The opportunity to study audiology and play softball in college will allow Kaylie Martindale, a senior at Napa High School, “to follow both of her dreams,” her mom, Dawnette Martindale said at a signing ceremony on Friday.
Kaylie Martindale will attend Pacific University, a private NCAA-Division III school in Forest Grove, Oregon and will play for the Boxers as a pitcher and outfielder. She was joined by family and friends when she signed a national letter of intent at St. John’s Lutheran School, where she also attended school.
She will receive academic scholarships because Division III colleges don’t provide athletic scholarships.
“We’re just excited for her to go and to be able to do something that is going to help people. She’s now going to be able to give back to her community and now she’s also going to get to follow her softball dreams,” said Dawnette Martindale.
Kaylie Martindale was diagnosed as being “profoundly deaf” at birth, her mom said. Kaylie has played softball over the years, including three seasons for Napa High. She got her start in the game at 8 years old with the Napa Junior Girls Softball League, and has played tournament travel softball for Fired Up in Benicia and Easton Elite of Petaluma.
She is currently with NorCal Storm, an 18-and-under team in Concord.
“I’m really excited to play softball there,” Kaylie Martindale, 18, said about Pacific, which plays in the Northwest Conference with George Fox University, Lewis & Clark College, Linfield College, Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Puget Sound, Whitman College, Whitworth University and Willamette University.
“I love the coaches. They’re great and they’re very understanding about my hearing. I know that they know I want to work hard and play for them. I’m really happy.”
Kaylie Martindale received a Cochlear Implant in her right ear at 13 months. She had an implant to her left ear when she was 6 years old.
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing, according to the National Institutes of Health website.
Children and adults who are deaf or severely hard-of-hearing can be fitted for cochlear implants, according to the website.
The Food and Drug Administration first approved cochlear implants in the mid-1980s to treat hearing loss in adults, according to the website. Use of a cochlear implant requires both a surgical procedure and significant therapy to learn or relearn the sense of hearing.
Kaylie Martindale spent four years when she was very young at Children’s Choice for Hearing & Talking in Rancho Cordova. She sees an audiologist.
In college, she plans to major in audiology, which is the science of hearing, balance, and related disorders, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
“I really want to help people like myself,” she said. “I really want to be able to give people that gift of hearing, like I got myself, and be able to encourage people to go farther than people believe they can.”
Martindale was a finalist for Pitcher of the Year on the 2017 All-Napa County team. A left-hander, Martindale throws five different pitches: fastball, changeup, screw, curve and rise ball. She can also play in the outfield. Last year, she batted .250 with a double and seven runs scored in 20 games.
She takes pitching lessons from Karen Yoder, a Napa resident who is a former Napa Valley College and UC Davis head coach, and hitting and fielding lessons from Cat Guidry, Vintage’s head coach and a former UC Davis player.
“It was not something that we ever thought would happen,” said Dawnette Martindale. “We always said if she wanted to quit, she could definitely quit. She just kept wanting to play and play. She has really advanced a lot over the last year and really progressed well. Now she’s going to go to school and she’s going to pitch and she’s going to play outfield and she’s going to do it.”
Said DeAnna Bowers, a former Napa High assistant coach: “Offensively at the plate, she has that tenacity of proving herself in every at-bat. She’s a very quick-thinking fielder. She’s got a nice level swing and she drives the ball on the line.
“She’s looking forward to Pacific. It’s a perfect fit for her. She’s excited. She’s going to get her shot up there. And her tenaciousness on the field and her willing to compete … she’s going to be very successful up there.”
Kaylie Martindale, a graduate of St. John’s Lutheran School her eighth-grade team, was a finalist for Pitcher of the Year on the 2016 All-Napa County team.
She enjoys being able to help a team by playing multiple positions.
“I started developing more into it and fell in love with it, also along with pitching,” she said.
Pacific University was 22-17 overall and 15-13 in the Northwest Conference this year. The Boxers ended the season losing 9-7 to Linfield and losing 7-2 to George Fox at the Northwest Conference Tournament last month.
Martindale graduates on June 7 from Napa High.