A little tweak has gone a long way with Cashton High School softball player Kelli Schmitz.
The senior catcher is having a monster season following a slight adjustment in her swing. She’s batting .524 (11-for-21) with four extra-base hits and 19 RBI for the Eagles (4-2, 2-2 Scenic Bluffs).
“She’s always been pretty good about asking ‘Why am I always hitting on the ground?’ and things like that,” Cashton coach Caleb Hundt said. “It can be hard to fine-tune a player of that caliber, but she was open to it.”
Hundt said Schmitz was dipping a little bit with her back leg and suggested she stand upright a little bit more.
Safe to say, it’s worked.
“Her being open to change is a big part of it,” Hundt said.
Schmitz, who Hundt said plans to attend Winona State but doesn’t yet have an offer to play on the softball team, isn’t the only one having a big season for the Eagles. The batters in front of her — Kesh Janzen (.455) and Lane Dickman (.462, 14 walks) — get on base with regularity. Mariah Campton, who bats behind Schmitz, is hitting .429 with 15 RBI.
“One girl gets hot, and they all get hot,” Hundt said.
Hundt is optimistic other areas of Cashton’s team will develop, as well. The Eagles had just nine hits — a season low — in Tuesday’s 13-3 victory over Royall. They found other ways to get runs across and played solid defense, something that hasn’t been the case in every game.
“We’ve had some trouble putting everything together,” Hundt said. “We can be a very scary team if we do. The potential is there.”
The Eagles certainly are putting in the extra effort. Hundt said the team, once or twice a week, comes to the school at 6 a.m. to lift weights. That frees up time after school to work on fundamentals.
“The bottom line is that the whole team is working hard, they’re all asking questions, they all want to be that good,” Hundt said. “That makes it a lot easier for me.”
BANGOR FRESHMAN THROWS NO-NO: In the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game against Necedah, Bangor freshman pitcher Canon O’Heron looked up at the scoreboard and realized his opponent had yet to record a hit.
That’s when it hit him.
“It was kind of weird,” he said. “I was sitting near the end of the bench and everyone was up at the fence. Nobody really wanted to talk to me.”
Thankfully, for O’Heron and Bangor, nobody jinxed it. Third baseman Tyler Shrake made a nice play in the sixth, and O’Heron ended the game with one of his nine strikeouts in throwing a no-hitter in a 5-0 victory over Necedah.
“It was awesome, the greatest feeling I’ve had all year,” said O’Heron, who admitted the nerves rose as the final batter worked a 3-2 count.
“But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. Those guys made all the plays.”
It was the first varsity start for O’Heron, who walked just one batter for Bangor (5-3, 3-2 Scenic Bluffs).
Now he’ll have to deal with the high expectations that come with throwing a no-hitter.
“I guess I’ll just have to try to deal with that,” O’Heron said. “I couldn’t have done it with a better group of guys. We’re a team, we’re a close-knit group.”