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McKinney Boyd senior Kinsey Kackley hopes to one day become a high school coach.

A freak accident cost McKinney Boyd senior Kinsey Kackley her junior season with the Lady Broncos’ softball team. But through a trying recovery from a torn ACL, one of the state’s premier pitchers has not only picked up where she left off but laid a foundation for her future once she graduates high school.

One pivotal step in that process came on Aug. 18 when Kackley verbally committed to The University of Louisiana at Monroe. There, she intends to major in education with hopes of teaching math and becoming a high school coach.

Although Kackley was unable to command the circle for the Lady Broncos during their short-lived 2020 campaign, the pitcher was able to help the team out in other ways.

“It was tough, but it also put things in perspective because I do want to become a coach someday,” Kackley said. “It helped me learn that I can still give my knowledge to the game and work on that while helping other people.”

Kackley got a chance to test those waters while working with her teammates, offering instruction and encouragement to help Boyd navigate its season. Kackley credited longtime teammate Anissa Lechner, who recently graduated, for helping inspire her to take a more proactive approach.

“[Lechner] was one of those people who would help everybody and I saw that my freshman and sophomore years,” Kackley said. “I just wanted to take on what she was doing and help out everybody else as much as I could do.

“It was pretty cool — just seeing how well people do with the changes that you’re suggesting.”

All the while, Kackley was making gains in her rehab. She said she was released in April, not long after the UIL softball season had shut down, and continued to work out with her physical therapist in hopes of returning to normal.

When softball’s club season began during the summer, despite some initial reluctance as to how she’d perform, Kackley was in uniform with her Black Widows club team and promptly picking up where she left off.

“We finally hit the summer and it was probably the best two months I’ve played, to be honest,” Kackley said. “It was a really fun summer and I did a lot better than I thought I was going to. I didn’t think I’d be where I was before, but I feel like I pretty much got back on track.”

Prior to her injury, Kackley had submitted a sophomore season that drew national acclaim — striking out a staggering 497 batters and guiding the Lady Broncos to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. She averaged nearly 16 strikeouts per seven innings and posted a 0.96 ERA.

Along the way, Kackley had to weigh a pivotal decision on her future following high school. That road led the pitcher to Louisiana-Monroe, which she said provided the best fit for she wanted academically and for her softball career. The recruiting process was no doubt different given the pandemic, but one Kackley was excited to at last make final.

“I got to go and do an academic tour and see the academic side of campus. Due to COVID, we weren’t able to do anything with athletics,” Kackley said. “I got to see the academic side of everything and that put everything in perspective of this is where I need to be. I was also able to communicate with the coaches over the summer and absolutely loved what they were offering.”

Attending Louisiana-Monroe will also allow Kackley to live closer to some relatives in Louisiana while also being somewhat close to McKinney.

Beforehand, the pitcher looks to parlay her encouraging summer into a strong senior season as she retakes the reins for the Lady Broncos. Boyd mustered just a 5-16 record with Kackley sidelined last season, but the influx of some promising underclassmen as well as the return of the team’s game-changing ace should inspire hope as the program makes the move to District 5-6A. 

“I’m excited for this team. We have a bunch of freshmen and it’s going to be fun,” Kackley said. “I think we can give people a run for their money this year.”

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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