Pitching Duo’s Healthy Competition Pushes Gravette To New Heights

GRAVETTE (KFSM) - Occasionally, you'll run into a 4A school with an all-state pitcher. Rarely, you'll run into a 4A school with two.

Since tee ball, Cally Kildow and Bailey Elmore have been hand-in-hand. The two provide healthy competition that's pushed one another all the way up until now at a varsity level.

"We were both competing for the same spot, so I mean, yeah, there was a little bit of tension," explained Kildow. "But it was also like okay, it's for the team."

As a freshman, Cally earned the starting gig for Gravette and created waves when she committed to the University of Arkansas. Bailey moved to shortstop, but didn't give up in the circle quite yet.

"I'd always continue pitching even as I wasn't on the mound - when Cally was - I still pitched on the side," Elmore mentioned. "It was just what I've always done."

Sophomore year, Cally was at a basketball game when her life changed in just a moment.

"I jumped out of bounds to throw it back in towards our goal, and when I came back down, my foot got caught underneath the bleachers," Kildow remembered. "It just snapped in half."
"Initially, you're heartbroken for the kid," head coach Taos Jones recalled. "That's the only thing that really went through my mind was what it's going to be like for her making the comeback."
"I didn't even cry until my dad walked down," Kildow added. "That's when I realized, I was like oh, softball. Like - it's gonna be tough."
Losing an SEC softball commit would normally be detrimental to a high school program, but the Lady Lions had a plan.
"Someone called my dad and was like, hey this happened. Bailey needs to step up," Elmore remembered. "Obviously it was heartbreaking. I knew I would miss Cally, but I knew I was ready. I had been practicing."

"She just walked out there and picked up the ball like she had always been the starting pitcher, which was what I hoped she'd do," Coach Jones explained. "She did it far and away better than what I thought she was going to do."

"She stepped up in ways that I didn't even know were possible," Kildow said of her teammate.

Now, junior year, the duo is back where they started. Trading pitches and encouraging each other along the way.

"Through each game, we don't know who's going to pitch first," Elmore concluded. "But either way, I know that when she's pitching I'm going to be there for her, and when I'm pitching she's going to be there for me."

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