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Around the Diamond with Kayla McCoy

KAYLA MCCOY Smithtown West, SS/1B, Sr. The League

Smithtown West, SS/1B, Sr.
The League III Player of the Year also took home second-team All-Long Island honors in 2012. Committed to LIU Post. (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Welcome to another installment of Around the Diamond.  Each week we’ll sit down with a local high school softball player and ask her a series of questions…some that relate to softball, some that don’t, and some that may even be slightly embarrassing.

If you'd like to be featured, e-mail me at michael.gavin@newsday.com, or message me on Twitter at @mgavinjr, or just come talk to me at a game. 

This week we feature Smithtown West senior Kayla McCoy, a second-team All-Long Islander and the League III player of the year last season.  She’s a catalyst atop the lineup for the Bulls, she’s a smooth fielder with tremendous range whether at short or first base, and as you’ll soon find out, she’s craving some ice cream.

Kayla McCoy now takes us Around the Diamond…

Brag about yourself, what do you do well on the field and at the plate? “I feel that my biggest strengths in the field are turning double plays and communicating with my teammates. My biggest strengths at the plate are staying patient and keeping a positive mindset during my at-bat.”

What's the best part of being a shortstop? “There is no down time. I love that the shortstop is able to take charge and control a lot of things that go on in the infield.”

What happened in your first varsity at-bat? “I can't say I remember my first varsity at-bat in eighth grade, but I will never forget in my first game. It was against Centereach, the winning run was on third base with two outs and I was so nervous. Coach Miller pulled me aside and calmed me down. After that, I got up and drove a single to right-center field and we won. My first varsity game is definitely one I'll never forget.”

Would you rather hit a walk-off home run or make a diving stop with the tying run on third to end the game? “I would rather make a diving stop…Any time I can help out the pitcher with some defense is something I will never pass up. Our pitchers work very hard and they deserve a diving catch to end the game.”

What's the biggest hit of your career? “My game winning home run against Centereachin 2011. I remember just looking for a pitch that I could hit hard, and when I looked up after I finished my swing, the ball was headed deep. When I rounded first, I couldn't believe I had just hit a home run and helped my team get a nice win that day. That hit is the one that really sticks out in my mind.”

Who's the most intimidating pitcher you've faced in high school softball? ”Definitely Megan Sweezy from East Islip. I played her my eighth grade year in 2009, and I remember at that point in time she was probably the fastest and tallest pitcher I have ever seen. As a 14-year-old, I can definitely say I was a little intimidated in the batters box.”

What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod? “The most embarrassing song on my iPod is ‘Aaron's Party’ by Aaron Carter.”

What's something your teammates would be surprised to learn about you? “That before every game I still get huge butterflies in my stomach, the same feeling I felt in my rookie season with the team.”

Who’s your funniest teammate? “Gianna Gatto. Her and I always have a fun time cracking jokes back and forth.”

Who’s your shyest teammate? “Kim Plaspohl. She's very soft spoken and I can honestly say she's one of the kindest girls I have ever met.”

Who’s your most competitive teammate? “Melissa Koster. When it comes to game time, she is always locked in and focused on the task at hand. She's always ready for anything the opposing team throws at her.”

What are your pregame rituals or superstitions? “Drinking four bottles of water, putting on eye black the same exact way, and kissing my bat before the game.”

What are some of the best nicknames for players on your team? ”My teammates and I have new nicknames everyday, complements of Coach Miller….My favorite nickname he has is for Amelia Farello, he calls her ‘La Famiglia.’

What's your most embarrassing on-field moment? “When I dove for a ball up the middle and my pants unbuttoned. Not only did they unbutton, but I also couldn’t get them to snap back on because dirt was jammed in the buttons. So we had to stop the game, get the dirt out, and bring attention to the fact that my pants wouldn't button. It was funny but a little embarrassing too!”

What’s your favorite TV show? “‘Dexter.’”

If you were the coach of your team for a day, what would you do? “I would let the team play games like European handball, Rock Tree Bridge, Zip Zap, 21 outs, and mat ball. After practice I'd treat the team to ice cream…hint hint Coach!"

If you were President for a day, what would you do? “I would probably sit back, have fun and enjoy it. I'd like to ride on the private jet and hang out in the White House.”

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be? “If I could have dinner with any three people it would be Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, and Ellen DeGeneres because they're extremely funny.”