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Tahlequah’s Levi Kelly – Athlete Spotlight – Presented By Coldwell Banker Select – Beverly Jeanes

Written by Byron Beers

Levi Kelly is one of Tahlequah’s top arms and a key piece to the rotation as a sophomore in the Tigers baseball lineup.

As a freshman, the right-hander had nine starts and struck out 45 batters over 44.1 innings while posting a 5.21 earned run average.

Kelly, who also saw action at third base for the Tigers, wants to be recognized as one of the top players in the state and reach 85-plus mph on his fastball. He got inspiration from Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, an MVP and eight-time All-Star for the Atlanta Braves.

“I love the way he played his game,” Kelly said. “I grew up a Braves fan and he is one of the best Braves players and MLB players in MLB history. He was loyal to his team and was humble. He was such a good player and I want to be like him.”

In the classroom, Kelly wants to be an A student.

“My goal this year for school is to be a A student. I balance my time pretty well. I’ve always been told you are a student athlete which means student before athlete,” he said. “I really respect that. It’s a great way to think about it. If I have time to do stuff after school and baseball I usually use that time to get some extra work for baseball or play video games.”

The Tigers got off to a slow start in the first month of the 2023 season, going 2-11. They broke a seven-game losing streak by defeating Coweta, 8-4, on April 1.

“I think that this season will go really well,” Kelly said. “I think our team will do well. We are becoming more of a family as the season comes up.”

Kelly’s favorite drill is getting fungo reps so he can improve his fielding skills.

“My strengths are power, strength and mental health,” he said. “I’ve improved on all of them in the past couple of years.”

Kelly’s biggest moment as a freshman was when the Tigers stunned Bixby in Tahlequah, defeating the Spartans, 4-2. Kelly notched the win as the starting pitcher and recorded 10 strikeouts over 6.1 innings while allowing just three hits.

In 2023, Kelly has had seven appearances on the mound. He has collected 17 strikeouts in 13.1 innings and has a 4.73 ERA.

Kelly enjoys working out and playing video games in his time away from school and baseball. His plans following high school are to go to college and be a college athlete while studying kinesiology.

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