story by Cindy Burbage photos by Tonya Perry
Success is not found overnight, but through hard work and great determination. Meet seventeen-year-old, Kastin Belogorska, SEHS softball pitcher- 2017 Region 2-5A, Pitcher of the Year.
She discovered her love for softball thirteen years ago when starting out in tee ball. After moving to rec softball, Kastin soon landed on a travel team where her career as a pitcher began. “I started pitching at age nine when my dad told me that our team, the Lady Sharks, needed a pitcher. I remember I was running around in the front yard while dad was talking on the phone. When he got off the phone, he said, ‘Kas, how would you like to be pitcher? You know maybe you can just take about five or six lessons.’ I remember feeling hesitant and saying, ‘uh I mean, okay I’ll try a few lessons.’ So, I went to the lessons and when I got to the 6th one, I remember thinking yes!! I am a pitcher now and I don’t have to go back to lessons anymore! And now here I am, like 500 lessons later- loving pitching more than I ever have in my entire life,” the athlete shared. After South Ga Lady Sharks, she played for Effingham Angels and now is a member of Georgia Impact travel team.
Over her softball career, Kastin has earned an impressive portfolio of awards- 2016 & 2017 Region 2-5A,, 1st Team, 2017 2nd Team All State, 2017 Nomination for Positive Athlete GA, 2017 & 2018 All Greater Savannah 1st Team, Most Productive Hitter, Ace Pitcher Award (2016 & 2017), GPA Award (2015, 2016, 2017) and 2017 Region 2-5A,, Pitcher of the Year. However, one of her most prized earnings, is a scholarship to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Kastin recalled, “It was the fall of my 8th grade year and we were playing with the Effingham Angels, at a showcase in Athens. After the game, my coach, Krissy Arnsdorff, called me and a few of the other girls from my team to talk to her. She told us that a college, Liberty University, was interested in us and wanted us to come to their camp in the winter. At the time, I was excited because it was the first college that was interested in me. To be honest, I hadn’t really heard about Liberty so, I immediately started looking into the school. Turns out it was only the biggest Christian university in the world! I was so excited to go to the camp that winter! Once we got there, we took a tour and looked through all the facilities and rode around campus and I knew that it was the perfect place for me. I was so in love! The next day, camp was even better! I was completely sold! I went to one more camp in the summer and everything seemed like it fell into place. I felt and knew that God was leading me there. The following winter of my 9th grade year, they offered me a scholarship and I verbally committed to play Division 1 softball at Liberty University under head coach Dot Richardson(1996 Olympic Gold medalist). I felt so honored and so very excited to have an opportunity to play with such an amazing coaching staff, program and school!”
Softball is not the only place Kastin shines; her academics are important too. She is a rising senior at SEHS and dual enrolled at Point University. Kastin is a member of the SEHS National Honors Society, FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students), and SEHS Beta Club. The pitcher received the Georgia Certificate of Merit (top 5% ranked academically) for the 2017-2018 school year.
Although she is reaching for the stars, Kastin has her feet planted. She is involved with the youth group at First Baptist Church of Rincon and will be traveling to Jamaica this summer on a mission trip. “I have always wanted to go on a mission trip and now I have the opportunity! We are leaving June 23 and I am so very excited to have been given the opportunity to share Christ’s love with the people of Jamaica! While there, we will be staying at the Spicy Grove Youth Center which is a center for school age children to come hear about Jesus! That is where we will also be doing the majority of our mission work. I can’t wait to embark on this adventure with some of my closest friends and I can’t wait to see how God works through us and the people in Jamaica,” Kastin humbly shared.
Kastin’s drive is fueled by her biggest supporters-her family. “My Mom, Donna, is definitely my emotional supporter. She is there for me no matter what! At any point during a game, I can look over to see her watching me and nodding her head saying, ‘You got this.’ It doesn’t matter whether we win the tournament or lose every game, she is always there to give me a big hug. She never stops encouraging me; she also has never failed to send me a pregame pep talk message before each and every game!”
“My dad, Victor, pushes me. One summer when I was younger, probably age eleven or twelve, he made me throw four buckets of balls each day before I could do anything! There were about 25 balls per bucket, so I was basically pitching 100 pitches a day. I feel like I owe a lot of the things I have been able to do through pitching to that summer. He has also been one of my coaches since I was nine. He’s always been there to help me fix things if something was going wrong or high five when something went right! My grandparents have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and supported me through all the ups and downs. I will always cherish the memories I have made with my family through this crazy life of travel ball and school ball. I can’t ever thank them enough for all of support and love they have given me,” Kastin lovingly said.
Coaches and friends play a part in her success too. “Coach Marie, thank you for my agility and conditioning for the past few years.; you’ve given me the help to strengthen my endurance on the mound. Coach Chuck, thank you for preparing me both mentally and physically for all aspects of the game and for pushing me to always be better. Mrs. Krissy, thank you for all the time and effort you’ve put in to provide the best opportunities for my teammates. Mrs. Mary, thank you for being the best pitching coach in the world to me for the past eight years! Thank you for always pushing me to be a better pitcher and for instilling the confidence in me that I need to be mentally tough on the mound. Coach Downs, thank you for always pushing me beyond what I thought were my limits and making me reach for goals that I thought was unreachable-and for always being the loudest cheerleader at all our games! Coach Cox, thank you for always going out of your way to help me to not only become a better pitcher but most importantly a better person. Coach Jack, thank you for always believing in me; you have taught me to believe in myself. Thank you for always being there to give me a big hug at the end of the day no matter what. My friends have always supported me too; whether it was through a text of encouragement, watching a game or catching a lesson. And lastly, I want to say thank you to my past and current teammates for all the fun memories we’ve made together on and off the field,” Kastin tenderly shared.
Kastin Belogorska has an exciting future. She meekly closes, “My inspiration definitely comes from God and all that he provides. He has given me this platform to shine His light to show His love to others. He has blessed me with so many opportunities, and I am inspired to make the most of every opportunity for Him and His Glory. I feel with my whole heart that I can accomplish any goal He puts on my heart through the strength that He gives me. Through it all, every up and down, my goal is to glorify Him in all my actions. I know He has a plan for me and I am inspired to work hard and serve Him for His Glory. “