Prep of the Week: Brenna Koeppel

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(ABC 6 News) — The St. Charles Saints have picked up where they left off last season: Being a top-ranked softball team.

One of their strengths is the pitching arm of senior Brenna Koeppel, through the Saints’ first three games, she’s tallied 40 strikeouts. Her best effort so far is a performance against Dover-Eyota where she struck out 17 batters to tie a school record.

“I take a deep breath before every pitch and I just talk to myself a little bit and tell myself it’s all going to be ok, and then I just throw a strike,” Koeppel said. “Even if it’s not going to be a strike, it’s a purpose pitch.”

“She’s worked super hard at being one of the top pitchers in the area and it shows,” Saints Softball head coach Adam Gust noted. “She’s going to overwhelm people with her velocity, but people don’t ever give her enough credit for the movement she has and the location, she hits spots. She’s got that inner drive that says ‘No I got to make it better, even if it’s a good pitch.'”

All of Koeppel’s outings have been shutouts, making life easy and putting less pressure on her teammates.

“It gets boring, play some games to just try to stay focused,” senior shortstop Mya Omdahl said. “I think she knows that we have her back but if we don’t have to then we don’t have to and that’s nice.”

It’s safe to say Koeppel is leaving it all out there this season, typical behavior for a senior of her caliber. But as of now, she has no plans to play softball in college.

“I mean, I could’ve, but I know my brother plays D2 baseball up at Mankato so I’m like ‘Well I definitely could’ve,” Koeppel mused. “I’ve played up there with him too but it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of dedication and I knew it was time to hang up my glove after this season.”

“It’ll be interesting to see when she goes off to college if she misses softball or not,” Coach Gust speculated. “But what I’m going to remember the most is every time she walked in that circle, she was going to give you her best effort and be tough as heck to beat. Teams have to be on their game to beat her and that’s what I’ll remember as we go on through the season and into the future.”