The Republic Masthead

What’s in a name? Talent, it seems


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It might have been a Guinness World Records moment on Friday at Brown County High School’s Eagle Park for high school softball.

Columbus East softball player Kaitlynn Dye came to the plate, and she was followed by Kaitlin Wagner who preceded Kaytlin Huffman who hit before Caitlyn Williams.

Olympians coach Sonny Stahl only has to yell, “Get a hit, KATE-LYNN!” once because it applies to most of his lineup.

It does cause some problems, though, when Stahl has multiple KATE-LYNNs on base. If Stahl yells “Slide, KATE-LYNN!” he is likely to find one of his players on the ground midway between first and second.

However, Stahl’s strategy for building this East program is becoming all too clear. He is trying to weed out the girls named Sue, or Beth or Barbara.

Perhaps Stahl was a fan of former heavyweight champ George Foreman, who named five of his sons “George.” It’s efficient when you need a chore done such as “George, take out the garbage.” Somebody is going to do it.

Even Big George eventually had problems, though, so he started giving his Georges code names such as “Monk,” “Red” and “Big Wheel.”

After Columbus East looked pretty good on Friday in a 4-1 win against the Eagles, Stahl might go the other direction. He might take Elyse, Hayley, Taylor, Kirston and Erin and rename them Katelynn.

You’ve heard of the Mudvillle Nine? Well, this will be the Katy Nine.

It will confuse opposing pitchers, who won’t know what to do when their coach instructs them that Katelynn is the team’s toughest hitter or Katelynn has a lot of speed.

In the long run, it seems a tough task for Stahl to keep his roster stocked with Katelynns. How many of those can be walking around the halls of the high school?

He does seem to be on to something, though. In his third year as head coach of the struggling program, East shows signs of being very competitive, notching its second win against three losses Friday.

Whether it is the Katy influence or just better fundamentals and girls who are working harder, you be the judge.

Brown County coach Ron McDonald (and I won’t go into any name games with that one) said Columbus East used to be an automatic notch in the win column. The Olympians were the opponents teams wanted to schedule for special occasions to guarantee a win.

East might be short of a powerhouse team, such as Jennings County, but it is on the move.

Around Columbus, Katelynn is become a code name for something else.

Winner.

Yes, there are going to be some bumps in the road. But when East loses these days, it is a Kate-astrophe.

Even so, you can see the Katys’ confidence growing right before your eyes. You might want to check it out. And you might want to do it this season before the Olympians lose a Katy.

Kaytlin Huffman is a senior, leaving Stahl with a hole to fill next season. The search already has begun.

Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at jheater@therepublic.com or 379-5632.

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