South's Kim Fesperman to Catawba
By Mike London
LANDIS — South Rowan senior Kim Fesperman probably pitched her last softball game when the Raiders were eliminated from the North Piedmont Conference Tournament by North Iredell, but she can live with that.
A pitcher out of necessity for South, Fesperman expects to be a first baseman or second baseman next year at Catawba.
Fesperman even played some left field for South late this season, and that experiment went well. Maybe outfield will be her future.
“I surprised myself,” Fesperman said. “I caught some balls. I did OK out there.”
South coach Cassie Buckwalter has watched Fesperman do more than OK for a long time. She coached her in middle school ball before being the head coach for her junior and senior years at South.
“I think Kim an awesome person, and I think she’s just an awesome athlete,” Buckwalter said. “I’m sure she could play any position on the field.”
For someone who’s going to move on to the next level, Fesperman started playing softball late.
She was introduced to the sport when she was a 12-year-old at Corriher-Lipe Middle School.
When she wanted to make up for lost time and throw herself into the sport, her parents, Andy and Sandy, made the sacrifices that were necessary, and Fesperman started experiencing success.
“It wasn’t long before I started looking at softball as my favorite sport,” said Fesperman, who also competed in volleyball at South. “What I really liked most about softball is the pressure of playing well as an individual, even though you’re playing a team sport.”
Fesperman played on a 14-under Rowan Rage team that placed third in the World Series. She moved on from there to the Carolina Angels 16-under team.
She did some pitching early in her career, but on her competitive travel-ball teams she was an infielder.
“I really enjoy playing defense at first and second base, and I usually hit more when I’m not pitching,” Fesperman said.
She became a regular at Catawba camps. After Catawba coaches saw her play in tournaments with the Angels, she was invited to a tryout at the school back in October.
Fesperman must have done pretty well at the tryout because Catawba was able to put together an offer for her. It didn’t hurt that Fesperman is a very good student.
Fesperman wants to study sports medicine and/or physical therapy, and she wants to use that knowledge to help with programs close to her heart such as Special Olympics.
Fesperman enjoyed a fine season as a senior, even though Buckwalter needed her to pitch most of the time.
She didn’t complain. She just did her best at it. But it was easy to tell by the way she handled her glove defensively that she’d be quite an asset as an infielder.
“As a senior, Kim was a captain, and she was all heart, giving us 100 percent, not just in every game but in every practice,” Buckwalter said. “We had our share of issues and tough losses, but she was a true leader. She was always positive.”
Fesperman prefers to lead by example, but there were times during the season when she turned vocal.
“We had one road game, and before we left the bus, she said she wanted to take care of the pregame speech,” Buckwalter said. “It was a good one. She’s an encourager. She had everyone pumped up.”
Catawba recently finished a strong 32-19 season and was 12-6 (third place) in the always competitive South Atlantic Conference.
The last player South sent to Catawba was outfielder Ashlee Rhoades, a defensive standout who played in 199 games for the Indians from 2003-06. Rhoades’ total of games played ranks fifth on the school’s all-time list.
Fesperman could be another pleasant surprise.