Brookhaven High alum Wallace wraps softball career as national runner-up
No matter the age, no matter the level of competition, no matter the sport — everyone that plays will one day have their final game.
The collegiate softball career of Brookhaven High alum Kat Wallace came to an end last week in Oxford, Alabama. That’s where Wallace’s Jones College team lost 3-2 to Phoenix College in the NJCAA Division II Softball National Championship.
If you’re lucky enough to know Kat Wallace, you know she’s a fierce competitor. Her longtime boyfriend is Dawson Flowers, a product of Brookhaven Academy who’s played baseball the last two years at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC.
He says Kat’s competitive nature doesn’t take a day off.
“We got into it once over a card game called ‘Monopoly Go’ and didn’t talk to each other for a day after we both got so mad about it,” said Flowers.
So, knowing that and knowing her, you know that Wallace wanted to win that national championship more than anything.
The loss was one of inches as Phoenix College scored with two outs in the top of the seventh to tie the game. The hit that resulted in that run landed just on the chalk to stay fair by the smallest of margins.
“It was just their day,” said Wallace. “When one is that close to being fair or foul, you just kind of know it was meant to be for them.”
Wallace started in 68 of 69 career games at Jones. She hit .300 over two years and in 173 combined chances at second base, she committed just 10 errors.
She is the type of person who fully commits to whatever she’s doing. That’s not just lip service or empty praise — she’s going both feet in for everything.
If you’re going to lead, she’s going to be your closest follower. If you need a leader, she’s going to step up and be first in line.
Jones head softball coach Chris Robinson has had some great players in his time at the school in Ellisville. Jones won a national championship in 2018 and has been runner up four times in the last seven seasons.
His praise of Wallace is effusive.
“You can build a championship program with players like Kat Wallace,” said Robinson. “We went through a rough stretch this year and had a lot of our players doing some serious self-evaluations. In a team meeting our kids were talking about why they chose to come to Jones. Kat spoke up and said she was here to win. She let her teammates know that if they didn’t come to win, they shouldn’t come to practice. You can’t say enough about her leadership skills.”
As competitive as she is in athletics, Wallace has the same type of fire that drives her academically. She’d rather eat dirt than make a B.
Her collegiate softball career isn’t ending because Wallace doesn’t have options as she’s had numerous offers.
She just feels like it’s time to focus on the books from here on out. She’s been a 4.0 student thus far in college and racked up every type of academic award offered by Jones including being named a Tullos Scholar, the school’s highest honor.
A Presidential Partnership Scholarship awaits her in Starkville.
Wallace is just a redshirt freshman after having her first season in Ellisville cut short by COVID-19. She could have gone back to Jones for another title run.
That was actually one reason Phoenix College was a national title favorite this year, the team was filled with third year players who came back after losing last season to the pandemic. They finished the year with a 44-1 record.
“I’d love nothing more to have her back with us,” said Robinson. “But when she received the Presidential Scholarship, I know it was time for her to move on. That’s the type of opportunity that you can’t pass up.”
Her plan has been set for a while now. Go to Starkville and finish out her final two years of school while majoring in math.
Will she use that math degree to get a job as a teacher and coach?
“Probably so,” said Wallace.
College softball might be over, but Wallace won’t be putting her cleats in mothballs anytime soon.
“I’m supposed to play in a coed-tournament in a few weeks,” said Wallace. “They called me and asked me to play, said I was the only one that wouldn’t have to try out.”