Newsome Softball Head Coach Ally Ledenham will miss coaching both players, who have played big roles in her program.

Newsome softball standouts Kelsey Winters and Kinsley Castro will play at the next level after officially signing with their future schools on March 9.

Ace pitcher Winters signed to play with the University of Iowa and will major in business management with minors in criminology, law and justice.

“It was very overwhelming and bittersweet for both me and my family,” said Winters. “All of the time, dedication, money and countless weekends of traveling we invested into my recruitment journey finally paid off, and it finally felt like we got a return on the investment.”

Winters was very impressed with Iowa and everything the school has to offer, both athletically and academically.

“The environment was perfect; it gives me all of the right opportunities for academic achievement, and the coaches made it a point to reach out to me in personal ways and genuinely care about the things going on in my life.”

Winter’s teammate, Castro, will play for Eckerd College and plans on majoring in business administration and minoring in international relations and global affairs.

“It was just unreal,” said Castro. “The years of work, travel and stress all led to this one day. There were many moments where I never thought I was going to make it, especially with COVID shutting down recruiting. But when I stood there in front of my family, coaches, friends, teammates and all the little kids I coach while saying my speech, it all hit me. I had made it, I was going to college, I was going to keep playing softball. For years, I never knew what my future was to be, but now I know. It was all relieving and exciting.”

Castro hopes to contribute and make an impact on her future team right away.

“My goal for college is to make my name known as an all-around player,” she said. “I want to make a new family with the Eckerd softball team. I also want to exceed academically and work to my next step in life, all while enjoying college itself and finding the balance.”

Newsome Softball Head Coach Ally Ledenham will miss coaching both players, who have played big roles in her program.

“Kelsey and Kinsley have impacted this program for the better since the moment they got here,” said Ledenham. “They strive for excellence in everything they do on and off the field. Kinsley is looked up to by many on this team but also many young athletes in the community. She gives lessons as well as helps coach her sister’s travel ball team. She is a great role model for the future of this sport. I have had the opportunity to watch Kelsey grow over the last decade. I helped coach her travel ball team when she was just 8. The strides and accomplishments I’ve been able to watch her make over the last decade is a true testament to her drive and work ethic. I’m blessed to have been able to be a part of both of their journeys.”

Castro, Winters and Ledenham have big expectations for the rest of the season as they make a run at another state championship.

“At any point in time, if you think you won’t make it and it seems as if everyone else believes in you but yourself, keep going,” said Castro. “Just for a little longer because there’s always a place for everyone.”

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Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.