By JOHN LEMBO
Kelsey Falcone’s banter?
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Or her bat?
She made plenty of noise with both during her softball career at Saint Stephen’s, powering the Falcons to four straight trips to the regional tournament and three district titles while keeping as quiet as a B-52 crash landing into a greenhouse.
That’s a good thing. Catchers need to take charge, and that’s what Falcone was and that’s what Falcone did.
And it’s everything she wasn’t during her brief stay at Armstrong Atlantic State University, a Division II school in Georgia.
Falcone, by her own admission was timid. Shy.
It was time to come home.
So she’s spending this spring at Manatee Community College, catching and batting clean-up for a Lancers team on its way to next month’s state tournament.
Most importantly, she’s back in Bradenton, playing in front of her family and on a team filled with friends.
“I have a lot of support,” she said, “and I love it.”
One of Falcone’s best friends, Sarah Boyd, is MCC’s shortstop. Her family is at every home game, led by her father, Skip, Falcone’s coach at Saint Stephen’s.
“Last year, he probably made it to four or five games,” Falcone said. “And I love being in front of them. They want to make me do better.”
Love from Falcone’s family and friends crossed state lines last year, when she was battling through some off-the-field issues while trying to fit in with her new teammates.
It was around March 2008 when Falcone realized she needed to be back here.
“I was having some family troubles, and I wasn’t really seeing any support from the team or from the coach,” Falcone said. “And I was getting a ton of support from back home. Some of my best friends for the past 10 years are on my team right now, and we stayed in contact.
“That was one of the big reasons I came back.”
The Lancers are happy to have her. Falcone flashed some power Tuesday night, hitting a pair of no-doubters over the fence in left-centerfield during MCC’s doubleheader with South Florida Community College, brandishing the same stellar bat that made her an All-Area regular when she was a Falcon.
And despite what happened last year, Falcone isn’t worried about leaving home again when she graduates from MCC. She decided to attend AASU five days after visiting the campus, and admits now it wasn’t a good fit.
“It was my choice, and I wanted to go there,” she said. “But I chalked it up to a bad experience. If the right offer and the right school comes and that’s I want to do, then I’m definitely ready to do it again.”
But that decision is still a few months from needing to be made. Right now, she’s all about the Lancers, about the friends she gets to play with and the family she gets to play in front of it.
“These girls have been a family to me,” Falcone said. “It keeps the game interesting. It keeps it fun to me.”
It just doesn’t keep her quiet.
And that’s a good thing.