Darby Kramp has been a standout third baseman and hitter for the Heritage High School girls softball team for the past three seasons, but the senior hopes to talk a little more this fall.
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“I would like to improve on the communications,” she said. “I feel I’ve just been really quiet on the field and a lot of time when players get the ball they don’t really know where they are going. Me being a corner I’m going to have to talk a lot more.”
Kramp was one of the leading hitters in the Continental League last season with a .571 batting average and four home runs. She has been a three-year starter prior to the start of her senior season and has a .486 career batting average.
“Darby is a great role model and someone to look up to as a person and player,” said Heritage coach Daron Schulthies. “I can’t wait to coach Darby this season and watch her play at the next level.”
Kramp had surgery to repair a torn meniscus at the end of October and spent months rehabbing the knee, which lasted during the start of summer club softball campaign. She played for the first time for the Ruthless Gold 16U team.
She finished the summer club season with a .343 batting average and a .667 slugging percentage for a team that compiled a 77-33-1 record.
It took a while for Kramp to be ready to play for the Ruthless Gold squad.
“For me it was really tough to come back because on my team everybody was fighting for their own position, so if you’re not performing or showing why you should be in that position then you have to try to show up at practice to protect your spot,” said Darby. `It was hard for me to do that since I was out of softball permanently for three or four months.
“I kinda started working back into things really slow, like taking ground balls with stationary movement or just sitting on a chair swinging a bat just to get something going. For the longest time, I wasn’t able to do a full swing because it was more of my body’s reaction of not letting me get my hips through on a swing. Then I started getting bad mechanics on my swing because I wasn’t able to do a full correct swing. So I had to go work a lot on the tees.”
Kramp will be ready when Heritage opens its season Aug. 12 at Columbine.
“I feel confident now,” she said. “It’s (the knee) pretty close to being fully healed.”
Kramp’s summer team fared much better than Heritage. Over the past three seasons, the Eagles have gone 21-40.
“At Heritage it’s my senior year and it’s one of those things that if a win comes, it comes and we’re going to have fun winning the game,” Kramp said. “It’s more important to have fun in high school. I love all the girls I play with and I’m happy I get to continue to play with them for this last year.”
Kramp also has time to do a little coaching.
“When Darby isn’t playing or working on her game, she coaches with me,” said Schulthies. “My daughter and Aubrey Kramp (Darby’s sister) play on the same 10U team.”
Darby enjoys the teaching part of the sport.
“I really like helping the younger girls and I think it’s fun for them too,” she said. “I just try to make it a fun practice, more laid-back, more of a learning experience. During the games, if they make a play or don’t make a play when they come out I say, ‘OK when you got that ground ball, do you think you should have thrown it right away or do another thing?’ I want them to understand the game a little more.”
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