Calling Allie Kelley one of the best softball players in the Bi-City area wouldn't garner much argument.
She has been named the All-East-Alabama player of the year for two years running, putting up monster numbers in her sophomore and junior seasons for Central High.
Those performances, specifically this season's, were enough to earn her a selection to the 2014 Alabama All-Star sports week in Montgomery. She and her South teammates will face off against the North All-Stars in two games today at the Lagoon Park Softball Complex.
After a day of practice on Monday, she said it is a cool experience to be selected to the team and acknowledged how high the competition level was around the state.
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"All the girls I've seen on the South, every girl on my team, they're competing," she said. "They're pretty much the best girls all across Alabama. I was looking at the pitchers, and every girl is just as good if not better than I am."
As she noted, the all-star contests are a great forum to showcase skills to the high number of college scouts who are present. Surrounded by such talented players, it's hard to stand out from the crowd. Kelley said it wasn't a concern.
"I just have to go out and do what I know how to do," she said. "It's the same thing as if I was playing with the girls from Central. There are a lot of talented players and I know they'll play defense behind me. I just have to do what I know how to do."
She's already proven that she can do that at a high level. That's why she's playing in the game.
Going into her senior season at Central, she has not made a college selection, though she said she's narrowed her options to a few schools. She's hoping to make a decision in the next few weeks before school gets started. Perhaps a strong performance in front of college scouts could help in that process.
As much as the opportunity to get noticed is the desire to win, even if the games are exhibitions. Kelley said she found out on Monday that the South had never swept the North, so she's hoping she can help it to its most successful performance.
"Obviously I want to win," she said.
Lineups aren't set for the games yet, though Kelley said she expects to find out the plan early at a team meeting on Tuesday.
The team is comprised of 17 players, six of whom are pitchers.
She anticipates three innings of work in the circle over the course of the two games, though she doesn't know if she will start or appear in relief.
Whatever the case, she just wants the opportunity to play well against the best.
"It's a really cool experience," she said. "It just helps you realize that your hard work pays off. I just hope I can do well."