A Sarnia teen is the latest addition to an elite Michigan women’s fastball team.
Kennedy Dietz, a pitcher, was selected to join the roster of the Flint Krossfire U16 Women’s Fastball squad – one of a dozen high-level tournament teams in the state – this fall.
The 15-year-old Northern Collegiate student has played fastball for just over a decade.
“It just kind of started from something little,” said Dietz, who also plays second base.
She earned the spot, even forgoing a tryout, after proving herself last year with another Michigan team, the Richmond Bat Busters.
Her father, Todd Dietz, asked the Krossfire’s coach to come watch his daughter on the field, and she was offered a spot.
The Flint Krossfire play in tournaments throughout the year; there isn’t a conventional season. In fact, when most leagues are ending, they’re just gearing up.
Dietz and her squad will likely play in nine to 11 tournaments over 2017-2018, many across Michigan, and some as far as Myrtle Beach.
She can throw nearly 90 km/hr, but what caught her new coach’s eye was her ability to pinpoint just where the ball sails through the strike zone.
Her pitching style includes ‘risers’ and ‘droppers,’ shutting down batters, jolting the ball up and down several inches, long after its left her hand.
She found her way to the mound early on in her career and said she enjoys the control she has on the game’s outcome.
“You have a little more input than the rest of the field, because you’re kind of the one deciding it for them,” she said.
Dietz credits 13-year-old sister and personal trainer Carsen with providing her cardio exercise, off the field.
“She supports me, which is good, because if she did another sport, I don’t know if I could do what I do,” she said with a smile.
Her performance on the field landed her the coveted Krossfire spot, but her strong grades were also considered.
“Everything is academics,” Todd Dietz noted. “That’s number one of everything.”
Dietz noted a few U.S. schools she’s hoping for a scholarship from, but added Western University to her wish list as well.
Dietz, who played locally in Corunna last summer, said a number of friends here are also pursuing leagues stateside. If the skills development doesn’t sell them, the camaraderie likely will.
“Last year, when I was up for bat, they’d always sing, ‘Oh Canada,’ for me” she said with a laugh.