalwart for a Division IA team?

It began with Moore’s showing at a camp at Troy in December 2005, where coach Melanie Davis recognized Moore’s potential.

“She never saw me hit or field,” Moore said. “She just saw me run and said I could play.”

Moore’s speed has indeed been her biggest asset, but she had to overcome a couple of surprises before blossoming into a complete player as a junior.

Upon arriving at Troy, Moore expected to maybe contribute as a pinch runner, so she was surprised to learn before her first game that Davis’ plan was for Moore to be the starting shortstop.

Moore was also asked to hit left-handed, though she had never done so in her 13-year softball career. Davis wanted Moore to slap at and make contact with the ball so she could then take advantage of her speed from the left side of the plate and beat out throws to first base.

Moore struggled her first season, hitting ninth with a .196 average. But Moore improved her average to .229 for the 2008 season and, as a leadoff hitter in 2009, compiled a .356 average, best on the team.

“This year was my most successful year with it,” Moore said. “Now, I wouldn’t want to hit right handed.”

Not that she hasn’t, though. Moore said she has hit right handed during batting practice to give an opposing coach the impression she was a power hitter and even tried her old side of the plate for one at-bat this past season—but struck out.

But Moore’s speed has been consistent. She once stole second base, third base and home plate in one trip around the bases at UAB in 2008. In fact, Moore, a rising senior, needs only three more stolen bases to break the Troy career record of 89. She’s been caught stealing only nine times in three seasons.

And the recognition has rolled in. Moore was named a second-team all-Sun Belt Conference player and to the All-Region team as decided by the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association. Moore, a math major, was also named to the ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District team with a 3.6 GPA.

With a season still left to play, Moore’s teammates and coaches have plenty of reason to believe Moore can help carry the Trojans to an NCAA tournament appearance.