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Fastpitch: It all adds up nicely for South Kitsap's Ransier
The memory still makes South Kitsap senior Meagan Ransier smile.
She was at-bat last summer in Hemet, Calif., for a national tournament when she heard that familiar voice behind the chain-link fence.
It was one of the few times in countless road trips that Ransier did not expect to see her mother, Bonny, at a fastpitch tournament.
But there were those usual words of encouragement floating through the warm air. Ransier, who arrived with her team in Hemet and did not expect anyone from her family to be in attendance, was surprised enough to turn around as the pitcher released the ball.
Ransier and her mother logged more than 145,000 miles on road trips throughout the western region of the country in their 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse as she advanced from South Kitsap Girls Softball Association to the Diamond Dusters.
“My mom would take me to every single one of my tournaments,” she said. “We’ve gone to Phoenix, Los Angeles and all these places around the West Coast. She always been the one pushing me to go to college to play softball.”
But as the Wolves prepared for their final home game Wednesday against Shelton, Ransier’s mother would not be present.
Bonny Ransier died of a gastrointestinal bleed on Dec. 13.
“It’s really hard not having her here,” Ransier said. “She was my biggest supporter my entire life.”
She said that makes some moments difficult, such as when her mother was not there to see her hit a home run that helped the Wolves beat Central Kitsap for the first time since 2005.
Ransier said she appreciates that South coach Kathy Ballew has been available whenever she needs to talk.
“That kid is so strong,” Ballew said. “She’s the most mature, level-headed kid. You forget that her obstacles are enormous.”
But Ransier said she also has kept busy since her mother’s death. She works at the Family Pancake House in Port Orchard, which her father, Richard, manages. She described their relationship as close and said several other family members also work there. Couple that with graduation, picking a college and soon playing aunt to her oldest sister, Amber Bock’s baby, and Ransier said, “I’ve got a ton of stuff I’ve got to do.”
Naturally, that includes fastpitch.
Ransier said her mother viewed the sport as one way to help generate college recruitment and defray the ever-increasing expense of attending one through scholarship money. That won’t be necessary as she already has plenty of prospects — Ransier, who maintains a 3.8 grade-point average, is still deciding between Central Washington, where she has been admitted to the honors program, Pacific Lutheran, Saint Martin’s and Olympic College.
An Advanced Placement calculus student, Ransier said she would like to apply her mathematical prowess to a major ranging from engineering to international business. She could see herself running a nonprofit or instructing the next generation of students on theorems or baserunning fundamentals.
“I want to coach because I’m having so much fun now,” said Ransier, adding that she plans to minor in education. “I would love nothing more than to come back here and coach.”
While Ransier did not need fastpitch to secure her academic future, the sport provided an added benefit.
“I have confidence that I never would have without sports,” she said.Ballew is a traditionalist when it comes to selecting captains: seniors only. But she said Ransier possessed qualities that were too difficult to ignore as a junior.
“It’s mostly about character,” Ballew said. “It’s a blessing to have her around.”
It begins with selflessness. Ransier had a .424 batting average last season and a .739 on-base percentage as a lead-off hitter last season. She said it simply is a matter of placing her faith in the hitters behind her to produce RBI, adding that rarely is an issue.
“I don’t really need the slugging percentage or home runs,” Ransier said. “If they come, that’s nice.”
If there is a paradox when Ransier speaks, it can be viewed through her love of math and fastpitch. She loves the straightforward nature of the former.
“Math is logical — it’s right there and there’s one answer,” she said.
But on the diamond, Ransier prefers variety. With the exception of first base and pitcher, she has played every position for the Wolves. Ballew said she believes Ransier is capable of playing those positions as well, but was not needed as South has enjoyed depth at both spots.
She said Ransier’s versatility also is borne of selflessness. Ransier was the team’s primary catcher as a sophomore and played both outfield and shortstop last season before returning to center field this year.
“She’s a total utility player,” Ballew said. “She’s athletic, but it’s more about her work ethic. She has a good arm, is fundamentally strong and willing to do anything to help a team.”
When regular backstop Ericka Hobson was unavailable to play April 29 in a 13-0 win against CK, Ransier said Ballew asked her to catch about 20 minutes before game time.
“I had to have my dad go home and get my catcher’s gear because I never have it with me anymore,” said Ransier, adding that she enjoyed working with senior pitcher Emilly Cunningham again. “It felt just like sophomore year all over again. I loved it.”
It is a feeling she would like to continue.
Ransier suspects this summer without select fastpitch will be difficult as she reflects on her mother. It is another reason to avoid an abrupt ending to her final high-school season. Despite winning 30 games combined during her first two seasons, the Wolves twice were blocked from their first state appearance since 2003 by one school.
“Emerald Ridge,” Ransier said derisively.
“This year I think is going to be a little different. The seniors here haven’t been to state and we want it really bad.”