“I don’t know if I have ever seen a ball get out of this ballpark so fast and so far.”
That quote from Holtville coach Daryl Otwell came after KK Dismukes hit her 13th home run of the season in a win over Elmore County back in April. However, those words can be used to describe quite a bit of the season for Dismukes and the Bulldogs.
Dismukes set career highs across the board during her final season at Holtville. She led the team with a .587 batting average across 179 plate appearances and finished the year with 23 home runs to lead all of Class 4A. Dismukes is the Elmore County Softball Player of the Year.
“The thing that stood out most about her year was her bat,” Otwell said. “All coaches had to come up with a specific approach before games when facing her but she was still able to put up those kinds of numbers. That’s just impressive.”
After hitting 13 home runs in each of the last two seasons, Dismukes tied her career-high with a moon shot to left-center field in a victory which claimed the regular season area title April 16. Over the final 15 games of the season, Dismukes added 10 more homers to set a new school record.
Opponents often tried to avoid her bat but Dismukes always found a way to make an impact at the plate. She walked 34 times, including six intentional walks during the postseason, while striking out just six times in 53 games.
“You see that kind of batting average or on-base numbers for slappers sometimes but to do it as a right-handed power hitter is huge,” Otwell said. “You could tell she was being more selective with her pitches. She really matured as a hitter this year.”
Dismukes set career highs with 84 hits, 47 extra-base hits and 70 RBIs. She finished the season with an OPS of 1.915, the highest in the county and one of the best in the entire state.
“When I first took over at Holtville, she was in the eighth grade and people were starting to figure out how good she could be,” Otwell said. “But she took the extra step in the weight room in the 10th grade and she took another big step this year. You could see all that hard work she was putting in and it paid off.”
While Dismukes made a new statement as a hitter this season, she was still as dominant as ever in the circle for the Bulldogs. In 42 appearances, Dismukes allowed just 37 earned runs while giving up five extra-base hits in 211 innings.
Dismukes finished the season with a 33-7 record while posting a 1.23 ERA and striking out 316 batters in 842 plate appearances. She pitched 24 complete games and 12 shutouts including a perfect game against Wetumpka on Holtville’s senior night.
“I look back at her career and she had so many special performances,” Otwell said. “But to go out with a perfect game against a good (Class) 6A team on Senior Night with those emotions flowing, that’s impressive. If I had to pick a highlight that stood out, that’s the one.”
Opponents recorded a batting average of just .158 against Dismukes this season. She had 10 appearances while allowing one baserunner or less and she posted 10 or more strikeouts in 15 games this season.
“When you only have to make five or six plays on defense per game, that takes a lot of pressure off of you in the field,” Otwell said. “She could go up there and get 15 outs on her own sometimes.”
Dismukes was also named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year last week. Dismukes has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing and is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of her choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Dismukes’ high school career is over but she has signed with Auburn University and is already preparing for play in the SEC. Otwell said he expects to see her to play on both sides for the Tigers and to continue being productive at the plate and in the circle.
“I know a couple of things for sure,” Otwell said. “I know she’ll go into Auburn and she will work really hard. I really think she’s going to surprise a lot of people and I think she’ll get a chance to be a dual player down there.”