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Sports

D'Arcy Motors Athlete of the Week: Kaili Chval, Oswego East junior, softball

Why she was selected:

Oswego East junior Kaili Chval
was 9-for-15 at the plate in the last week with a double, two triples,
seven runs scored, two runs batted in and three walks.

On the season Chval, committed to Nebraska-Omaha for softball, is hitting .478 with 16 runs scored, 11 RBIs and three stolen bases for the 15-2 Wolves. Chval talked to Ledger sports editor about her hot hitting, her approach at the plate and all things softball. Here is an edited version of the transcript:

Welge: What’s been the secret to your hot hitting?

Chval: Lately I’ve been working the outside pitch more often. If I’m in a slump and not able to make great contact with the ball, I try to bunt for a hit to get on base. Usually after practice I like to hit in the garage with my dad to get some extra swings in.

Welge: How do you determine if you’re going to bunt or swing away?

Chval: I usually like to look to how the first and third baseman are standing. If they start to play in on me, I go with the approach that I’ll hit away. If they try to move back, I might bunt the ball.

Welge: Do you like the strategy?

Chval: I always like to have a plan when I go to the plate. That’s one thing I love about softball is I get to challenge myself and make myself better, to figure out ways to get on base.

Welge: How often do you hit in your garage?

Chval: I like to swing three to four times a week when I have the chance. Sometimes I feel in practice I don’t get enough swings in, or they don’t feel right. I have all the time I want in my garage to work on fundamentals – making sure I fully extend, don’t drop my hands, keep my shoulder in.

Welge: You’re also a basketball player. What sport came first?

Chval: I actually started softball first, when I was about 6. I wanted to do more sports and was introduced to basketball in fourth or fifth grade. When I was in middle school I did volleyball for fun, did that through sophomore year. It’s a great experience to meet new people.

Welge: How did you make your college decision?

Chval: Sophomore year, I started to talk to my [travel] coach [with the Wheatland Spikes], Margie Wright, and I made a list of criteria – how big, what kind of coach. I knew I either wanted to be a physical therapist or a nurse. I wanted to go at least four hours or further from home, wanted to make sure I visited the school at least twice to make sure that this was the place I wanted to go. [With the distance from home] I wanted to be able to experience me being responsible for myself at all times, being able to hold myself accountable for school work and on the field.

Welge: How would you assess where the team is right now?

Chval: I think we’re in a really good place. Our offense is phenomenal, we communicate well, we overcome adversity together and work hard in practice. We want to be a great team.

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