Florida's Kendra Falby Is The Ultimate Spark Plug
From the first moment Kendra Falby stepped on the field at the University of Florida, her presence has been felt for the Gators.
Falby, a speedy lefty outfielder, had a goal before the season to come in as a freshman and impact her team as much as she could. And she has done precisely that and more.
"I don't know if I necessarily felt that I was going to do this much for the team," Falby told Softball America. "But I'm definitely happy with my performance. And I'm happy I've been able to help the team this much so far, and have this big of an impact."
When Falby first took a recruiting trip to Gainesville while in high school, she was sure she'd be a Gator.
"When I came to the school, and I was with Coach Walton, and I got to meet all the coaches, I don't really know how to describe it," Falby said. "I kind of just knew that this is where I wanted to go. This is where I was meant to be."
For Falby, the most significant transition to college was getting adjusted to independent life outside of her home. Since arriving on campus, the person who has helped her the most to settle in has been junior outfielder Baylee Goddard, who set a standard with her work ethic for Falby and other underclassmen to follow.
"From day one, her being in the outfield with me, she's really helped me and kind of mentored me on and off the field," Falby said. "And she has been a person I can lean on if I do need any help. She's been my biggest support system on the team."
The Odessa, Fla. native admits that when she put on a Florida jersey for the first time, she felt nervous until she caught the first out and settled in.
And Falby has wasted no time being a spark plug at the top of the Gators lineup. Through 25 games, she's batting .494 with 38 hits and 20 stolen bases on the season.
Going forward, Falby will use her experience winning a bronze medal with the Canadian U-19 National Team in 2019 to build on her success this season.
"Playing for the Canadian team taught me the importance of the name on the front," Falby added. "Playing for Canada, I'm not just representing a team or a university, I was representing a whole country, and that's a lot of people. Being able to carry that to UF, this is a big team and a big program, and I'm representing the softball team and also the university as a whole."
Falby also says her time playing for head coach Tim Walton has already benefited her greatly on and off the field.
"He's taught me a lot," she said. "I've honestly never played for someone who is this knowledgeable about the game. He knows softball inside and out. I've just been able to be like a sponge and just learn from him. I love his competitive nature."
Falby will only continue to develop into a significant piece for Florida's program as her college softball career progresses. While she wants to become an All-American one day, the end goal is to help Florida win another national championship and grow the program's winning tradition.
"I just need to go out and play my game every day and know who I am as a player," Falby said. "As long as I go out and I do all that I can, I feel I'll continue to have a pretty big impact on the team this year."