There’s a familiar face in charge of the Mitchell High School softball team.
Craig Krcil, who has been an assistant for the past four seasons, was promoted to head coach after long-time coach Jim Misiaszek stepped down after 12 seasons.
“I am so excited to be working with the girls,” Krcil said. “It’s been a fun, fun two weeks getting to know them and I am really looking forward to a good, solid season. We have some talented girls on the team.”
Krcil has worked with both the middle school and junior varsity teams, which he said will help with the transition to head coach this season.
“That will help immensely,” Krcil said. “They know me. I know them. It’s a good set of working relationships right now.”
Krcil inherits a team that finished 8-17 last season, which were the most wins since 2015. The Kernels placed seventh at the state tournament.
The Kernels have 20 players on the varsity and junior varsity rosters, with another 14 in middle school. Mitchell has three seniors Hayley Reichelt, Kennedy Wantoch and Morgan Schneider.
“Every single kid that I have out this year could potentially find some time at the varsity level,” Krcil said.
Offensively, sophomore catcher Kate Nash will lead the group after earning honorable mention at the Eastern South Dakota Conference tournament last season. Sophomore Keirstyn Krcil -- Craig’s daughter -- finished with a .322 batting average and drove in 18 runs. She added six doubles. She was a second-team all-state performer last season.
“I think our strength is going to be offensively,” coach Krcil said. “We have a really good group of hitters.”
Krcil, Wantoch and sophomore Jacey Linke will be the mainstays of the pitching staff, said coach Krcil.
The Kernels will open the season at 6 p.m. Monday against Sioux Falls Roosevelt at the Cadwell Sports Complex. The ESD tournament is Sept. 20-21, while the state tournament is Oct. 4-5.
“We will take this season -- the individual games and each and every inning we play -- just to build toward the improvement for the ESD and state tournaments,” coach Krcil said.