By Roy Fuoco
Kensie Green started working with former Bartow coach Glenn Rutenbar on her hitting when she was in the fifth grade. One night, she told her mom that she wanted to be in the state game, tie ballgame, last inning with two outs and two strikes and hit the game-winning run.
Green ended her junior season in dramatic fashion when she slammed a walk-off, three-run homer to life the Yellow Jackets to a 5-2 victory over Clearwater Countryside in the Class 8A state championship game.
“I said that in fifth grade, and it finally happened,” Green said. “Honestly, I can say, that’s my biggest dream come true.”
So now, what does Green do for an encore?
“Just get ready for next season,” Green said. “I couldn’t tell you how many times I was in the batting cage night after night because I couldn’t get it right. Or even crying before I went up to bat in the last game, so literally after that, all I did was go to the cages and get ready for travel ball and my last go-round this upcoming season.”
Green, who will likely move from third base back to catcher, returns for her senior year, one she hopes equals her memorable junior season. She tied Lexy Sims for the team lead with eight home runs, led the Yellow Jackets with 40 RBIs and was second to Sims with a .410 batting average.
If Bartow wants to fend off its challengers, and head back to the state tournament for the third year in a row under Donna Byars to try for title No. 9, it will be important for Green to match or surpass those numbers. Sims, along with top hitters Alex Mace and Bayli Robinson graduated, leaving a void newcomers need to fill, but of course, Green will have to maintain her production.