Season continues for MVC pair


POSTED: Friday, May 08, 2009

This year's trip to the NAIA National Invitational Tournament feels a little different for senior Kimberly Fuller (Roosevelt '05) and junior Sydney Kaneshiro (Kailua '06).





        » College: Missouri Valley

        » Class: Senior

        » Position: Shortstop

        » Height: 5-5

        » Bats: Right

        » Throws: Right

        » High school: Roosevelt '05

        » 2009 stats: .295 batting average, 2 HRs, 20 RBIs, 25 runs scored

        » Favorite movie(s): “;A League of Their Own”; and “;Sweet Home Alabama”;

        » Favorite pregame song: “;Stronger”; by Kanye West




        » College: Missouri Valley

        » Class: Junior

        » Position: Second base

        » Height: 5-0

        » Bats: Right

        » Throws: Right

        » High school: Kailua '06

        » 2009 stats: .248 batting average, 6 HRs, 31 RBIs, 14 runs scored

        » Favorite movie: ”;Set It Off”;

        » Favorite pregame song: Any Kelly Clarkson song



Every year, the top eight in the Heart of America Athletic Conference advance to nationals, so being a part of the tournament isn't anything new.

But for the first time in their careers, and first for Missouri Valley College since 2002, Kaneshiro and Fuller are competing as the HAAC champions after wrapping up the conference championship with a 3-2 victory over Central Methodist University on Sunday.

The Vikings won the best-of-three series in the final game, with Fuller hitting the game-winning two-run homer in the fourth inning to put the Vikings up 3-2.

It was only the second homer of the year for Fuller, but it was enough to give the Vikings their first conference championship in seven years and provide Fuller with the ultimate ending to a roller-coaster collegiate ride.

“;That was, above all, the highlight of my softball career,”; Fuller said. “;Definitely, it was what you would see in the movies.”;

The 5-foot-5 senior shortstop began her college career at Nebraska, but decided to transfer to continue in softball.

Her decision came so late that she didn't have time to send out notices to many schools. On the advice of her brother, who went to Creighton, Fuller got hooked up with Missouri Valley College to play her final two seasons of eligibility.


The ordeal left her disappointed at first, but was a learning experience that has shaped the rest of her college life.

“;I kind of thought life was easy, and it made me realize you have to work for a lot of things, that things don't just get handed to you,”; Fuller said.

She also relied on the wisdom of friend Liane Horiuchi, a Kamehameha graduate, who was going through a transfer from Tennessee to Purdue herself, and had to sit out a full season because of NCAA transfer rules.

“;I talked to her a lot about stuff and it really helped because we could both relate to things,”; Fuller said.

When Fuller arrived at Missouri Valley College for her junior season, she met Kaneshiro, who was getting ready to start her second year at the school.

Kaneshiro made her way to Missouri thanks to former high school softball teammate Loke Lastimosa, who helped recruit her to the college.

“;She's the one who told me about (Missouri Valley College),”; Kaneshiro said. “;It's different out here, but a lot of fun. I enjoy it.”;

Missouri Valley College, with an enrollment of 1,400, is located in the small town of Marshall, Mo. , making enjoyable activities outside of softball hard to come by.

“;Usually we have to travel 30 or 45 minutes if we want to do anything like see a movie or go to the mall,”; Kaneshiro said. “;There's nothing really to do, but you get used to it.”;

The Vikings open the NAIA National Invitational Tournament on Thursday against Concordia (Calif.) University and follow that with games against Dickinson State (N.D.) University and Northwood (Texas) University.

Missouri Valley College finished the season 33-21 overall and 12-8 in conference play, but went 11-3 in its last 14 games, including a victory in the conference tournament.

“;I think our team has just jelled together,”; Fuller said. “;On and off the field everybody gets along and we all have the same goal in mind and I think we can do well in nationals.”;