Who knows what Joan Rivers, Kelly Osbourne and the rest of E! Entertainment’s Fashion Police would say about Karlee Sine’s camouflage batting helmet.
It’s a bold look when paired with a gold and black softball uniform, but the Shawnee High School sophomore isn’t trying to be en vogue.
“My dad and I agreed it would be a cool way to honor my brother,” said Sine.
Awaiting a made-to-order, Army Special Forces decal, Sine’s helmet is a season-long tribute to her Green Beret brother, Kyle, deployed April 4 to Afghanistan to protect an undisclosed embassy and train replacement soldiers.
“Green Berets are sort of like the first people there – the first responders during a military crisis,” said Sine.
Not a day goes by that the strong-armed third baseman doesn’t think of her brother, who’ll soon celebrate his 25th birthday while serving a six-month deployment.
“We’re extremely close and I really miss him,” she said. “He wasn’t home a lot before, but it wasn’t like I couldn’t text him and know where is – know that he’s safe.
“I worried about him when he first left. There were a lot of tears when he left. Now, it’s just sort of, ‘He’s there, there’s nothing I can do about it, so just know he’s OK.’ ”
The two occasionally hook up via Skype, undeterred by the logistics of a nine-hour time difference.
“I think about him and his safety a lot,” Sine said. “I think about all the things that could happen, but it’s just harder to think negatively than positively. All my teammates are really helpful whenever I need to talk about it. It’s great.”
Sine’s softball sisters wear red at the close of each school week, offering their support through RED Fridays, short for Remember Everyone Deployed. “I really have the best team ever,” said Sine.
Sine is batting .435 in the fifth slot with five doubles, two triples, and three stolen bases. Her 31 RBIs are second only to Emily McKillip’s team-high 33.
“Karlee’s been huge for us,” Shawnee coach Chris Roberts said. “She picks up runs in the middle of the lineup and has been outstanding at third base. Great glove, great arm – covers the bunt so well. She’s just done a fantastic job.”
The Braves (22-3, 13-3) were scheduled to host Indian Lake in the Division II sectional on Thursday. Shawnee is hitting .416 as a team and are fielding at .961 with 447 putouts, 125 assists and 23 errors through 25 games.
Shawnee had 18 straight wins before dropping three of its last seven games, including a 3-2, extra-inning heartbreaker at Bellefontaine that cost the Braves a share of the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division title.
“We’re just going to use (that loss) as motivation; that’s all we can do now,” said Sine, who has 13 putouts, 33 assists and just two errors at third. “We didn’t go out as strong as we should have and we’re not going to let it happen again.”
The Braves were seeking their first conference crown in 37 years. Instead, Kenton Ridge (25-2, 14-2) claimed the title outright.
“We’re as capable as anyone – that’s what I keep telling them,” Roberts said. “Hopefully, we’ll get on a nice roll and have a good tournament run.”