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Story Archives: Partridge gets inspiration from dad
|Partridge gets inspiration from dad|
Vidalia High senior third baseman Kelsee Partridge will never forget that fateful day in August of 2005 when she learned her father, Sgt. Todd Partridge, was killed when a bomb exploded near the vehicle he was driving in Iraq.
"I remember it like yesterday," Partridge said. "I walked through the door and my mom (Rhonda) told me the news. I had a lot of stuff racing through my head. But I just wanted to get on the softball field. Softball is what me and him shared together. I dedicate each game to him. He always taught me to never give up."
Partridge has certainly honored her father with her play on the field.
As a junior last year, Partridge led the Lady Vikings with a .407 batting average with two home runs, 12 doubles and three triples, while batting in 25 runs.
"As good a softball player Kelsee is, her personality outshines all of that," said Vidalia High softball coach Gary Paul Parnham. "She has overcome a lot. Kelsee is a tremendous asset to our school and softball team."
But the Lady Vikings struggled through the season, going 9-17 overall and 1-9 in rugged District 3-3A.
"We have a lot of potential and a lot of talent this year," Partridge said. "There are a lot of freshmen with so much talent. I think we can go far if we work hard. We can possibly win district."
Partridge and her family moved to Pennsylvania when she was in the eighth grade. They returned to Vidalia during Partridge's junior year.
"My mom really missed her family," Partridge said of her mom, a 1990 graduate of Vidalia High School.
The Viking senior also missed her hometown. As a matter of fact, she turned down requests to attend Trinity and Adams Christian.
"Vidalia is my hometown and moving away was so hard," she said. "Vidalia is where I grew up and I want to play for my hometown."
And she wants to go out on a high note.
"It's kind of sad, this being my last year," Partridge said. "I'm trying to use this year to inspire the younger players and let them know I'm here to help them. It feels lot different. I know it may be my last year playing if I don't get a scholarship. I know this could be it. I also think about this being my last time playing here and with my friends."
Partridge said there can be a number of distractions as a senior.
"I worry about getting ready for college, focusing on schoolwork and softball," she said.
Partridge, who has received interest from Delta State and Copiah-Lincoln about playing softball, has played shortstop, second base, pitched and her current position of third base.
"I'm more comfortable at third base," she said. "I like how fast it is there. You have to have good reaction there. You have to be ready for a line drive and then make the long throw. I keep working hard to get better and better there."
Partridge said the hardest adjustment has been trying not to be so hard on herself.
"I'm trying this year to concentrate more on what I am doing," she said. "If I make a mistake, I have to pick myself back up and get going. I have to tell myself to just make that play next time or hit the ball hard somewhere next time."
And using her dad's philosophy of never giving up.
Last October, Todd Partridge's hometown of Natchez dedicated Sgt. Todd Partridge Memorial Parkway beginning at VFW Post 9573 near Natchez High and extending southward to the intersection near Natchez Regional Medical Center.
"That was very special knowing they did that for my dad," she said. "The mayor and a lot of dignitaries said nice things about him and what he did. It's really special that each time someone passes through that part of Natchez they will see Dad's name. It's been tough knowing I don't have him here. But that motivates me more."
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