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Stonington's Theresa Kane signs her NCAA Letter of Intent to play softball for Division I Georgetown while her parents Bill and Sue Kane watch. | ( Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun )
Stonington High School senior Theresa Kane signs her NCAA Letter of Intent to play Softball for Division I Georgetown University while her parents Bill and Sue Kane and sister Mallory, 15, a sophomore at Stonington, on Wednesday at her school. ( Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun ) Stonington High School senior Theresa Kane talks with friends and her coach, left, Ann-Marie Houle after signing her NCAA Letter of Intent to play Softball for Division I Georgetown University on Wednesday at her school. ( Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun )

Kane signs with Hoyas

STONINGTON — Theresa Kane made it official Wednesday. The Stonington High senior signed her NCAA Letter of Intent to play softball as an outfielder for Division I Georgetown University under a maximum partial scholarship starting next fall.

Kane’s parents, Bill and Sue, said she was recruited by 19 colleges and was offered a full ride by several. They said she chose education over a free ride, but will be getting the maximum scholarship offered by the Georgetown softball program, none of which are full.

“I had a lot of choices,” Kane said. “I didn’t consider Georgetown initially until they called. I went down and just had that ‘feeling’ when I got on that campus. I also visited Harvard, Penn, St. Joe’s (Philadelphia) and Fordham — all in the Northeast.

“I liked the coach and the players. It was a good fit for me academically. And I didn’t want to be too far away from here. It’s a relief for me now not to worry about what’s next and where I’ll go.”

Kane has been a softball superstar for all three seasons at Stonington High. She has started all 76 games in her career — 36 of 46 appearances as a pitcher and the rest in the outfield or occasionally at shortstop. She was Class M All-State last year.

Kane was the team’s top pitcher after seven games as a freshman, the No. 2 pitcher and undefeated as a sophomore and the co-ace of the pitching staff as a junior. She is 31-11 (one save), with an earned-run average of 1.80.

Kane’s prowess as the Bears’ leadoff hitter has been extraordinary. Her cumulative averages are .463 batting and .515 slugging. Her 125 career hits far exceed any players in coach Ann-Marie Houle’s 10 years, including the 104 racked up both by Haley Gilles (Class of 2008 and Kelly Grills (Class of 2010.

“Theresa does it all,” Houle said. “She can hit, pitch, field and run. She has made a huge contribution to our team. She is a true role model — a team player who brings a strong work ethic and strong sense of team unity every day.

“She has grown as a person, athlete and student. She came to us when she was little (in stature) and has grown into quite a woman.

“It’s tough to make it (and play regularly) at the Division I level. She will be successful at Georgetown. She’s so resilient, she’s a star and she works hard for it.”

Georgetown has had a varsity softball program for only nine years (six in the Big East), with coach Pat Conlan at the helm from the outset. Conlan was an All-American pitcher at the University of Connecticut and subsequently had prior coaching stints years at Fairfield University (head coach), UConn and N.C. State.

The Hoyas last year were 21-33, 10-12 Big East — program bests in wins overall and the conference. The squad of 17 for this season includes five seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and four freshmen — from coast to coast and only one from New England.

Kane’s journey to softball stardom came relatively late and with a lot of help from her parents once she started. Her parents own and manage Work Out World fitness centers in the area (Groton, New London, Norwich, New London) and a Velocity Sports Performance facility (Waterford) that includes softball batting cages and professional hitting instruction.

Kane resided in East Lyme and moved with her family to Florida when she was in kindergarten. They moved back to Connecticut during Theresa’s freshman year.

“Theresa was not interested in athletics,” Bill Kane said. “She was a little timid and shy. She did a bit in a recreational program and was not happy about being the last kid picked. I coached her in Little League and middle school.

“She’s been playing since she’s been here for the Rhode Island Thunder Gold travel team (touted as being “the premier fastpitch travel team in the Northeast”). They play year-round and travel all over the country.”

Fifteen of Kane’s teammates on the 18-and-under Thunder Gold travel team have made college commitments — all to Division I schools.

Kane did some pitching initially on the travel team, but has played mostly as an outfielder. Her parents and Coach Houle said that size was an issue and she was recruited by Georgetown to be an outfielder, not a pitcher. Kane concurs.

“I did pitching for fun,” Kane said. “I like the outfield so much better.

“I was recruited as an outfielder. I’ll try to start as a freshman. There are no guarantees. But I was recruited to play.”

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