Sonnemann shines on the diamond
Kelly Sonnemann graduated from Douglas High School with some impressive numbers over the last four years — and a whole lot more.
For example, Sonnemann was a three-sport athlete who earned 10 varsity letters, four in softball and tennis, two in basketball. She was a fixture at catcher for the softball team with a .356 career batting average, 92 runs scored, 91 RBI and a noteworthy .962 on base-plus-slugging percentage, all the while never missing a game in four seasons.
“Kelly is one of the best female athletes to come through Douglas High School in a long time,” softball coach Rob Parks said. “Kelly was a player each teammate could look up to. If I needed the team to come together on a decision, I would just ask her and it would get done.”
Sonnemann helped the Tigers produce 44 victories and top-three finishes at the Northern Division I Region Tournament the last two seasons as she received first-team all-league catcher as a junior in 2013 and honorable mention recognition on the all-region team this spring.
Defensively, Parks noted that opposing teams rarely tried to run on her. Offensively, she hit .270 this season but .343 for her career, with many of those hits coming in clutch situations.
“It seemed like whenever we had runners on and we needed a big hit, Kelly would hit one of her patented line drives in the gap to right-center,” Parks said. “Her catching, hitting, and most of all her leadership are going to be hard to replace.”
Sonnemann only missed a handful of innings when she was pulled during blowout games. She played shortstop in two games and at second base once this season, plus she had single games as a freshman when she played third base and first base.
“I remember tryouts my freshman year. I was really nervous knowing all the coaches were watching and everyone staring at you. Then that Monday when I found out I had made the team, I was so happy. I just felt honored the coaches would pick me.”
One goal that proved elusive was getting to the state softball tournament. The Tigers settled for runner-up honors at the region tournament in 2013, losing twice to Reed in the championship round in a year when only the top team made it to state. This season, they settled for third-place while Reed and Spanish Springs advanced.
“We were so close … one place away both years,” Sonnemann said. “We did jell as a team and we had a lot of fun. It’s all about the memories.”
One of the memories that stands out above all was playing for the region championship in 2013.
“Even though we lost (to Reed), those were great games. There were so many people watching and it was so loud. The atmosphere was just incredible.”
She also played four seasons for the tennis team — serving as co-captain for the Tigers’ Sierra League championship team last fall — and had a chance last week to play in the Local Sports Program-hosted Northern Nevada All-Star Basketball Game at Bishop Manogue High School.
Sonnemann, who finished with a 3.8 overall grade point average, was also involved with National Honor Society and Block D. She also enjoys working with younger students.
“One of the things we do in Block D is go to elementary schools and read to kids,” she said. “I know, when I was growing up, I had role models, players I looked up to. Now, being on the other side of the fence, I like to do what I can to give back.”
Sonnemann noted that one of her own role models was Jessica Mendoza, a four-time All-American at Stanford and Team USA member for the 2004 and ’08 Summer Olympic Games. Another role model was Amanda Caras, a 2012 Douglas graduate. (Caras played in 36 games for Santa Barbara City College this spring and received honorable mention recognition on the All-Western State Conference team.)
Sonnemann decided on her next stop in November when she signed with Humboldt State University. The Lumberjacks just ended a season highlighted by its second straight California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament championship.
“She is going to fit in well at Humboldt State,” Parks said. “She is a great teammate, not just concerned about her own stats but concerned that she contributes toward the team’s success.”
Sonnemann leaves for Arcata, Calif., on Aug. 17 to begin her freshman year at Humboldt State.
“I’m going to miss being around here, but I’m excited for a new start,” she said. “It’s been a fun four years; I remember my freshman year, I thought it would take forever, but it went by really fast.”