Bodak Making Huge Contributions for the Cougars
Kaleigh Bodak is proving an integral part of the success of the Haddam-Killingworth softball team this spring. Kaleigh, a junior, is making huge contributions both on the mound and in the batter’s box for a Cougars’ club that has a record of 13-1 on the season.
Kaleigh is a pitcher who also plays first base and the outfield for H-K. Kaleigh has been playing softball for the past 11 years, starting with tee-ball when she was five.
“I joined at first because it looked like it would be fun, and I just fell in love with the game from that point on. I also began pitching when I was about eight years old,” says Kaleigh. “I went to a clinic where I met my pitching coach. She taught me how to pitch and I loved it. I have been taking pitching lessons with her ever since, and her never-ending support has led me to confidence and success in pitching and the game of softball overall.”
Kaleigh is sporting an earned-run average of 1.15 to go with 90 strikeouts for the Cougars this year, in addition to hitting at a .532 clip. Kaleigh feels happy to be contributing to H-K’s successful season and is optimistic that her squad will fare well in the playoffs.
“We are 13-1 so far and we hope to continue this good record in the remaining few weeks of the season and on to the Shoreline and State tournament, as well,” Kaleigh says. “We are a very young team with only three upperclassmen, but we have so much talent and versatility throughout the roster, so we expect to go far in both the Conference and State tournaments. Personally, as a player, I had high expectations of myself for this season, and I think I have had success.”
Kaleigh earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention for H-K as a sophomore last year. Along with the guidance of Head Coach Jeff Talbott, Kaleigh believes that the vast amount of work she puts in during the offseason has helped her become the player that she is today.
“In the offseasons, I play on a travel softball team where we have practices which allow me to learn a lot more about the game and improve my skills, as well as games in different states in which I am able to face higher levels of competition. I feel this has helped me improve a lot as a player,” says Kaleigh.
“Also, throughout the year I have pitching lessons with my pitching coach, which helps me learn how to get better and stronger as a pitcher,” she says. “On my own I also pitch, take batting practice, and do workouts.”
One of Kaleigh’s favorite moments of the season came when H-K posted a 7-0 home victory versus Cromwell on April 27. Kaleigh is familiar with many of Cromwell’s players through their offseason competition and enjoyed sharing the field with them in a high school game.
“I play in the offseason with many of those girls, and I respect them as players. Being able to play on the field with them was very special,” says Kaleigh. “It is an honor to feel that type of challenge. To know that you are playing up against some of the best players that you know, and then to achieve a win is something that you remember and cherish the opportunity. Those are the players that have helped me become the player that I am, which I am very grateful for.”
Along with playing softball, Kaleigh is also a member of the H-K girls’ volleyball and basketball teams. Last fall, Kaleigh received All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention while helping the volleyball squad claim its second-straight league title. She also earned All-Shoreline Honorable Mention on the basketball court this winter.
On top of her athletic achievements, Kaleigh is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society at H-K. She also volunteers her time to help up-and-coming softball players in the area sharpen their skills in the sport.
“I enjoy helping at clinics for younger kids who are just starting to play softball,” Kaleigh says. “I enjoy helping them learn and get better and hope they continue to play softball and love it as much as I do.”