Former Wallace State softball All-American Kelsey Dennis thrived

HANCEVILLE – Former Wallace State softball All-American Kelsey Dennis didn't miss a beat this season at Texas Tech. The Pelham graduate recently completed her junior season with a 13-6 record and a team-leading 2.93 ERA as Texas Tech finished the year with a 42-16 record, setting a mark for the second-most wins in school history.

Texas Tech's season ended last weekend at the NCAA Tucson Regional hosted by Arizona. Dennis was the winning pitcher in a 7-0 victory over Harvard on May 21 before the Lady Red Raiders were eliminated in the region finale by No. 8 Arizona.

Dennis led Texas Tech this season in ERA, starts (26) and opponents' batting average (.258), was tied for the team lead in strikeouts (80) and was one win shy of tying Brittany Talley for the team lead.

Wallace State softball coach Jayne Clem had no doubts Dennis would adapt seamlessly to the Division I level after serving as Wallace State's ace en route to two NJCAA national tournament game appearances.

"This season was basically Kelsey's freshman year all over again. She didn't get much action in the fall and had to prove herself again. She was pitching against teams at a different level, but it didn't bother her at all. She's got enough movement on her pitches and is smart enough to know how to get people out," Clem said. "Kelsey has played on several travel teams and saw a lot of these girls this year who she had faced before."

Dennis had a fantastic two-year career at Wallace State, garnering NJCAA All-American nods in both seasons and multiple conference awards, including the NJCAA Region 22 Player of the Year in 2009 and ACCC Tournament Co-MVP in 2010. She is Wallace State's career leader in wins (65) and strikeouts (590).

As a sophomore, Dennis posted a sparkling 31-1 record with a 0.73 ERA, recording 250 strikeouts in 211 2/3 innings. She tossed 19 complete games, including nine shutouts and added a team-best .355 average at the plate.

Dennis was 34-4 with a 0.84 ERA during her freshman season.

Dennis helped Wallace State win two state titles, two national runner-up trophies and compile a 125-19 record in two seasons.

Clem takes pleasure in Wallace State's players succeeding at high-profile colleges, and it benefits the Lady Lions during the recruiting process.

"When we are recruiting, we always mention where our players leave here and play. For us to have a player performing well in the Big 12 is a real eye opener of the good things that can happen after you leave here. You can go to a Division I school and play against the best," Clem said.

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