Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill 11 #2:Anna Kimbrell makes history

Anna Kimbrell pitches in Japan for Team USA.
Anna Kimbrell pitches in Japan for Team USA.

For Anna Kimbrell, this was an extraordinary year.

The Nation Ford High School senior has been recognized throughout her career for her athleticism and success in the pool as a swimmer and on the diamond. Not as a softball player, but as a baseball player.

Last spring, Kimbrell became the first known female to play varsity baseball at the high school level in the state of South Carolina, according to the S.C. High School League.

"It comes natural to me," Kimbrell said about her baseball career. "I don't know - I really get into the game. I know it could be boring to watch, but when I am playing, I have so much fun."

Kimbrell, a right-hander who stands five-feet, seven-inches tall said she is excited about the upcoming baseball season with the Falcons and has set high expectations for herself based on what she has already accomplished.

"I'm not aware of this happening before for us. This is new ground. We haven't run across this before," said Roger Hazel, assistant commissioner over baseball with the prep league, after learning that Kimbrell made the team last year.

Kimbrell said she was also the first female in the history of South Carolina to pitch, and record a win, in an American Legion baseball game. She accomplished that in May for the Fort Mill Legion Post 43 team.

But that wasn't all for Kimbrell.

She was selected to play on the women's national baseball team and traveled to Japan in August to represent the United States.

"That was the best experience of my life," she said. "I worked so hard to be on the national team. They treated us like superstars over there."

Team USA won the bronze medal in the tournament, defeating Australia in the third-place game.

Nation Ford's head baseball coach Dell Corley said Kimbrell has been training hard during the summer and she is expected to pitch as part of the starting rotation this season.

When she isn't on the baseball field, Kimbrell has excelled in swimming, winning the region championship in the 50-meter freestyle and the 400-meter relay. She finished fourth in the state in the 50-meter freestyle.

"Whatever she does, swimming or baseball, she has the right mindset," said Nation Ford Athletic Director Brian Turner. "She practices hard, she plays hard - she competes. Anna's not only talented, she's hardworking and confident. That should carry her a long way."