Mulé Comes Through for the Supporters in Her Corner
It wasn’t until her junior season that Kenzie Mulé joined the Valley Regional softball team. As she battled through hardships and injuries, Kenzie quickly made a name for herself with the Warriors and then served as a key part of the team’s success as a senior. Now, Kenzie is looking forward to continuing her softball career at Bay Path University in Massachusetts.
Kenzie started playing tee-ball at age five and was coached by her father Matt. Kenzie’s grandmother Debbie is the former softball coach at Haddam-Killingworth Middle School and would often take Kenzie to games during her tenure. Softball was always a family thing for Kenzie, and her family members loved watching her play.
As she began playing softball, Kenzie competed against numerous athletes who were older than her. Still, even with the age difference, Kenzie enjoyed her time playing the game and was making new friends. Kenzie decided to stick with softball and has never looked back.
“I started playing with a lot of people that were older than me. It showed me a great experience,” says Kenzie. “Even though I was young, it showed me I could make friends with this kind of thing. I just kept going.”
Kenzie played youth softball through middle school. From 6th to 8th grade, she was a member of the John Winthrop Middle School team. In 7th grade, Kenzie started playing travel ball and was selected to participate in the Power in Training national softball program based out of Niantic.
Not only did she become a better softball player, but Kenzie says the sport helped her stay levelheaded and battle through any anxiety issues. However, in her final game of her 8th-grade season, Kenzie faced a setback and was forced to the sidelines.
With the bases loaded in a game against Clinton, Kenzie swung her bat, ran to first, and collapsed before making it to the base. She knew something was wrong. Kenzie had torn a muscle in her back and had to begin attending physical therapy.
Kenzie remembers the doctors saying that she might never play again, but she knew she would be back on the field soon enough. Kenzie was determined to continue playing softball and refused to let her injury derail her.
“They weren’t really sure if I was going to play anymore, but I was like, ‘I’m going to play,’” Kenzie says. “I was put into physical therapy as fast as possible to try and heal enough to start playing. Me staying active helped.”
Kenzie didn’t play at Valley Regional as a freshman, and then her sophomore softball season was canceled due to COVID-19. As she entered her junior year, Kenzie was contacted by some parents of a few teammates from her early days in the game. They told her that they missed watching her play and that their daughters missed playing alongside her. Now fully healed from her injury, Kenzie decided to join the Valley softball team as a junior.
In her first season, Kenzie served as a starting designated hitter/outfielder while batting cleanup in the team’s lineup. While it was only her first year in the program, Kenzie quickly became a contributor for the Warriors. She remembered why she loved playing softball and why she loved competing alongside her teammates.
“There were a lot of parents of friends I had made over the years that had contacted me. They said they missed me playing,” says Kenzie. “I decided I would get back into it and joined the high school team. I was starting, batting fourth my first year playing for them. It was amazing.”
It didn’t take long for Kenzie to display her hitting prowess. When she’s in the batter’s box, Kenzie thinks of the people supporting her. She thinks of her cousin Glenn, who gave her the glove that she still uses from 7th grade. Kenzie also thinks of a friend, who, like her cousin, has recently passed away. Kenzie knows that her friends, family, and teammates will always be there to support her, and she wants to make them proud.
“Stand up straight. Just do my thing. I’ll take a deep breath,” Kenzie says of her approach at the plate. “I always knew they were supporting me. So, I know I need to do this for them. When I’m in that box, I just think that my whole family is here, my team is here. I have coaches looking at me, the other team looking at me. I just need to do what I have to do.”
During her senior season, Kenzie was Valley Regional’s starting right fielder and batted either fourth or fifth in the lineup. Her season included numerous highlights, including a two-run home run in a 17-7 win against Morgan on April 4. Along with her efforts on the field, Kenzie was able to bond with the Warriors’ freshmen and guide them as they made their debut in the program.
When she joined the Valley softball team, Kenzie had an opportunity to work with Head Coach Allyson Pitney and Assistant Coach Adam Traxler. Kenzie says that both coaches were crucial to her improvement on the softball field and always gave her space to grow.
Kenzie was also reunited with her former teammates when she joined the program. Kenzie had to persevere through numerous hardships on her road to the Warriors, but it’s a path that Kenzie feels glad to have traveled.
“Our coaching staff was perfect. If I ever had something going on and I needed a break, I’d always go to them. They were always there,” says Kenzie. “Playing with the girls I’ve played with, we have such a great bond. We know how each other plays on the field. If one person messes up, we know we need to all pick them up or the game is over.”
Having recently graduated, Kenzie will continue her academic and softball careers at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. While she is spending her first year as an online student, she will join the Wildcats the following season and pursue a degree in business administration. Kenzie says that she never expected to compete in college, but feels overjoyed that her time at Valley Regional has helped her reach that goal.
“It’s crazy. I never thought I would be in this position,” Kenzie says. “As a little kid, I didn’t understand college sports that much. Junior year, I started getting a bunch of emails from colleges. My parents, my team, and my coaches were all so happy for me.”
In just two years, Kenzie carved out a solid career with the Valley Regional softball team while showing tremendous progress in the sport. During that time, Kenzie has received a ton of support from her friends, teammates, and coaches at the high school. Kenzie always knew that the Warriors had a strong athletic program, and she feels grateful to have played with a great group of teammates who’ve helped her grow both on and off the field.
“Valley is a very competitive sports school. Being a part of a school known for their sports is amazing. Getting offers for college by playing for Valley was amazing,” says Kenzie. “The teachers would always come watch me. It felt amazing to know I had all these supporters.”