Prep of the Week: Kaydence “KJ” Schaefer

Prep of the Week: Kaydence KJ Schaefer

The day's local, regional and national news, detailed events and late-breaking stories are presented by the ABC 6 News Team, along with the latest sports, weather updates including the extended forecast.

(ABC 6 News) — It’s been some time since Austin Softball has had a quality season.

But this year might be different, thanks to a breakout star in the making: Kaydence “KJ” Schaefer.

“It was just really close, I felt like I got this,” the eighth-grader pitcher said. “You got to be confident in yourself that you can do it.”

“She could’ve let her nerves show and if she was nervous, I had no idea,” Packers coach Lisa Lage added.

In her first true varsity season, Schaefer got out to a splendid start to the spring, striking out 18 in her first two games; 6 in an upset over Byron and 12 against NRHEG.

“I just had to hit my spots, throw the right pitches.” Schaefer recounted. “Our catcher and me called a pretty good game, we talk really well and I just have to do my job and hit my spots.”

So far, Schaefer has 30 strikeouts over 21.2 innings, utilizing a solid fastball and a sneaky change-up. She’s not too shabby at the plate either, hitting a 3-run home run against Stewartville on April 8.

“Knowing that we have a strong pitcher really just changes the mindset going into the game,” senior Avery Wempner. “Because we know we have someone that we can rely on and then she can rely on her defense behind her when they do get hits.”

Schaefer can only go up from here as the campaign progresses. The pressures of prep softball are real, but Schaefer’s got the skill to light up the competition, all with a smirk on her face.

“You know she has that drive and that will to say, ‘No, you may have gotten one, but you’re not going to get too many more over me,’” Lage noted.

“I mean you just have to focus on your job and what you’re doing,” Schaefer concluded. “And I feel once I’m in my zone, I don’t really go out ’cause I just know I can do it. Push yourself and see how far you can go and know.”