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Kernel fastpitch team fueling Tiger program

Dakota Wesleyan University freshman Krista Huber throws a pitch during a fall fastpitch softball game in the fall. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Freshmen Emily Sudbeck and Krista Huber represent the future of Dakota Wesleyan University softball.

That is what Tiger softball coach Ed Kieff said of his young infielder and pitcher, who are both Mitchell natives.

Kieff doesn’t look at the the Mitchell High School softball team as a feeder program for DWU, but said if the program produces good players, he definitely wants them to suit up in blue.

“I certainly think in 2015 and beyond, you will see more interest from Jim (Misiaszek) and myself in bringing in more girls from the Mitchell program,” Kieff said. “I think over the next several years, the players from that program are going to have a big impact on the success of our program.”

The level the former Kernels are playing at is different, but one thing has stayed the same. They are still being coached by Misiaszek, who has been instrumental in the Mitchell fastpitch program since its inception in 2007 and is in his first year as an assistant with DWU.

Kieff spent two years recruiting Misiaszek to his recruiting staff and is excited about the addition. Kieff said Misiaszek is a respected name in South Dakota fastpitch and will help bring in top players.

Along with Sudbeck and Huber, Misiaszek has coached Tiger senior Chelsea Moody

“Chelsea Moody was part of our first fastpitch softball team at Mitchell High School,” Misiaszek said. “She is a great ambassador to the game in Mitchell. As for Emily and Krista, I have high expectations of those two, having coached them the last few years. I have seen them grow and I want to see them continue to get better.”

All three Mitchell natives on the squad have earned time on the field this season for the Tigers, who started the season 5-5. Sudbeck is hitting .333 with two stolen bases and has played in seven games. First baseman Moody has started six games and is hitting .182 with one double, while Huber has pitched 2.2 innings, allowing one earned run and four hits. She also has a 2.62 earned run average.

Kieff said Moody is a team leader, who has the respect of all the players on his squad. Kieff also said Huber is a good young pitcher with great work ethic and that Sudbeck is a talented athlete.

Mitchell native Courtney Hellman started the season with the softball program but left the team to focus on her academic career.

“I have always wanted to go Wesleyan because of the nursing program,” Sudbeck said. “Being able to play softball was a bonus. Playing in college is a lot different because we practice a lot more and it is taken a lot more seriously than just summer ball.

“It is nice to play in your hometown because you can have people come to the games and cheer you on because it is not as far away for them.”

The Tigers were scheduled to face Dakota State University Monday but the doubleheader was postponed. The date has not yet been determined.

DWU’s next action is a Great Plains Athletic Conference doubleheader against Northwestern College Wednesday. The first game will begin at 3 p.m. at Dr. McWhirter Field at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. The GPAC contests were originally set for today but were pushed back to Wednesday because of weather.