When Mark Naples took over the Liberty Leopards softball program this past offseason, he inherited a program that has dealt with a lot of upheaval, as he became the third different coach in as many years.
Needing to learn about his new players quickly, Naples has turned to one of the few constants over that span - senior Kimmy Cordy. The three-year letterman, who was a captain for the 2013 season, has helped Naples get adjusted, even helping her new coach fill out a few lineup cards.
"I've leaned on her a lot because she's a senior, she knows the kids," Naples said. "Matter of fact, I've had her help me do the lineups to try to keep with what she saw last year and what I'm seeing this year."
Considering she's one of two seniors on the 2014 squad, Naples probably won't be the only one leaning on Cordy. She said many of her teammates don't have any experience playing the game at the varsity level.
"We only have two seniors, so we really have to step up and guide the team a lot because we do have a lot of young girls on the team - and a lot of ones that are very inexperienced," Cordy said. "So, we try to keep it uniform within our team because we've had so many different coaches."
It doesn't matter who's coached the Leopards over the past few years - Cordy's has been one of Liberty more consistent and better performers.
During her high-school career so far, Cordy has played most of the time at catcher, where she has recorded a .989 fielding percentage. Her fielding has earned her team awards - a Golden Glove in 2012 and best defensive player in 2013.
"Kimmy's one of the better ones I've ever been around," Naples said. "She's real aggressive, she's real helpful and she really wants to be good at what she's doing. She really pushes the team. She's one of the big leaders, that's for sure."
To go along with her fielding, Cordy has a singular skill at the plate.
Two summers ago, Cordy was struggling at bat when her travel ball coach, Ron Miokovic of the Ohio Blast, suggested the natural right-hander bat left-handed. The suggestion proved to be a good one, and she found her stride on the left side of the plate, culminating in a .433 batting average for the Leopards as a junior.
While admitting she swings better as a lefty, Cordy said she will go back to her dominant side from time to time.
"I started hitting from the left side out of nowhere, and I was doing great," Cordy said. "Sometimes now, I need to switch off to keep my eyes adjusted, to keep them balanced. I definitely like it, it's definitely a good (skill) to have."
This skill, among others, helped the Liberty senior receive attention from the next level, and on Feb. 19, Cordy signed with the University of Northwestern Ohio - an NAIA school in Lima. The softball program at the school just started this year, and the Racers are currently 6-0
Cordy said she chose UNOH over offers from NCAA Division II and Division III schools because the NAIA school could offer as many scholarships as Division I colleges. She also said she liked the university's program for her major in hospitality and business management.
"The University of Northwestern Ohio was honestly everything I was looking for in a college," Cordy said. "I'm excited because my coaches have always told me that you can't go pro in softball. You just have to use your talents to get a free education, and that's something that I'm really looking forward to doing."
With the college decision out of the way, Cordy can now focus on leading the Leopards to success during her senior season, something Liberty hasn't experienced during Cordy's career. The Leopards haven't won a tournament game since 2011.
"I definitely try to help the girls as best as I can," Cordy said. "I do feel like I'm experienced enough to help them. Softball is just what I love to do, and I dedicate all my time to it. I think with my leadership and the help of my teammates, we will have a good season."