By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– If you’ve seen Cascade’s Kailee Bode in action for the Cougars, she’s one of the hardest working kids on the field going into her junior year. Talk to her, she’s humble and admits that she’s always looking to improve.
If there’s a softball version of the old basketball saying of ‘Mamba Mentality’, whatever it might be, Bode has it.
The determination is there. Heart and passion for the game is there. She points in putting work on her own away from practice. She’s played Varsity for two years and had went from 14U straight to 18U on the travel softball trail even though she hasn’t officially become an ‘upperclassmen’ yet.
But, if you ask her what she can improve on, she’ll give you a seasoned veteran response of how much she’s determined and dedicated to the game.
“Anything. Everything. I think of it as like, you can never stop improving on something and once you stop improving on something, that’s when you specifically are stratified,” Bode said. “Not when everyone one else is satisfied, but when you specifically are satisfied and you are comfortable.
“For me. I’m never really comfortable with my ability. I always try and try and try because I’ve always been that person that I can’t just sit there and be ok with how I am. I have to put myself first and I have to try harder so that way I can make myself better.”
Saturday at Chemeketa Community College was just another day in the office for Bode, playing with the Oregon Titans 18U squad. Bode doesn’t like thinking about playing up too much because she doesn’t want to put herself on a pedestal and think she’s better than she is. Adding that she likes to keep herself level-headed when she’s playing with her travel ball team.
“Honestly it’s a great opportunity,” Bode said. “It was scary at first looking at the pitching, but once you get into it, it feels like any other team.”
This past year Bode helped the Cougars to their first 4A State Softball Title since 2011 when they defeated Marist as a left fielder in the State Final where the then-sophomore collected two hits in a year that saw her named to the First Team in 4A State , Player of the Year in the Oregon West Conference and First Team All-OWC Outfield. Despite the accolades in her second-year at the Varsity level, Bode is avoiding the noise and staying within herself with two more years of High School ball left ahead.
“It was hard because I knew I was good, but I necessarily didn’t want to overcompensate for it. Everyone would come up to me and be like ‘you’re so good and you deserve this. You deserve it’, and I didn’t want it to be like ‘I know’, I wanted to be like ‘thank you’…because once I put myself on that pedestal and I’ll stop trying as hard,” Bode said. “I’ll stop trying to make myself better and stop trying to work as hard.
“I’m a really humble person. I’m not the kind of person that puts myself above everyone else,” laughs Bode.
On Saturday, Bode collected two hits and 2RBI’s for the Titans in their three Pool Play Games going into Sunday’s bracket play with the Summer Travel Ball season coming to a close. But for Bode, the work never ends.
“You see me in practice, you see me play games. But what people don’t realize is that you don’t see what the player does outside of practice. Outside of games. They go out, set-up a tee, set-up a mat and they go hit. They go take grounders, they’ll go do all these other things. It’s a lot more than what people think…there’s a lot more to it,” Bode said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald