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Life usually doesn’t go as planned and surprises aren’t always pleasant, but for 2018 Olympic senior Kiki Mitchell playing college softball was always in the cards.

It just didn’t include best friend and teammate Kaira Cabato. Cabato chose to play at Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida, while Mitchell found her new softball home in Pennsylvania.

That changed last week when Mitchell transferred to play at Bethune-Cookman. Mitchell signed her letter of intent in April to play for Chestnut College, just outside of Philadelphia. But the coach resigned a few weeks after and Mitchell was left wondering if she should stay or try the recruiting process all over again.

Center fielder Kiki Mitchell makes a leaping grab on a fly ball hit by Port Angeles’ Natalie Steinman during an Olympic League softball game Friday, April 20, 2018, at the Fairgrounds.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“I was in shock, honestly,” Mitchell said.

Chestnut College assured Mitchell her scholarship was still intact, and as an incoming freshman she would have needed to work hard to make a name for herself  “so I wasn’t really worried about a new staff,” she said.

Then the opportunity came to play with Cabato in Florida and it was too good an offer to resist.

“Bethune is an amazing school and the softball team is just as great,” Mitchell said. “Bethune is coming in as the MEAC Champions, I think I’ll fit in well to the program because I’m driven and work hard on and off the field.”

The bonus is continuing to play with Cabato as the two were All-Olympic League infielders.

“I don’t think we realize how lucky we are,” Mitchell said. “To go and play college ball is insane it’s a nice feeling knowing that the hours you spend in the cage and all the reps you take on the dirt are paying off.

“But this is only the beginning and I can’t wait to get better over the next few years,” Mitchell added. “And to go play with your best friend for another four years and be roommates is a dream come true.”

The pair joined several West Sound softball players headed to college next season. They Klahowya’s Amber Bumbalough, Northern Illinois University; Zee Young of Central Kitsap, Pacific; South Kitsap’s Stacia Cermak, UNLV, and Rae Seil, Pace; and Diavionne DeWalt, who played for South Kitsap as a junior and played at Gig Harbor her senior season. DeWalt is headed to Prairie View A&M University.

Olympic senior third baseman Kaira Cabato fields a ground ball off a hop during the 16th KAR All-Star Softball Showcase game at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Wednesday, May 30, 2018.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
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