Kane County Chronicle sports intern Jake Bartelson spoke with Kaneland softball senior catcher/infielder Paige Kuefler, who made a college commitment to downstate Lindenwood-Belleville this week, for this week’s Weekend Chit-chat. Kuefler, who is competing with her travel softball program, the Kane County XPlosion, in a tournament in Colorado this week, batted .435 with 11 doubles and 19 RBIs for the Knights as a junior. Kuefler spoke to the Chronicle about her college decision and more. The following is an edited transcript:
Overall, what are you most proud of in your time [at Kaneland so far]?
Just being around a great group of girls. Everyone was so energetic and helpful; everyone cared so much.
You recently announced ... you have verbally committed to play softball at Lindenwood-Belleville, not too far from St. Louis. What ultimately decided that next step for you?
It is a smaller atmosphere, which I like, and definitely the softball program. They won two (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) national championships.
One reason for [Lindenwood’s success] may be attributed to coach Charlie Kennedy. What are you most looking forward to in playing for him?
He’s a really good coach. I’m excited. The girls on the team have been really comforting and welcoming.
For those who never have seen you play, what would you say is your strength on the softball field? What about a weaknesss?
Catching is definitely not a weakness, and I’d say hitting is also a strength. I need to work more at third base, and moving laterally, [to increase my fielding] range.
You’re playing in a tournament in Colorado. ... How is it going so far?
I’m currently playing in a tournament for my travel softball team, the Kane County XPlosion. There’s about 150 teams per level. So far, we’re doing really well. We are 4-0, and [Friday] we finish our bracket play.
Who would you say is the most influential person in your life in terms of softball?
Definitely my dad. It all started in tee-ball, and since then, he’s been my coach. He’s always been there for me, and great to have around.