Softball has plenty of options to fill the hole left by former pitcher Kara Dornbos, who graduated last spring, and one of those options is freshman Rachael Knapp.
The first year from Jenison, Mich., started Wednesday’s fall exhibition against Northwood by going two scoreless innings and striking out two batters.
“I think she did a nice job for her first outing,” said head coach Margo Jonker. “(She) got people out, and that’s all we ask of her to begin.”
Knapp had a 6-3 record with 142 strikeouts in 2012 with Lakeshore High School. The right-hander pitched her way to first-team All-state, All-regional and All-Division honors with a 0.70 earned run average. The year before, she pitched her Saint Joseph team to wins against three top-ranked teams and had 87 strikeouts.
“Rachael is a top pitcher with good speed and great movement on her pitches. It was obvious how much movement she had when a top catcher at a clinic had trouble catching her pitches,” Jonker said to CMU Athletics. “It will be exciting to see Rachael set her mark in our record books throughout her years as a Chippewa. On the offensive end, she hits for power so she might see both sides of the game while playing here.”
So far, she has impressed her teammates.
“I think the freshmen are doing well; I’m looking forward to seeing them play and how they are going to work hard this season,” said junior shortstop CarolAnn Sexauer.
What type of role Knapp plays with the team is yet to be determined. Jonker can also call on seniors Morgan Yuncker and Chelsea Sundberg to step into the circle.
“This is just a trial run,” Jonker said. “Everyone played a fairly equal amount of time, so we can’t tell a lot at this point in time.”