Bill Prokup heard St. Bede had a new transfer student who played some softball, but knew nothing more about her other than a parent said she was impressive at one of the ASA tryouts.
He quickly found out how impressive when he got Christensen on the softball field this spring. The junior transfer has been a marvelous addition to the Lady Bruins lineup, both batting out of the clean-up hole and in the pitching circle.
She leads the team with two home runs, batting .317 with 14 RBIs. She’s also backed up pitching ace Lainie Schweickert well, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.24 ERA in five starts.
“She is a very disciplined hitter with obvious power,” SBA coach Bill Prokup said. “She would probably be a primary starting pitcher on many teams. She has control of multiple pitches and very nice speed. When you have a Lainie Schweickert, it is tough to get innings when games are spread out as you want to keep your No. 1 in a rhythm and get game experience.”
Christensen, who returned to the area before the start of the school year, said the team has made her feel very welcome.
“We all just have a lot of fun. The girls are so nice to me. We have inside jokes that keep it really fun,” said Christensen, who moved to Minnesota in the fifth grade.
Prokup said Christensen was pretty shy at first but has come out of her shell being around the team.
“She’s a very good kid to be around. She’ s usually smiling and gets along with everyone. It’s her first sport at SBA, and I hope it’s been a good experience thus far,” he said.
The Lady Bruins have had a very successful season at 14-5. Christensen attributes it to their team chemistry.
“I think we all get along really well,” said Christensen, adding their goal is to make it to state.
Of all the parts of the game, Christensen said she most “loves to hit the ball.” SBA athletic director Tom McGunnigal said she plays some old-school, third base sans face mask. Christensen said the mask just gets in her way on how she wants to play third.
Regional softball: The Lady Bruins will remain home for regionals as host for a 2A regional. Along with all the comforts of home, they also have the top seed. They will face the winner between the May 13 contest between No. 5 Hall at No. 4 Somonauk at 4:30 p.m. May 14. The second semifinal will be held the next day with No. 2 Mendota facing No. 3 Princeton.
Bureau Valley will also play host for a 2A regionals with the Storm squaring off against No. 5 Erie/Prophetstown on May 13. Their winner advances to face the No. 1 seed, Rock Island Alleman.
Host Putnam County drew the top seed for a 1A regional with LaMoille/Ohio traveling to Newark.
Regional baseball: Princeton will take the top seed into the Oregon regional, awaiting the winner of the 5 Oregon/4 Newman contest on Wednesday, May 15. No. 3 Bureau Valley hosts Mendota on May 13 in semifinal play, looking to set up a potential regional title showdown vs. Princeton.
St. Bede and Hall are the top two seeds at the Ottawa Marquette Regional. The Bruins await the 5 Somonauk/4 Seneca winner on May 15, while the Red Devils take on the host Crusaders on May 16.
Putnam County takes the top seed as the 1A regional host. The Panthers will face the winner between 5 LaMoille/Ohio vs. 4 Earlvile/Leland on May 15.
Sign here: Hall senior Landon Piccatto will be signing to play football for Illinois Wesleyan University.