The day of August 30, 2012 will not be remembered as a favorite day for Webster Groves senior pitcher/centerfielder Emma Buckles.
That day, Webster dropped a 2-1 decision to Eureka in the championship game of the Suburban South/West Crossover Tournament at the Chesterfield Athletic Association.
“After the loss, we looked back on it,” Buckles said. “Our team played really well that game. We’ve taken that and improved ourselves for the rest of the season.”
Since the loss, Webster has won 16 straight games.
The Statesmen (21-1) ended the regular season with a 7-6 extra-inning win over Mehlville on Tuesday and have climbed atop the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools softball rankings.
Webster scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to get past Mehlville.
“This team has fought its way back with late runs so many times,” Webster coach Bryan Gibson said. “We’ve come back against Parkway North a couple of times and a couple of other teams.”
Through the regular season, Webster has been led by Buckles (.585 batting average, .985 slugging percentage, 5 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, 34 RBI), Rachel Mehringer (.517 average) and Kate Wylie (.488 average, 2 home runs, 18 RBI).
Madyson Stallcup and Buckles have also combined to form a potent one-two punch in the pitcher’s circle.
KOLKMEYER SHOWING OFF RUBBER ARM
A quick look at the STLhighschoolsports.com softball pitching leaders shows glimpses of the season Francis Howell Central sophomore pitcher Kristen Kolkmeyer is having.
Her 12 wins and 80 strikeouts place her amongst area leaders, but they don’t tell the entire story.
Two other numbers, perhaps, show off the value Kolkmeyer has held for coach Brian Cissell and the Spartans.
Kolkmeyer has pitched in 25 games, thrown 22 complete games, and has an area-high 162 innings in the pitcher’s circle.
“Kristen has been one of the many pleasant surprises that I have had since becoming head coach here at FHC,” Cissell said. “We did quite a bit more summer conditioning than the girls had been used to in the past, and many of our players took advantage of the opportunity. Kristen came into the season in great shape and has maintained her stamina throughout the fall.
"One of the things that really benefits Kristen is that her style is not about overpowering the hitters. She does not have to overthrow her pitches to try and get strikeouts. Therefore, she can keep her mechanics simple and constant without a lot of extra effort.”
In total, Kolkmeyer owns a record of 12-13 with a 4.36 earned-run average. She has also added a.324 batting average and six RBI.
While her numbers may not be earth-shattering, they are light years ahead of Howell Central’s 4-18 mark from 2011.
It’s probably not coincidence, then, that Kolkmeyer has gone from 7.0 innings pitched as a freshman to the current workload she’s shouldered for the Spartans.
“She is not a vocal player, but her blue collar approach of wanting the ball every game has given the team an example of what a competitor looks like,” Cissell said. “We have followed her lead in doing whatever needs to be done to give us a chance to compete. She is one of those players that doesn’t care about stats. She just shows up everyday, works hard, competes and brings her best. I am really excited to have that as a model for our program for the next few years.”
KNESEL A HIT FOR URSULINE
The top of the statistical leader board shows that the usual suspects are there, with one exception.
Ursuline junior infielder Josie Knesel has had the type of season at the plate that has put her among the area’s elite.
“I did sense that Josie would have a big year and am not surprised that the numbers bear that out,” Ursuline coach Jake Bowers said. “Her work ethic is legendary. Josie was in the weight room three days per week all winter and continued her individual lessons as well. She has earned her numbers.”
Through the regular season Knesel hit .680 with five double, five triples, seven home runs, and 34 RBI.
Her slugging percentage of 1.400 is the best in the St. Louis area.
She has also added 13 stolen bases to the mix for Ursuline (7-10).
While Knesel is piling up the numbers, Bowers says you’d never know it. That’s due, in large part, to the fact that Knesel doesn’t know hers and doesn’t care. She just wants to carry on her hard work from the offseason and translate it into success for Ursuline.
“Josie's summer schedule has her facing some of the best pitchers in the country, and she has used that experience and her desire to maximize her potential to take her game to this level,” Bowers said. “Her combination of speed and power deliver a lot of extra base hits. Josie's not interested in stats, just results.”
WIN OR GO HOME
District softball tournaments commence Wednesday and will wrap up, for the most part, Friday as the weather permits.
Local sites that will host districts include: Class 2 District 10 at Crystal City, Class 2 District 11 at Elsberry, Class 3 District 2 at De Soto, Class 3 District 3 at Lutheran South, Class 3 District 4 at Kennedy, Class 3 District 5 at Lutheran North, Class 3 District 6 at Lindenwood University, Class 3 District 7 at Wright City, Class 3 District 9 at Campbell-Chapman Sports Complex in Sullivan, Class 4 District 1 at Jackson City Park, Class 4 District 2 at Oakville, Class 4 District 3 at Eureka, Class 4 District 4 at Webster Groves, Class 4 District 5 at Incarnate Word, Class 4 District 6 at McCluer North, Class 4 District 7 at Marquette and Class 4 District 8 at Troy Buchanan.
Check STLhighschoolsports.com to stay up-to-date on results and schedules.