MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University head softball coach Ed Kieff has been busy this offseason.
Kieff, who enters his second year with the Tiger softball program in the 2012-13 season, brought his recruiting total for 2013 up to 12 athletes when he announced the signing of Mitchell native Courtney Hellman this week. He also got a head start on recruiting for the 2013-14 school year with the signing of Mitchell’s Krista Huber and Montana native Miquela Kriskovich.
Hellman comes to Dakota Wesleyan after six years of club softball with the Venom, an 18-and-under squad out of Mitchell. So far in 2012, the 5-foot-6 second baseman is batting .442 with an on-base percentage of .556. She has 19 hits – including six doubles and two triples – and 16 RBIs. Hellman helped the Venom to a first-place finish at the Yankton Girls’ Softball Association Invite and a third-place finish in the high school Platinum bracket at the Flames of Nebraska Invite. She was also part of the Venom’s AAU Class B 18U state title this season.
Hellman, who also lettered in cheerleading and competitive cheer and dance at Mitchell High School, plans to major in nursing at DWU. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the honor roll.
“Courtney will be a versatile player who adds depth to our roster,” Kieff said. “She just finished winning a title in summer ball, and we are very fortunate to have her. We are looking forward to her being around the program for the next four years.”
Huber and Kriskovich still have one more year of high school softball to play before joining the Tiger program, but Kieff is excited about both recruits. Huber also comes to DWU from Mitchell High School, and currently plays with Hellman for the Venom. The 5-4 pitcher helped the Mitchell high school program to the JV state title in 2009 and 2010, and a varsity state title in 2010. She was also a part of the Venom AAU Class B title this summer.
Huber, who plans to major in business, was a Class AA All-State Honorable Mention pitcher for the Kernels in 2011, and set the school record with 14 strikeouts in six innings. She has also lettered in basketball at MHS. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the honor roll, and was a girls’ state candidate.
“Krista was recruited by several GPAC schools, so the fact that we are able to land her is fantastic,” Kieff said. “She is a pitcher with a ton of upside as she has only been pitching competitively for four years and anchors the Mitchell team in the fall.”
Kriskovich will graduate from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Mont., in 2013. The 5-7 utility player has earned three varsity letters in softball so far. She batted .387 with 28 RBIs for her high school team as a junior in 2012. She also plays club softball, and hit .431 for the Montana Smash and .350 for the Missoula Lady Osprey. She earned all-conference honors at second base as a junior.
“Miquela plays multiple positions and has an extremely strong bat,” Kieff said. “We will work with her in the outfield where she can use her speed and shore up an already strong group of outfielders coming in this year. We are very happy to have signed Miquela.”
Hellman joins Mitchell natives Chelsea Moody and Shelby Gunsch on the Tigers’ 2012 roster, and Huber will be DWU’s fourth player from Mitchell in the 2013-14 school year. Kieff also has South Dakota players from Martin, Sioux Falls and De Smet on the 2012 roster.
“Krista and all of the Mitchell-area players we have signed in the past few weeks, along with some we are hoping to add in the near future, are all very important to our softball program here at DWU,” he said. “Going forward, having so much local talent will help us reach our goals as a program.”