Ole Miss interim softball coach Ruben Felix confirmed Monday night that utility player Kaylee Horton is leaving the program. The senior was expected to start in center field as well as battle for the leading spot in the batting order.
“She was a big part of our success here for three years, but at this moment in time, she felt like softball wasn’t in her heart to stay here and play,” Felix said. “Her helping us these three years to make this program a legitimate top-15 program, it’s too bad for us, but we’ll move on. There will be players that have to step up.”
Horton was the first Rebel in program history to be named to the SEC All-Defensive Team as a junior. She posted a .974 fielding percentage in the right field with only one error and tied for second in the SEC with five triples. As a batter, Horton posted a .289 with 31 runs scored and 28 runs driven in.
The Alabama native was key in the Rebels’ comeback against Louisiana, a game that secured their spot in the NCAA Super Regionals. Horton led the team with eight RBIs during the regional.
“We have more than enough candidates; obviously, (Nyomi) Jones and Raegan (Cheyne), but right now Jones is the front runner for sure,” said Felix when asked who will take Horton’s spot. “Jonesy is going to take over that role now that Horton, being the starter, would be out.”
Despite the turbulence in the offseason, the Rebels are looking forward to this upcoming season.
“We preach to our kids everyday to just believe in themselves and have good chemistry and be good team players and be able to pick each other up,” said Felix. “Right now we are picking each other up because we are down a starter.”
The Rebels will take on Louisville and NC State on Friday in the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida.