It’s spring break and the East Valley softball team was given two days off to enjoy themselves away from the diamond. And Kaileene Krauth wasn’t happy about it.
“It’s only been two days and I miss my teammates so much,” the senior shortstop said. “I know it’s supposed to be good to take a break, but I’m ready to get back to work.”
Krauth is the daughter of former East Valley fastpitch softball coach Kurt Krauth, and she began her high school career at Mt. Spokane, where she played third base as a freshman and sophomore.
“I transferred to East Valley for academic reasons,” she said. “I decided to go with my dad to East Valley. I didn’t play softball last year as a junior because I wasn’t eligible since we still live in the Mead School District.
“Now my grades are great and I’m enjoying playing with my teammates.”
But she’s not playing for her dad.
“He’s always been my coach – always,” she said. “Every team I played on growing up, he was always my coach. It’s different not playing for him, but I still have him. He’s always in the stands and he watches everything. He lets me know when I’m doing something wrong – which isn’t as good as it sounds. There are times when I’d like him to give me a little more credit for what I’m doing right.”
Still, the father-daughter bond is exceptionally strong – so strong that Krauth plans to follow in her father’s footsteps.
“I want to play at Spokane Falls next year and eventually transfer to Whitworth and play there,” she said. “My dad went to Whitworth and I’ve grown up a Buc. I want to be a teacher and that’s where I want to do it.”
Krauth shifted to play shortstop for the Knights, a change from her days at Mt. Spokane. But the bat she’s swinging now is mightier than in her first two seasons with the Wildcats.
“I’ve always played both third and short, and short is my favorite position,” she said. “I’m hitting much better. I’m stronger than I was then, and I’m more mature.”
That’s led to more power, which translates to three home runs, including a two-homer game against Pullman.
“When you start hitting home runs, it kind of goes to your head,” she said. “I started swinging for the fences and trying to hit every pitch out of the park. My dad took me aside and told me to knock it off. He told me to go back to hitting through the ball. When you do that you hit more line drives and, when you hit line drives, you hit home runs, too.”
The Knights are 3-4, 2-3 in Great Northern League play going into today’s doubleheader at West Valley.
After two seasons playing in the Greater Spokane League, Krauth finds the level of play in the GNL to be very similar.
“I have to say that it’s been about the same,” she said. “What’s different is playing doubleheaders on Saturday. And the bus trips.”
That last part has turned into a major plus.
“We had a bus trip to Colville earlier this season and I have to say that was the most fun I’ve had ever,” she said. “By the time we got home after that game we were all singing together and driving the bus driver crazy – in a good way.
“I think that helps us build team chemistry and I look forward to our trips to Clarkston and Pullman. The other thing that I believe helps us is our team dinners. It’s so much fun for us to get together and spend time as a team.”