Softball: L-W Central’s Kriegshauser on a .643 tear at the plate
BY TIM O’BRIEN For Sun-Times Media April 28, 2013 8:04PM
Lincoln-Way Central's Michelle Kriegshauser connects for a homer vs. Lincoln-Way East. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 30, 2013 3:25PM
Lincoln-Way Central’s Michelle Kriegshauser is not a big believer in stats telling the whole story.
The senior just knows whether she is in rhythm when she steps into the batter’s box.
She doesn’t need her batting average to tell her that.
“I try to just focus on the hitting,” Kriegshauser said before a recent game. “The numbers don’t mean much to me as long as I can help the team out. The hard work pays off I guess.”
Kriegshauser may not look at her own numbers as a barometer for how she has been playing, but the stats are downright gaudy.
Through 15 games, the Eastern Michigan-bound senior has gone 36-for-56 at the plate, good for a .643 batting average. The scary part? That average has actually come down for Central’s leadoff hitter.
Through 11 games, Kriegshauser was hitting at a .700 clip (28-for-40).
“As Michelle goes, we go,” Lincoln-Way Central coach Jeff Tarala said. “When Michelle gets on base, we score runs. She’s our catalyst. We toyed with batting her third or fourth, and we decided she’s too important for us. We want to get her the most at-bats possible and get her on.”
Having played in all 15 of Central’s games, Kriegshauser has at least a hit in every single game. She only has one hit in one game. She has three or more hits in seven games.
All the while, she is all business. A slight dip or slight rise isn’t going to rattle her.
“I’ve always worked really hard at my hitting,” Kriegshauser said. “I think it really is the work that goes into it. Once I get into a rhythm, I always do the same thing.”
Sticking to her at-bat routine has paid huge dividends. Kriegshauser also leads the team with seven home runs, 27 runs batted in and 27 runs scored. In Central’s 14-8 slugfest defeat to Lincoln-Way East, she slammed two homers and drove in five.
Of her 36 hits, 21 have been singles with seven doubles, seven homers and one triple.
“Michelle is one of the most talented hitters I’ve ever worked with,” Tarala said. “She’s as focused taking batting practice as she is in games. That’s a testament to her as player. None of those hits are cheap.”
Following the loss to rival East this past Friday, Lincoln-Way Central is now 7-8 as the Knights deal with some key injuries. Kriegshauser has been a fixture leading off for Central, helping in the batter’s box but also pitching in at practice and in the dugouts.
“My job is to let the team know what the pitcher is throwing, where, how fast,” Kriegshauser said. “They have questions, and I think that’s what helps teammates out the most, but they do seem to get a kick out of (the hot hitting).”
Lincoln-Way Central has been assigned to the 4A Lincoln-Way East Sectional, but the Knights still have seven SouthWest Suburban Blue games on the schedule.
Tested day in and day out, Central’s star senior is ready for what the rest of the season offers.
“The tough teams we’re playing, we’re right there with them,” Kriegshauser said. “We’re getting better every game as a team so things are looking good.”
And don’t worry about Kriegshauser’s average because she isn’t. Hitting .667 following a tough loss to Lockport, she saw her average drop 32 points in the next game ... following a 1-for-4 performance.
“Every hitter goes through streaks, but being such a good hitter, she’s able to avoid any type of slump,” Tarala said. “She’s a complete hitter. It’s unfortunate I only get her one year because when she’s gone we’re going to miss her.”