Kiley Naomi, a 2018 North Vermilion graduate, holds up her pistols to show that she is now an Oklahoma State Cowgirl. Naomi, 19, and the Cowgirls will play Thursday at 6 on ESPN 2. Oklahoma State plays Florida.
North Vermilion graduate lives dream by playing in 2019 College World Series
Two short years ago, Kiley Naomi was playing in the finals of the LHSAA Class 3A softball state championship. Today, she now finds herself starting for Oklahoma State and playing in the 2019 Women’s College World Series with a chance to win a national title.
She is a 19-year-old true freshman.
“Honestly, it is like a dream come true,” said Naomi about playing the World Series. “It is everything I ever dreamed of. I have been watching the World Series my entire life, and now I am able to be playing in it.”
Little did she know two years ago, she would be playing in front of a few thousand people today. Playing on the big stage in the Class 3A finals has prepared her for this weekend.
“Playing in the state finals was a big experience and being able to play in front of that many people prepared me for this situation,” she said. “The fans in the Super Regional against Florida State were really loud. I know that being in the World Series is going to be louder.
“But since I have played in front of big crowds before, I think I will be OK.”
Naomi has been the starting shortstop for the Cowgirls all season. Tonight No. 13 Oklahoma State plays against No. 4 Florida, starting at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN 2.
She is one of only five players who started all 59 games for the Cowgirls. She has a .269 batting average and knocked in 18 runs and hit six home runs. She has also reached base safely in 47 out of the 59 games.
Oklahoma State is making an appearance in the College World Series for the first time since 2011. It is the school’s eighth overall appearance in the World Series.
“This team is special because I know that each of these girls has my back no matter what,” she said. “We have a saying, ‘for the girls.’ That is what our motto has been all season. We have created our destiny when no one else believed we would have made it this far.”
Only eight teams are remaining and the Cowgirls are the lowest ranked team at No. 13. The winner of Thursday’s game meets the winner of No. 1 Oklahoma / No. 8 Alabama game on Friday. The loser of Thursday’s game plays Saturday.
The Cowgirls arrived in Stillwater Tuesday and attended a banquet that night. Over the last three days, Naomi has been receiving phone calls and texts from friends, including her former North Vermilion head softball coach Joy LeBlanc. LeBlanc played and coached in the World Series.
She texted Naomi and congratulated her and told her to “Soak in all the memories and enjoy the ride.”
Naomi is the second North Vermilion graduate to play in the World Series. Vallie Gaspard played for the Lady Cajuns in the 2008 World Series.