Monday, November 2, 2015

Allison Kime Steps Into Justin's World

The University of Central Florida received national attention in 2015 for the dominance of their pitching staff. With two hurlers with sub-1.00 ERAs and a collective team ERA also below a run per game, Mackenzie Audas and Shelby Turnier had the Knights on the national map thanks to their performances in the circle.

Photo provided by Allison Kime Trela
But before either Audas or Turnier ever put on a UCF uniform, there was another hurler that had a tremendous hand in laying the framework for the Knights to reach national relevance on a yearly basis. Her name was Allison Kime.

Despite only playing in Orlando for three seasons of her career, Kime established herself quickly and permanently as one of the finest in Knights softball history. Her college career ended with her name atop ELEVEN records in the Knights' career books, including strikeouts, ERA, and shutouts, among others. She also holds several single-season records, including wins, strikeouts, and complete games.

Journalist Eric Lopez, who covers UCF softball, had this to say about Kime: "Allison is one of the few players I have seen in softball who not only can beat you with her arm, but can beat you with her mind and her bat... Allison raised the bar at UCF softball, taking the torch from Stephanie Best and leading UCF to the 2008 Conference USA championship. She is the standard that Shelby Turnier, Mackenzie Audas, and future Knight greats are compared to."

Following her career at UCF, Kime went undrafted to the National Pro Fastpitch league before signing with the Rockford Thunder. In her rookie campaign, she posted a team-best 2.66 ERA and ninety-three strikeouts in just over 126 innings pitched.

Justin's World: How did you get started playing softball?
Allison Kime: I started playing when I was five years old. My parents signed my brother up for little league and I wanted to play so they signed me up the next season.

Justin's World: How did playing one season in junior college help better prepare you for Division 1 ball, in moving to UCF?
Allison Kime: I committed to a prior university and things ended up not working out how I wanted them to, so I committed to [Hillsborough Community College]. I knew [HCC head coach] Ray Seymour from playing with the Tampa Mustangs, so he offered me a full scholarship to play with his team. As soon as I committed to HCC, I was offered a full scholarship at UCF. I felt since I gave HCC my word to play there one season, I wanted to stay true to that, so I told UCF that, if that offer stood for the next season, I would commit to UCF.

Justin's World: Despite your incredible success and talent, you didn't and don't get a lot of recognition. Does that affect you, and how do you keep it from overwhelmingly doing so?
Allison Kime: I've always been an underdog in my playing career, but if you look at my stats and the teams I played during my career and how successful I was, I know I did the best I could. At the time I played, I was pitching against Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott, so it's hard to get any recognition when you have 2 superstars like them. To this day, it's unfortunate that I didn't get more recognition during my career, but I know I always did my best and had the best coaches and parents to support me.

Justin's World: Talk to me about being a “dual-threat” player, hitting and pitching, and how taking the circle and swinging the bat helped you progress as an athlete and from one side of the ball to the other.
Allison Kime: Through high school and travel ball, I always wanted to hit and pitch. I felt it was important to me because I wanted to give myself run support if I gave up runs while I was pitching.

Justin's World: Do you have a favorite statistic or career record that you’re most proud of?
Allison Kime: Probably ERA and Strikeouts.

Justin's World: Give me your thoughts about your legacy within the Knights program. What does it mean to you to be considered quite likely the greatest in program history?
Allison Kime: I am so happy to be a Knight and I am so thankful Coach Gillespie took a chance with me. Not many schools with UCF’s potential recruited me. I owe a lot of my success to Kaci Clark, Coach Gillespie, Beth Watson and my parents. They continued to push me every day to be better. I am truly honored people considered me one the greatest in program history. I would have never dreamt that would have happened, but UCF has the greatest softball fans and I am so proud to be an alum.

Justin's World: Give me your thoughts on UCF’s current ace, Shelby Turnier.
Allison Kime: She is absolutely amazing. I am glad she is breaking records and putting UCF’s name on top. She is very talented and teams should be afraid of her. This is her senior year and she has so much experience; she will be tough to beat this year.

Justin's World: As a pro softball alum, give me your thoughts on the current state of the NPF and its future.
Allison Kime: I think the NPF will continue to grow and get better. They are gaining a lot of support around the country, with sponsors and TV lineups. I am excited for the NPF’s future and young girls everywhere to continue their playing career.

Justin's World: Was it always your dream to play pro ball? When did that really start to become a realistic possibility in your mind?
Allison Kime: To be honest, no. I grew up watching Kaci Clark and Monica Triner and they were such amazing athletes. I never thought it would be possible. It started to become a reality my senior year when Kaci started asking me questions about where I wanted to go. I was so excited that I had an opportunity to extend my playing career

Justin's World: Who is the toughest opponent you faced?
Allison Kime: The US National Team in 2008.

Justin's World: Tell me about your current endeavors, both involved with softball and otherwise.
Allison Kime: Currently, I work for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, in the Risk Management Department. I also give individual lessons after work. I love giving back to the softball community.

Justin's World: Let’s end with a fun one. Say you were stranded on a deserted island for an undetermined period of time. You can take three things with you; just no boats and no phones. What would you take?
Allison Kime: My husband (so he could kill animals for me), a pan for cooking, and sunscreen.

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