New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

The Sports Journal

Destini Kennedy has Lady Canes Headed in the Right Direction

For the first time since 2009, the Lady Hurricanes Softball team made the state tournament this past spring. The team underwent many changes in the offseason, including a new head coach in Joel Simmone. However, one of the primary reasons for the Lady Canes’ turnaround season was because of Destini Kennedy, who will be starting her senior year in September.

Kennedy, who grew up in Meriden before moving to New Britain when she was 13, has received numerous awards since freshman year but none can compare to the slate she collected this year. These honors and awards included being named team MVP, First Team All-State and a unanimous selection for All-Conference. She was also recognized by the Board of Education for all of her accomplishments. In addition to all of that, Kennedy took part in the Junior Select All – Star game that was held in June.

Kennedy is truly humbled by these awards and has proven that hard work will translate to success.

“I never really thought I would receive these awards, because I always thought I wasn’t good enough but receiving these awards made me really proud of myself and allowed me to represent New Britain in a positive way. It showed me that if you work hard, you will succeed no matter what obstacles are in your way.”

The success that Kennedy had this year took a lot of people by surprise, including herself. During her freshman season, she was given a sportsmanship award by the coaches. During her sophomore season, she was named the team’s most improved player. While her development was steady, it wasn’t anything that would make someone think that she would have the kind of year she had during the 2014 season.

“I honestly don’t know where all this success has come from. I can say that during the offseason, I worked my tail off. I couldn’t have done it though without the tremendous amount of help from Coach Simmone, Coach Bob and Coach George, who all put a huge amount of time and effort helping this program grow,” she said. “All the sweat and constantly getting yelled at, batting practices in the rain and the 7 a.m. practices in the cold helped me grow and become a better athlete.”

This past season, Kennedy had a.402 batting average, scored 27 runs, had 20 RBIs, 27 hits, six doubles, two triples, two home-runs, 13 stolen bases and only one error in 20 games. Coach Simmone knows that without Kennedy, the program wouldn’t have had this type of success this past season.

“Destini is a complete team player with a blue collar work ethic. She is one of the biggest reasons why we won eight games. I have two daughters but I consider Destini my other daughter,” he said. “She is a classy young lady and it’s been an honor coaching her. I look forward to big things from our team next year with Destini being our leader!”

It would be easy for a young teenager to let this type of success and praise get to their head, which would then result in one not working as hard as they did before. Kennedy promises to be different though.

“I’m going to stay motivated by continuing to play softball in the offseason every chance I get, by staying in shape, by continuing to learn the game of softball by watching college ball and attending any softball camps,” she added.

Kennedy is certainly a player to keep an eye on heading into the 2015 season. She will look to build on her success from 2014 and lead the Lady Hurricanes to a second consecutive appearance in the state tournament.