Kernels softball enters state tourney as No. 4 seedEntering as the No. 4 seed in a nine-team tournament, the Mitchell high school softball team is set on coming away with a championship this weekend in Sioux Falls.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
Entering as the No. 4 seed in a nine-team tournament, the Mitchell high school softball team is set on coming away with a championship this weekend in Sioux Falls.
The Kernels get under way in the state softball tournament at 11:30 a.m. Friday with a matchup against Watertown. Mitchell finished the regular season with a 15-11 record.
“We are one of the most talented teams in the state,” head coach Jim Misiaszek said. “I don’t think any teams want to face us and I like our chances.”
Pitching has been the key factor in Mitchell’s wins this season. Led by the duo of Krista Huber and Hallie Misiaszek, the team has allowed just two earned runs per game.
“We know this is where we belong and we know we can compete with the best of them,” Huber said.
Hallie Misiaszek (6-7) finished the season with a 1.37 ERA, while Huber (8-4) has a 2.40 ERA. Both pitchers surpassed the club record in strikeouts in a season and Huber, who signed to play for Dakota Wesleyan University, currently holds the record with 101 strikeouts this season compared to Misiaszek’s 100.
“Our pitching’s been very good,” Jim Misiaszek said. “If we hold true to our ERA and we play defense like I know we can, we’ll be ahead of the ballgame.”
While Mitchell’s pitching has held opponents to a .218 batting average, the Kernels’ batters are hitting .330, in large part because of the production from Abby Sudbeck, Courtney Moore and Jenna Skinner.
Sudbeck leads the team with a .444 batting average, while also having team highs in RBIs (29) and runs scored (28).
Moore is hitting .443 and has scored 25 runs this season, while Skinner has driven in 27 and is batting .394.
“The big key is going to be setting up for them,” Jim Misiaszek said. “Those three are going to do their thing, but they don’t get RBIs if nobody’s on base.”
The Kernels’ coach said the rest of the lineup has come around and pointed out that senior Ashley Larson has been a key contributor for the team as of late.
“Ashley has stepped up big time,” Misiaszek said. “But I expect that out of my seniors.
“She’s always puts the ball in play, but she was always hitting it at people and these last seven games she’s been hitting shots in the gap and driving in runs.”
Larson said she has high expectations for the Kernels, who came away with the Eastern South Dakota Conference championship in a tournament last weekend.
“I’m confident that we’ll do really well if everyone comes to the field and does what they usually do,” she said.
Larson added that heading into her final state tournament has been a little sad, but if the team can come away with a state championship it would be a great way to end her Kernels career.
“It would be awesome to have something to show that all of our hard work paid off,” she said.
The tournament begins Friday and runs through Saturday.