Former Ceres High School standout athlete Kaytlin Donaldson will play softball for Southern University this spring in Louisiana.
Donaldson, a 5-foot-10 redshirt senior pitcher/first baseman, was granted a fifth and final year of eligibility after her 2020 season at Southwestern Oklahoma State (SWOS) was cut short due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t wait to play again,” she said. “I get to end my softball career on my own terms. It’s been so long since my last game. I miss the feeling of being out there and competing. I don’t want to take any of that for granted considering it’s my last season.”
Donaldson transferred to NCAA Division-I Southern University after spending the previous four years at SWOS.
“I wasn’t enjoying the game anymore,” she said. “I decided it was a good idea to enter the (transfer) portal. I got some offers. Southern University is a Division-I school. I’ve always wanted to play Division-I softball. It’s an HBCU (Historically Black College and University). It’s really cool to be able to experience a different setting. Everybody is so welcoming and nice here. There’s a lot of diversity. I’m definitely a lot happier here. It feels more like home.”
Donaldson batted .167 from the plate with two singles and two stolen bases as SWOS compiled a 2-6 record during its COVID-19 shortened season last spring.
She posted a 3-4 record at pitcher with an 8.53 ERA, six strikeouts and 15 walks in 211/3 innings.
Donaldson hit .265 with four home runs, 29 RBIs, 18 runs and 19 walks while appearing in 51 games during her junior year. She started 47 times.
Donaldson made 33 appearances in the circle.
She went 5-14 with a 7.89 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 102 innings for the 12-21 Bulldogs.
Donaldson made 15 starts and appeared in 21 games as a true freshman.
She ranked third on the team in batting average (.320) and slugging percentage (.460).
Donaldson also collected two homers, one double, nine RBIs and six runs.
She had a 1-1 record at pitcher with a 6.90 ERA and one save in 241/3 innings.
Donaldson was named Great American Conference Co-Player of the Week on Feb. 14, 2017.
She was rewarded for her outstanding play at the Midwestern State Round Robin, Feb. 10-12, in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Donaldson batted .500 with two homers, four RBIs, four runs and a 1.100 slugging percentage while leading the Bulldogs to a perfect 4-0 record.
The 2021 campaign is slated to begin next month.
“The passion is back,” Donaldson said. “I love going to practice and being with my team and coaches. I want to work hard for them and do everything I can to make sure I’m at my best.”
Southern University amassed a 5-10 record during its COVID shortened season last spring.
“We’ve been doing conditioning and hitting for a week now,” Donaldson said. “When we’re in closed settings, we do wear masks. On the field, we take them off, we’re separated. We get tested once a week for COVID. We follow the guidelines.”
“Our first game is supposed to be Feb. 15,” she added. “I’m excited to get out there “Our team goal is to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference. We have a pretty good chance at doing that. Individually, I just want to have fun and play hard for the team.”
Donaldson will graduate from Southern University this spring.
She’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in math and physics with an emphasis is math.
Donaldson wants to teach math at the high-school level.
“I plan on going back and helping my dad coach softball (at Modesto Junior College)."Kaytlin Donaldson
“I plan on going back and helping my dad coach softball (at Modesto Junior College),” she said.
Donaldson starred at Ceres High School for two seasons before finishing her prep career at Waterford.
She had a productive career with the Bulldogs.
She amassed an 18-5 record at pitcher with 105 strikeouts and nine shutouts.
She batted .333 with two homers, one triple, 15 doubles, 53 RBIs and 40 runs.
Donaldson shared the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year award with Pacheco’s Gia Rodoni during her sophomore year.
She had a perfect 10-0 mark in the circle with a 1.87 ERA, six shutouts and 61 strikeouts.
She hit .365 with one homer, one triple, eight doubles, 27 RBIs and 23 runs.
The 2014 Bulldogs had a 21-6 overall record, participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs and claimed the WAC championship (12-0).
Donaldson spent her final two seasons at Waterford.
The Wildcats went 17-8-1, finished second in the Southern League (12-2) and qualified for the Division-VI playoffs as Kaytlin teamed up with younger sister Alyssa (utility player) and father Donnie (head coach) in 2016.
Kaytlin shared the SL Most Valuable Player Award with Mariposa’s Leah Lafata.
She posted a 17-8 record with a 1.82 ERA, three no-hitters, four shutouts and 22 complete games.
She ranked second in the section in strikeouts with 277.
Kaytlin batted .593 from the plate with eight homers, five triples, 19 doubles, 36 RBIs, 45 runs and nine stolen bases.