Once she got a taste of it, there was no turning back.
Kelly Fox, a 1998 graduate of Riverhead High School, has long had success on the pitcher’s circle during her softball career, both for the Blue Waves and then at Dominican College in Rockland County. But when she got to pitch for a men’s team in the 2000 Polish Town Tournament and was successful, Fox knew she was hooked.
Fox helped pitch the Marcello Masonry team to this year’s Polish Town Tournament “A” Division championship recently, including a 15-5 win over Gartner in the title game at Stotzky Memorial Park in Riverhead. Marcello went 4-1 in the tournament and Fox won all four of the games she pitched. It was the second time (the first was in 2002) that Fox was part of the winning Polish Town Tournament team.
“Kelly loves competition,” Bob Fox, the longtime Riverhead High School softball coach and Kelly’s father, said. “She realizes the competition is not there in most girls’ slow-pitch leagues. Kelly asked me about the Sag Harbor Modified Men’s Softball League and I said, ‘Sure, why not give it a shot?’ Ed Meier helped get her in the league. Kelly got the bug and has kept it. She has the competitiveness and the desire.”
Fox led her Sag Harbor Liquors team, which went 15-3 in winning the league title, as well. It was her team’s sixth crown in 10 years. In nine of the 10 years, her team has reached the finals.
“Everyone there has pretty much accepted me,” she said. “It is a very competitive league. The men hit the balls back to me harder, which is scary. The ball is coming at your forehead or shin; it can be a little intimidating. But its also nice to know the men are behind you in the field.”
Fox said the key to her success in pitching is to hit her spots.
“Location is the key,” Bob Fox said. “Kelly can put the ball where she wants to.”
Kelly appreciates her father’s support. “Dad has always been there,” she said. “Both of my parents have been supportive. But my dad gave me the foundation that has helped a lot.”