Kiley McQuillan is one of the best players from the Orlando, FL area in the Class of 2022.
The 5-foot-9, 140-pound McQuillan, who attends Lake Nona High School, is a dynamic player that works as a pitcher and utility player.
McQuillan has earned plenty of recognition during her outstanding career, such as:
*2018 Sparkler Jr. All-Star Showcase in Colorado
* 2018 Atlanta Vipers Stephanie Phillips Award, which is highest award given in the Atlanta Vipers organization to the player that exhibits dedication, commitment, perseverance, compassion, cooperation and a spirit to excel above limitations.
In 2019, McQuillan finished with the second lowest ERA (1.73) in District 9 high school softball.
McQuillan is humbled by the accolades.
“I’m a big team player and I always put my team first. I know there’s no way that I get those awards or get to play on an All-Star team playing by myself. I’m a pitcher so I can’t do anything without my catcher or my teammates. It’s a great feeling getting awards and playing on All-Star teams but winning and competing as a team is always better than anything I might get as an individual. I think awards and All-Star games can be a great reminder that my hard work is paying off but there’s nothing like winning as a team,” McQuillan said. “I loved being out on the field and competing with some of the best players my age from all over the country. Even though none of us had ever met before, once we started playing and hanging out in the dugout it was like we had been teammates for a long time. Being able to play against the best players my age helped me see where I am as a player and what I need to work on.”
No matter the opponent, on each play McQuillan is determined to give it her all.
McQuillan is going all out.
The motor is always at full throttle whenever McQuillan steps between the lines.
“I’m a pitcher so I’m always reminding myself to focus on the next pitch. I can’t worry about the pitch I just threw or the next two pitches after that,” McQuillan said. “I can only concentrate on what I can control and as a pitcher and that’s the next pitch.”
McQuillan has great passion and energy whenever she’s on the diamond. McQuillan tells why she enjoys the game of softball so much.
“I love playing softball because it’s where and when I’m the happiest and most confident. I love my teammates/friends and my coaches and I love competing, playing and practicing with them,” McQuillan said. “Playing softball gives me confidence on and off the field. My playing has given me a chance to compete all over the country to see new places and meet new people.”
McQuillan has learned many valuable lessons from playing softball that she applies to her everyday life.
The main one is applying perspective to all situations.
“Playing softball has taught me to work through failures, mistakes and errors without quitting. Just like in life, softball has good days and bad days,” McQuillan said. “Softball is a game of errors and mistakes and learning how to deal with them on the field has helped me deal with errors and mistakes at home, in the classroom and in life.”
McQuillan recalls her favorite softball memory.
“My favorite memory of playing softball is when my Vipers team and I were playing in a PGF qualifier on my 14th birthday in Jacksonville, Florida. I pitched the entire game and we went into a Texas tiebreaker to determine the winner and see which team would qualify for the PGF National tournament in Nashville, TN,” McQuillan said. “My teammate and friend Angelee Bueno got up to the plate and hit a walk off OTF home run for the win. Best birthday present ever.”
Scott McDermott has coached McQuillan for two years on the travel ball circuit.
McDermott explains the best parts of McQuillan’s game.
“She has a strong arm, and never backs down from a hard hit ball. Pitching is her best position, and she owns the circle with her low 60’s speed and pinpoint accuracy,” McDermott said. “She is very technique minded, and is always wanting to approach every part of the game from footwork up. She has a set pre-pitch routine that really settles her in to block out distractions. Infield and outfield she spends the extra time learning and perfecting where every part of her body should be positioned to complete the play in the most efficient manner.”
McQuillan takes her role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. McQuillan makes sure she’s a daily positive influence on her peers.
“I always try to lead by example working hard and reminding my teammates how much I appreciate them by continuing to encourage them on and off the field with everything they do. After each inning whether I’m in the game or not I make sure I give my teammates a high five to let them know I’m there for them and I have their back. When I’m in the dugout I like to lead the cheers and keep the energy for our team going,” McQuillan said. “The best advice I have given my teammates is pretty much the same advice I give myself when I’m out on the mound, which is to stay positive and don’t worry about mistakes. Softball is a game of mistakes and you can’t let past errors affect your present game.”
McDermott adds that McQuillan is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.
“The ways she demonstrates leadership on the field and in the dugout is constant encouragement to her teammates. No matter what her physical effect on the game may be, she is always focused on how she can make the team better,” McDermott said. “What’s most impressive about that is she is still trying to lift up her teammates even if she isn’t playing well at the time.”
McQuillan is appreciative of having amazing role models that are supportive.
“My coaches have taught me that hard work really does pay off and that no matter the outcome of a game or tournament, everything is going to be ok! It took me a while to realize that even with hard work you can still lose but that doesn’t mean you failed. Realizing this has made me a better player and person because as much as losing hurts I use it as motivation and I just go back and work harder,” McQuillan said. “The best advice my coaches have given me is that in the game of softball hits and home runs are going to happen. I know that sounds simple but it’s true. When I first started pitching I was very hard on myself when batters would get hits and home runs off of me. What my coaches taught me is hits and home runs are part of the game and they’re going to happen at every level. My job as a pitcher is to make sure that hits and home runs don’t happen very often but they’re a part of the game and they’re definitely going to happen! Once I took that advice from my coaches I calmed down and only thought about that next pitch and started to have a lot more success on the mound.”
McDermott is an advocate of McQuillan’s capabilities.
“One play that stands out is she was pitching against the Thunderbolts 04 with bases loaded, two outs and their biggest hitter at bat. She made a good pitch but the hitter crushed an unbelievably line drive right back up the middle, and she caught it,” McDermott said. “I still don’t know how she was able to snag it since it was hit so hard, and she just came off the field like it was no big deal. Along the way she has had many clutch hitting and pitching performances that shows she doesn’t buckle under pressure.”
McQuillan has an excellent softball IQ which puts her in position to succeed.
“Because of her focus and her love of learning the game, her softball IQ is at the top of most girls her age,” McDermott said. “She impressed the U of Kentucky coach when she was playing third with runners on 1st and 2nd, one out. A ground ball was hit to short, short threw it to her at third and without hesitation she threw it to first for the double play.”
McQuillan is on the grind to perfect and hone her craft in any way possible.
“Her work ethic is right on pace with most girls that desire to play high level D1 softball,” McDermott said. “She not only works on her hitting and pitching with private coaches, but she also works out to keep her body in shape and is very aware of her diet and how that can affect her performance.”
McQuillan is constantly striving for greatness in everything that she does.
“My goals on and off the field are to eventually attend a major university for academics and to also pursue playing college softball,” McQuillan said. “Most importantly I’d like to keep working at being the best student athlete I can be by being a good person, daughter, sister, friend and leader.”
McDermott explains why he compares McQuillan to this player.
“It’s extremely difficult to compare her to a college or pro player because I know so much more about Kiley as a person then college or pro players,” McDermott said. “I guess Lauren Haeger would be a good comparison or really any dominant pitcher that can also hurt you at the plate.”
McQuillan patterns her play after these athletes.
“I look up to former Florida State University pitcher Jessica Burroughs who now plays professionally for the USSSA Pride and current Florida State University pitcher Meghan King. Both Jessica and Meghan are great pitchers but they’re also very nice people,” McQuillan said. “I love how competitive and hard working both of them are but they’re always having fun and caring about their team and teammates at the same time. They’re great leaders on and off the field and they’re a perfect example of the kind of player and person I’m learning and growing to be.”
McQuillan explains her collegiate aspirations.
“I’m a freshman in high school and I’m definitely working towards playing softball in college. I’m a very hard worker and I will continue to work hard and hopefully one day my dream of playing softball at a great university will come true,” McQuillan said. “I know there’s an awesome university out there for me and when the time comes, I’ll be where I’m supposed to be.”
McQuillan lists english as her favorite subject in school.
“I admire this subject because I love to read and write,” McQuillan said.
McDermott is confident McQuillan is willing to do whatever it takes to keep growing as a player.
“Our biggest focus right now for her is the mental approach to the game. There is only so much you can do physically out our level to out play the opponent, so we believe that being smarter than our opponent can give us the upper hand,” McDermott said. “She is always asking why we as coaches do certain things so that she can understand the game itself better.”
McDermott believes the sky is the limit as long as McQuillan continues to stay hungry.
“She has unlimited potential at this stage in her life because of her work ethic and love for the game,” McDermott said. “When you have someone like her that wants to be the best in the game, and always is trying to find ways to inch herself forward in the game, you cannot put a limit on that type of player and what she can become.”
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