Kelsey Grunewald commits to Rochester Technical and Community College to continue her softball career

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

St. James Area softball third baseman Kelsey Grunewald committed to Rochester Technical and Community College to continue her softball career, and pursue a career in radiology.

"I knew that I wanted to play softball and I knew that I didn't want to go to a four-year school," said Grunewald. "And I knew that I wanted to go into radiology so I reached out to the coach at RCTC and she got back to me right away."

The medical program and the opportunity to play right away were two big draws for Grunewald.

As a sophomore in 2019, Grunewald hit 0.286 with four RBI and was a rock at the hot corner, committing just three errors for a fielding percentage of 0.947.

Grunewald's biggest game came in the first round of the subsection tournament against Martin County West, where she went 3/4 with three RBI in the Saints' 9-7 victory.

In six total postseason games, Grunewald hit 0.412 with a 0.588 slugging percentage and a 1.000 OPS.

"Kelsey started playing varsity games as a freshman," said Saints head coach Sam Baumgartner. "As a third baseman, she is responsible for reading bunts, fielding them, and throwing to first in less than 2.5 seconds.  Her instincts are tremendous. She is outstanding defensively. She is fearless, has a cannon arm and if she gets a glove on a ball she's going to come up with it. 

"As a coach, I have always wanted someone to anchor the third base position each year. Playing third is not for everyone.  Kelsey has proven to be that anchor we need. I know she is going to make plays and that takes a lot of pressure off of our defense. She has worked hard to improve her skills both offensively and defensively... I think she will be among our top hitters for her senior year. She will be a vital part of any success we may have."

Former Saints like Kayla Hanson have given Grunewald advice for handling the college game.

"Kayla just told me how it's a different ball game going from high school to college," said Grunewald. "Everyday practices and you're working out a lot and your workload is heavier so just be prepared." 

In 2021, Grunewald will once again be relied on for her bat and quick glove at third for a Saints team looking to get to the state tournament.

"We're definitely going to work our butts off in practice and practice how we want to play," said Grunewald. "And having the mentality that we're going to go far this year."

The Saints kick off their season on March 29 and play Martin County West in the season opener on April 9.